Logo
 
MoreBeer!

Coffee Roasting

05/14/2020

Coffee Roasting

The Journey of Roasting Coffee

By Joshua Rosenthal

Quicklinks:

The First Step to Roasting

The Roasting Tools

Roasting Stages

Storage

 

Nothing beats a great cup of coffee in the morning, afternoon, and in some cases in the evening. If you are a true coffee drinker, you can appreciate the taste of black coffee, it’s rainbow oils, and the deep aroma.

 

Drinking coffee is like drinking wine, beer, or any other beverage. The more you drink, the more educated you become in understanding the coffee bean, the growing region (climate, soil, other variables), and roasting practices to assist in producing the great flavor and aroma of coffee.

 

If you are like anyone else, saving money is always a great idea. If you are lucky, you may have a great friend who is a roaster and is giving their beans to you as a gift or for a small donation. In the majority of cases, you cannot always rely on your friend’s production schedule. So, instead of buying a pound of premium coffee at $10-$20, why not roast your own coffee and begin to craft your next cup while appreciating the process?

 

I have always been intrigued with roasting coffee and wanted to learn the process. Before getting involved, I wanted to do some research, speak with my friends who roast, and then dive in by trying some processes

 

The First Step of Roasting

 

You need to find green coffee beans that suit your palate and would enjoy drinking.

 

The first step to coffee roasting is selecting your green coffee bean. Here are some tips when selecting your bean:

  • Start by understanding the region where your green beans come from. Different climates will yield a different tasting bean.
  • Know the green bean’s characteristic (acidity, body (mouth feel), aroma), processing (dry vs. wet), and storage (cool and dry place, out of sunlight, and 60F)

I began buying my green coffee beans from my local homebrew store, More Beer where they provide a great selection and profile overview.

 

To check out our complete selection of Green Coffee Beans, click here

 

The Roasting Tools

 

Once you have selected your green beans, you are ready for roasting and understanding the process. I actually started on the stovetop with a skillet and began roasting my beans. I can tell you this, it is labor intensive due to constantly stirring the beans for an even roast and heat distribution. I also needed to roast in batches due to the size of my pan and it was difficult for me to find/control the right temperature to roast my beans. Stovetop can also be extremely messy due to the amount of smoke being emitted and the constant floating of chaff (skin of the bean) in the air as the bean cracks. In a lot of cases, I had a hard time separating chaff from the bean during the process too. In the end, my roasts were okay, but I felt the process was too cumbersome and my beans were inconsistent with their roast flavor.

 

I then figured out that I needed more of an even heat to move through my beans, keep the chaff from floating out of control, and keep some of the smoke down. So, I decided to move into the Whirley-Pop Coffee Roaster to keep my heat consistent, keep the chaff contained (lid included), and roast bigger batches (the depth of the pot), and I didn’t have to stir, but just shake to keep my beans moving through the process. It was a success, as my beans were roasting more evenly, the heat was contained, and I was fully involved with the process. I was able to manipulate my heat, the amount of beans to roast, and keep a mess to a minimum. Even though roasting process can take 15-20 minutes max, it is nice to have consistency, precision, and know that you are going to produce a great roast to enjoy. I love being hands on, but I did want to maximize my time, provide a more flavorful roasted bean, and have a flawless process with more consistency with pinpoint accuracy.

 

I finally decided to invest in a roaster and take my roasting to the next level. I wanted to focus on the different temperatures that dictate my roasts and be able to produce different flavors. The roaster provided me with the opportunity to control my process, define the roast stages of the bean, and enjoy a better roast flavor profile for what I wanted to drink. It was a great investment! I was able to put my beans in my roaster, select the type of roast, and let the roaster do its job by providing the right temperature, keep my beans moving, the chaff floating into a receptacle, and having a fantastic roasted bean at the flavor profile I wanted.

 

To check out our complete selection of Coffee Roasters, click here

 

Stages of Rosting Cofee

The General Roasting Profiles and Stages

 

When I began using a roaster, I was finally able to understand the stages of roasting, control the length, the heat, and the amount of beans. Before, I needed to depend on the stove’s heat and the skillet/pot’s ambient temperature. When I used a lot of beans, I was having an uneven roast due to space and lack of heat through the beans. Now with the roaster, I was able to dial in my roasting, be able to use more beans, control the heat temperature, and be able to produce the flavors I wanted from my green coffee beans.

 

I observed the multiple stages of coffee roasting and was able to control this roasting process by monitoring the time and temperature. As you move through the roasting process, please keep in mind the temperatures noted below are only guidelines. As you become accustomed to your process and roaster, begin to use your sensory:  smell, site, sound, and taste to determine what you like to drink.

