The Actual Roasting Process
After pouring the beans, an endothermic process begins where they take in heat and slowly start to turn yellow. At this point, you get a toast-like fragrance. Roasting machines need you to check the temperature levels in intervals, varying by a minute or so.
At around 205 degrees Celsius, you get the first crack. What happens is that the beans enlarge in size as the trapped moisture tries to escape. Other physical and chemical changes are still taking place. During the first crack, the coffee seeds acquire a light brown color but lose an average of 5% of the total weight. The first brownish color is a sign of light roast.
After the first crack, the temperature rises to 220 degree Celsius to turn the beans from light brown to brown. That means you have a medium roast with a 13% weight loss. As the color shifts, the beans undergo pyrolysis, a chemical process that changes the beans composition as they release carbon dioxide.
What Temperature Do You Use To Roast Coffee Beans
The actual temperature youre using to roast your coffee beans at home depends on which roast level youre aiming for. As you might assume, the higher the temperature, the more roasted the coffee beans will be! As the coffee beans warm-up, they slowly become more roasted.
If youre a newbie when it comes to roasting your own coffee beans, dont worry! Were about to go over the temperatures you should be using to roast your coffee beans based on how roasted you want them to be.
How Long Does It Take
How much time does it take to roast your own batch of beans? Besides sourcing the green coffee beans, you have the steps of the roasting process.
This process takes between 10-13 minutes for small batches and 16-18 minutes for large batches to roast. Altogether, it might take 20 or 30 minutes of your time to roast a final product of one or two pounds of fresh coffee. Keep in mind that youll need to repeat this process whenever you run out of coffee.
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How To Purchase Unroasted Coffee
Now that you know how to roast coffee beans, the next step is to buy the beans youll need. For any home roasting method youll need to purchase unroasted, or green, coffee beans. You can get them from your local roastery or order online.
One of the benefits of purchasing green beans and roasting them yourself is that its way cheaper than buying roasted beans. That means you can spend your coffee budget on better green beans that you roast according to your tastes. Thats a big plus.
Also, youll always have freshly roasted coffee on hand, as long as you dont forget to roast. That alone elevates your daily coffee experience.
When youre just starting out with roasting, dont worry about what country the beans are from or how they were processed. Just buy an available coffee bean. I would recommend buying one that isnt too expensive, since you will make mistakes and ruin batches until you learn what you like and how to achieve it.
As you get more experience, youll have fun experimenting with a wide range of regions, altitudes, and processing. Along the way youll learn how those variables change the characteristics in your coffee.
Green coffee beans, when stored properly, can last 6 months or longer. So once you find a coffee you like, feel free to buy it in bulk and save even more money. Ill give you tips for storing your unroasted beans at the end of this article.
What Color Should My Beans Be Post Roast
You will more than likely need to have a few trial roasts before you really perfect the coffee bean roasting process, but a general guide to coffee bean color after roasting is:
A light brown coffee bean isnt generally good for making coffee. It will typically have a sour and acidic taste when ground and brewed.
A light, the medium brown coffee bean is commonly used in the eastern United States, and youll find it produces a full-bodied coffee with a mild sweetness to the flavor. Light brews, half brews, and cinnamon brews usually are made of coffee beans that are roasted to a light, medium brown.
A full medium brown coffee bean is commonly used in the western United States, and it produces a coffee with a full-body, strong aroma, and a mildly sweet flavor. American roasts and breakfast blends are typically produced from full medium brown coffee beans.
A medium-dark brown coffee bean is often used to produce a French or Viennese roast coffee. They usually will have a full, strong, and sweet flavor to the coffee.
A dark brown coffee bean is usually used in making Espresso or French roast coffee grounds. Youll find that a dark brown coffee bean produces a full body, medium aroma yet fully sweet coffee.
A nearly black roasted coffee bean is used for dark French roast or Spanish coffees. These types of roasts usually have a weak body, mild aroma, and a low level of sweetness to the coffee.
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What Does Roast Mean In Coffee Terms
Coffee comes from a cherry, and in order for those cherries to become coffee they have to be processed and roasted, which physically and chemically change the processed cherry or green coffee into the coffee we know and love. It is through roasting that brings out the flavors and aromas of the coffee cherry and allows for a variety of coffee tastes. Watch this video for an in depth explanation of coffee roasting:
Industrial Hot Air Roasting
Because a lot of coffee varieties are incredibly popular today, roasting companies had to find faster, more efficient ways of roasting their coffee in big amounts. By industrially roasting coffee with hot air, the companies can save a lot of time and money.
