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Understanding Coffee Roasting

Coffee roasting is a vital process that all coffee connoisseurs and lovers
ought to learn and understand. If you are a coffee lover and want to
appreciate the beverage even more, then mastering the understanding of the
roasting process and different roasting levels will help you greatly.

Fundamentals of the Coffee Roasting Process

The most important thing to learn and understand is the coffee roasting
process which is required to “cook” the coffee beans and bring out the
natural flavors of the coffee. This procedure includes sorting, roasting, and
cooling of the coffee beans and the packaging operations.

Slow Temperature Increase

The green coffee beans are weighed and transferred to the roaster to start
the heating process. The roaster heats up and the beans are then heated in
a way like clothes tumble inside a dryer. This motion is necessary to heat
the coffee beans and toast them in an even manner. Slowly, the temperature
is then raised to 460 and then to 530 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature is
needed to allow the heat penetration to the core of the coffee bean.

Color Change and Crack

The color of the green coffee beans changes followed by the first crack
followed by the rapid second change of the color and the second crack. It
actually depends on how you want your coffee beans to turn out. Some
people stop the roasting process before the second crack while others
prefer to stop the process after the second crack. The aroma and color of
the coffee beans are factors to consider when the best time is to stop the
roasting process.

Different Coffee Roasts and Distinct Features

Light Roast – this type of coffee roast is light brown in color and is
generally preferred for varieties of milder coffee. No oil is on its bean
surface since the roasting process is not long enough to allow the oil to
break through to the surface. The distinct taste of light roasts is sharp
and highly acidic. The cinnamon roast is light roasted coffee bean with
light brown color, dry and has no visible oil in its luster. It has a
bready or baked flavor which is similar to toasted grain and a sour tone.
Cinnamon roasted beans do not really have much body when it comes to
texture. The roasting process stops before the first crack in the roasting
process. A New England roast has a much darker color compared to the
cinnamon roast and it does not have the grainy or bready flavor but has
the same sour tones.

Medium Roasts – this roast is also referred to as the American roast
because it is highly preferred in the United States. It has a sweeter
flavor than a light roast with more body in terms of texture and showcases
a balance in its aroma, acid level and complexity. Examples of medium
roast variants include City, Brown, Medium, American and Breakfast. For
City and American, the color of the coffee beans is more of chocolaty
medium brown with mild luster and a bittersweet tangy taste. It is quite
common in the western USA.

Medium-Dark Roasts – this roast flavor is quite evident with a little
spicy tone or sometimes bittersweet tang. It could also have a taste of
caramel and subtle chocolate with hints of smokiness. The texture
showcases a heavy body while the acidity level is quite low compared to
light or medium roasted beans. There are variants in this level which
include Full City, Light French, Light Espresso, Full Roast, High roast,
North Italian and Viennese roast.

Dark Roast – to achieve this type of coffee bean variant you need to roast
the beans much longer until they begin to smoke due to the carbonization
of the sugar. These shiny black coffee beans have an oily surface and
pronounced bitterness. In fact, the natural flavors of the coffee are
almost totally covered or masked by the roasting process. This coffee bean
variant also exhibits smoky-sweet flavor - sometimes with an even burnt
taste. It could vary from slightly dark to really charred textures or
almost black color. It has a lower acid level since the darker the roast
the lower the acid level. Examples of this coffee roast type include
Spanish Roast, Turkish Roast, Continental, Espresso, New Orleans,
European, Viennese, French, and South Italian.

Learning about the coffee roasting process and different coffee roasts is
a joy and learning experience for coffee enthusiasts. Roast know how will help to better appreciate your next cup of coffee.

Contributed by David at http://coffeefacts.org

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