 
Unroasted Stage
(0 – 8 min)
 
In this stage the raw (green) coffee bean is usually at room temp 68-72f and is being placed into your roaster that has already been preheated to assist in dehydrating your green coffee bean. Your bean will begin to turn a pale color within four – six minutes and with a temperature of 270f – 327f.
 
You will soon discover that your pale yellow coffee bean will become a brown coffee bean at the eight-minute mark (345f – 370f) as it continues to dry out and produce a grainy aroma, you can compare it to the smell of cooked rice. As the bean continues to expand due to the heat (370f) “first crack” begins and the chaff (bean’s skin) will shed and float away. Be prepared to turn your vent on or open your windows, as smoke will be present.
 
Light Roast Stage
(9 – 10.45 min)
 
The bean has now entered the “first crack” stage (390f – 410f) where you will hear a “popping” sound, just like a popcorn kernel. Now if you want, you can stop here as the bean has been roasted enough to be used to make coffee. Remember, the longer the roast, the better, the richer, and bolder the flavor profile will be. If you are light roast drinker, your roasting is complete. Your cup of coffee will have plenty of acidity and in some cases sourness if you choose to express your bean to the fullest, espresso. If you do stop here, perhaps you enjoy drinking “Light or Half city”, “Cinnamon Roast”, or “New England” as these are the common terms with this roast.
 
Once you get passed the “first crack” (401f) this is where your roaster’s experience takes over. From this point on, roasting becomes an art form. You will need to control the time post “first crack” as time plays a direct role on the flavor of your bean. With every minute passing, the less acidity and sugars will be prominent in your coffee. 
 
Medium Roast Stage
(10.45 – 11.30 min)
 
You will notice the coffee bean will become a darker brown shade (410f – 428f), this is where the term,  “American Roast”, to “City Roast” roast comes from. Some roasters believe this is the stage where you can truly stop your roast. As the minutes pass and the heat increases, you will begin to enter into the medium darker roast color of the bean. You will notice your bean begins to produce oil on the surface. That is a great sign, as you are beginning to add more of a body to your coffee. More minutes, higher temperature, and the “second crack” starts (437f-446f). 
 
When the second crack begins, you will begin to hear a “snap”, “crackle”, and “pop” sounds. In some cases roasters have mentioned it sounds like Rice Krispy’s on crack. There will be an intense aroma and flavors coming from your roaster. Your coffee profile at this time will be a tad spicy. 
 
Dark Roast
(11.50 – 12.40 + min)
 
As you leave the medium roast stage with a higher temperature and longer time, the common names used are: “Full-City Roast”, “Vienna Roast” (450f – 460f), your baristas will guide you towards this bean as it produces the best espresso flavor. There is a fine line between dark medium roast and dark roast based on where you stop your roast. If you stop in the middle of the second crack, then you are in the dark roast phase. The bean should be a deep dark brown color, like how chocolate looks like. The beans should have a strong gleam of oil on them. The taste profile will be bitter, smoky, or even a burnt taste. You final temperature for this stage will be 464f as you are nearing the end of the second crack. Do not move too far past this temperature or you are risking a small fire or even burning your beans to create charcoal. The names you will often hear in this stage are: “Italian and French Roast”. Your coffee profile should be a thin body, light aroma, with fewer oils due to the burning of the bean. 
 

 

Storing Your Roasted Coffee Beans

 

I will usually allow the beans to cool for one to two days prior to storage. I want to make sure the beans “gas-off”. I like using mason jars with sealing lids, providing a solid seal to lock in freshness and keeping the oils from evaporating and the beans from drying out. When I purchase my green coffee beans, I will keep them in a reusable container (tuber-ware) and store in my pantry where it is dry and cool not surpassing 68F.

 

I encourage you to begin researching green coffee beans and see which beans you gravitate towards. MoreBeer! is great assisting first time and veteran roasters with green beans, roasters, and tricks of the trade. They will guide you by the region, country, or your roasting preference. Use the roasting tools you can afford or as you see fit and begin to learn and understand the roasting process. As you can see, it is a craft, an art form for you to manipulate in how you want your coffee to taste. Nothing beats a fresh craft roast made by a great friend and especially one you roasted. Craft beans make great gifts during the holidays, home-brewers for their beers (trade), and of course for you.

 

Related Products

All contents copyright 2021 by MoreFlavor Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this document or the related files may be reproduced or transmitted in any form, by any means (electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the publisher.