Normally, hot air roasters are designed as continuous systems. They consist of a large, perforated drum with a spiral conveyor, just like an auger, on the inside. At up 700 °C, the coffee beans are only roasted one to five minutes before they are cooled down again with cold water. Even though this method allows for continuous roasting of incredible quantities of coffee, the quality can sometimes suffer considerably. Because of the short duration of heat exposure, there is less time for the chlorogenic acids to transform and reduce. Also, the cooling water is soaked up by the beans, falsifying the coffees weight and aroma. Therefor, really good coffee is still roasted the traditional way.
Here, at Espresso International, we really value the quality of all our products. All our coffees are gently roasted with the traditional drum roasting method.
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How To Choose Coffee Beans For Home Roasting
6 Tips for choosing the Best Coffee beans Know your preference. There are two broad categories of commercial coffee beans in the market today, Robusta and Arabica. Pick coffee beans based on your preferred taste. Some coffee lovers want their first cup to have a consistent delicious taste and getting this takes a bit of trial Determine how much caffeine you want in your coffee.
After Roasting Coffee Beans How Do You Test Your Results
To rate the roasted coffee most roasters use a procedure called cupping. Cupping is one of the more well-known ways of proofing your roasting results. This process relies on the skills and experience of the person who tastes the coffee. The process includes sniffs and slurps, all to get a clear picture of the taste youve created.
As you can imagine everyone has their workways and professional secrecies to create their unique blend.
How people do the cupping sessions exactly is different to every roaster. As you can imagine everyone has their workways and professional secrecies to create their unique blend. It is completely up to you as a roaster how you fill in your sessions and which aspects and outcomes are most valuable to you.
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With A Coffee Roasting Machine
A home coffee roaster is undeniably the best way to roast coffee beans at home. Though they are more expensive, they will last much longer than a repurposed popcorn machine. Most importantly, the quality of the roast is far superior to the other methods. So, if you plan to roast your beans regularly, its a worthwhile investment.
What you need
Step 1: Establish ventilation.
Dedicated home coffee roasters often feature smoke suppression systems. Still, you should make an effort to maximize ventilation or do your roasting outside.
Step 2: Ready the machine.
All coffee roasters are different, so you should follow the manufacturers instructions for this step. For electric roasters, power them on and add the beans. For roasters that use a gas burner, start the heater and allow them to heat up, then add the beans.
Step 3: Roast the beans.
Many home coffee roasters claim to be fully automated, but you should still monitor the roast carefully. Watch the darkening color of the beans, and listen for the first and second crack.
Pro tip: Some roasters allow you to adjust temperature and fan speed as the roast progresses. Others feature a probe so you can sample beans during the roast. Use these to optimize your roast.
Step 4: Cool the beans.
A good home roaster typically offers a built-in cooling system. If this is the case, simply turn it on. If your roaster doesnt have this feature, you can use a colander the same way as the other roasting methods.
Step 5: Let them rest.
Begin Roasting Your Beans
Spread your beans across the roasting tray in an even single layer. If you have a tray with small holes in the bottom, this is perfect for getting an even roast while letting the beans breathe.
However, the holes need to be smaller than the beans so that they dont slip into the hole while roasting. If beans get stuck in the holes, they will most likely burn and ruin the whole batch.
Place the beans into the preheated oven on the middle rack to allow them to heat at an even temperature.
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Half Way Through The Roast
This is what you beans will start to look like as they cook. Because the heat source is so one sided you can see that some of the beans are only cooked on one side. As long as you continue to agitate the beans this will even out by the end of the roast.
Youll notice at this point the outer husks, called the chaff, are beginning to come off of the coffee beans. It looks like little papery bits. This is normal so dont worry that your beans are shedding.
Types Of Coffee Beans
There are two basic types of coffee bean species that are grown commercially throughout the world: Coffee Arabica and Coffee Robusta, which differ due to their growing environments, overall flavor, and price. It’s helpful to understand the difference between these types of coffee beans when choosing your coffee since their tastes can vary significantly.
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What Is Coffee And Why Do We Roast It
Coffee is actually a small red fruit that must go through many different stages before it reaches your cup each morning.
First, coffee is processed to remove the outer skin, pulp, and inner parchment skin. Once that is complete, the inner seed, otherwise known as the coffee bean, is dried.
When its dried it becomes the green coffee bean that is shipped around the world for roasting.
