Coffee roasting for beginners

coffee roasting

As a rule, I’m quite eclectic. I have no favourite colour, no favourite way of travelling and my musical preferences floats from classical through easy to digest pop into my forever beloved Frank Sinatra. Some may say that is a nice trait to have.

Most of the time I agree. Other times, I feel I mold my personality to the circumstance I’m in at the risk of compromising my identity, but that is a topic for a therapy session not a blog post, so let’s move on.

When it comes to coffee, the same thing happens. I  usually go for medium roasts. I’m helplessly in love with the dark way the Italians do espressos and the more I venture into the lighter side of coffee the more intrigued I am to discover all flavours that can be achieved through the different roasting profiles. Guess, I’m easy to please.

Coffee goes through many phases before it reaches the format we recognize. The roasting process is a milestone for the beans. It is where chemistry meets art.

Through the hands of the roaster and the adequate machinery, the coffee bean will reveal a range of notes and the body and acidity levels of the coffee can be managed at this stage.

Green coffee beans

Green coffee beans

Despite, not being the most accurate way to define a roast, coffee is often categorized by its colour. Let’s have a look at the different types:

Light roast – most of the original characteristics of the coffee

Light roast

Light roast

Before being roasted, the coffee bean is highly acidic and smells grassy. When the temperature reaches about 205 Celsius, the beans will crack for the first time signalling that they have reached the first stop and now are considered light roasts. Geographical characteristics will be reveal through the high acidity and vibrant notes of this roast.

Medium brown roast – balanced and smooth

Medium roast

Medium roast

The surface of the beans are brown and non-oily and the flavour is smooth and well-balanced. From this point on level of the caffeine in the coffee starts to decrease and the coffee will gain a heavier body.

Medium dark roast – fragrant and caramel

Medium dark roast

Medium dark roast

The beans are more oily and their taste is more defined by the roast. They reveal a rich, dark and bittersweet aroma. The body of the brew is also influenced by the roast type. The darker the roast the heavier the body. Pair a medium-dark brew with a slice or two of chocolate cake and you are in for a treat.

Dark roast – bold bodies and richer (some would say burnt) taste

Dark roast

Dark roast

Shinny black surfaced beans, with a pronounced bitterness, that will satisfy the palate of the most demanding espresso drinker and make the specialty coffee lover cringe. It is safe to say that with roast you are almost exclusively tasting the notes from the roast.

Of course, this post only touches the surface. Roasting is complex and almost artistic but it should should shed some light into the main types roasting.

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