The coffee bean is like a dry pinto bean, meaning it can be stored for long periods of time and still become fresh once it goes through the roasting process. If you didnt roast coffee, the drink would be bitter and very acidic, making it essentially undrinkable. Roasting gives coffee its unique flavors and aromas.
The Grill Master Method
To use this method, follow the same steps that are listed with oven roasting, except of course that youre going to place the veggie steamer and cookie sheet onto the cooking surface of the grill.
Two small details to point out here are as follows:
Cast Iron Skillet Roasting
Much like you do when oven roasting your coffee beans, you can roast coffee beans in a cast-iron skillet either on your grill or on the stovetop. Again, dont use any type of cooking oil when you are roasting your coffee beans in a skillet. This is because the temperature necessary to roast your coffee beans will cause cooking oil to scorch and will produce an unusable coffee bean.
You want to have a skillet temperature somewhere between 450 and 500 degrees in order to roast your coffee beans. Your skillet doesnt have to be cast iron however, you dont want to use a non-stick or coated skillet to roast your coffee beans.
In order to achieve a light roast coffee bean, roast your beans in a single layer in the skillet at the required temperature for between 4 and 8 minutes. You need to constantly stir your coffee beans in order to prevent your coffee beans from uneven roasting.
Pour your coffee beans into a metal colander. Do not use a plastic colander, as the temperature of the coffee beans will begin to melt the plastic. Stir the coffee beans around inside the colander, which will both cool the beans and remove the chaff, or the outer coffee bean shell that will cause a terrible bitter taste, so be sure to remove all of the chaff prior to grinding your coffee.
What Happens To Coffee Beans During Roasting
Green, unroasted coffee beans have a significant amount of water retention. It would be impossible to grind and brew them. Nor would you want to: they have a distinctive grassy flavour.
Roasting kickstarts various chemical reactions, resulting in the development of more appetising flavours and aromas.
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When green coffee beans enter a hot environment, the moisture content starts to decline. This is the first stage of roasting, and its known as the drying stage. Shortly into this phase, the beans begin to turn yellow. Many people refer to this as the yellowing stage.
Its when the beans start to darken, which is known as the browning stage, that the most important chemical reactions happen: the Maillard reaction, caramelisation, and Strecker degradation. These create many of the flavour and aroma compounds, including those responsible for sweetness and fruity acidity.
The browning stage ends with first crack, which is when the pressure inside the coffee beans causes them to crack open. Youll recognise it by a series of popping noises.
Eventually, all the water inside the beans evaporates and they reach second crack. The coffee steadily becomes darker and releases more carbon-like aromatics. The majority of the sugars break down, and as the roast progresses, the beverage will taste increasingly bittersweet with reduced acidity.
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How To Get Started: 4 Ways To Roast Coffee
Diving into the world of home roasting is incredibly easy. Choose the method you feel most comfortable with from the following:
Roasting in a pan or oven is the cheapest way to get fresh beans. But for producing the best possible results we recommend that you choose either a popcorn machine or a purpose-built coffee roaster for their simplicity and consistency.
If youd like to start roasting on a budget, this video will show you how:
However, the price jump from a popcorn machine to a coffee roasting machine can be massive. Popcorn machines can be picked up brand new from as little as $20, whereas a high-quality home roaster can be around $500, skyrocketing upwards from there. Cheaper machines can be around $150 but are often of inferior quality and may break down sooner.
If youre serious about roasting your own coffee beans, its worthwhile investing your money in a machine that will stand the test of time!
What Is A Roasting Profile
Before we get to the actual roasting process, lets talk about the roasting profile. A roasting profile is simply how much temperature is applied to the beans and for how much time.
When you roast beans at home, you might not be able to adjust the temperature on your equipment. In that case, your roasting profile is going to depend more on the time youll roast.
How long should you roast your beans? We already talked about first crack, that exciting moment when the beans begin to pop. Thats going to be your reference point.
Youll know youre at that stage because your beans will sound like popcorn popping. At that point, your beans are technically roasted and drinkable. Thats the point some people call City Roast, which is a light roast that will give you a bright brew.
You can continue roasting for a few more minutes to get a darker roast. When you get to this point its essential to keep the beans in constant movement so they dont char, or burn, on the bottoms or sides. Depending on the roasting method youre using at home, you can achieve this by continuously stirring the beans. You will soon get to the second crack, which is less intense than the first one.
I recommend timing your roast. When you know how long you roasted your beans, you can repeat it if it turns out well. And if the roast turns out poorly, you can avoid repeating the error. Simply note when you started roasting and when you took the beans off the heat source.