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The Process of Roasting Coffee

Did you know that coffee beans aren’t brown but green? On top of that, did you know that a coffee bean is a seed?

Many coffee drinkers might not be familiar with the process of roasting coffee. However, the roasting process is what gives the beans their flavor. The different roasting levels also play a significant role in the flavor profiles. 

This guide will discuss the process of roasting coffee so you can learn more about one of your favorite beverages. 

Why Roast Coffee?

Coffee beans come from a bush-like plant called the coffee plant. It can get very tall, but farmers typically keep them to around five feet. Bunches of cherries grow on the plants, and inside of those cherries, you’ll find coffee beans. 

The seeds are picked and then dried to become coffee beans. Before they’re roasted, the coffee beans have a grassy and beany aroma. Once they’re roasted, they’ll get the distinct coffee aroma we’re familiar with. 

Coffee Roasting Process

During the roasting process, the coffee beans go from green to brown. There are different ways to roast beans, and it affects their flavor. 

Let’s discuss the three main stages of roasting. 

Drying Stage

The humidity level of a coffee bean is 8-12%. Therefore, the bean has to be dried out before it can be roasted. It takes four to eight minutes to dry out a bean in a traditional drum roaster. 

Browning Stage

Once the beans reach the end of the drying stage, they’ll start to smell like hay and toasted bread. The Malliard reaction begins during this stage. The amino acids and sugars in the bean react to make hundreds of different color and aroma compounds. 

During the browning stage, the roast will start to slow down naturally. The coffee beans will start to pop at the end of the stage. This phenomenon is called the first crack and signals the beginning of the development stage. 

Development Stage

The development stage lasts for the remainder of the roasting cycle. The length of the cycle will vary depending upon the type of roast the roaster is making. The aroma compounds are developed during this stage. 

Different Types of Roast: Light, Medium, and Dark 

The longer a roaster keeps the roasting cycle going, the darker the roast. There are three main types of roast: light, medium, and dark. 

A light roast will retain most of the natural flavor of the coffee bean. Light roasts also have more floral aromas and are indicative of the environment where the coffee beans were grown. 

A medium roast is a little bit browner than a light roast. It’ll also be sweeter than a light version due to the caramelization process that occurs with a longer roasting. 

Dark roast is the oldest roasting style. Roasters risk roasting the beans for too long and causing a burnt taste. A high-quality dark roast coffee will have a smooth flavor and strong aroma. 

Learn More About Roasting Coffee and Other Facts

The roasting coffee process is essential to developing flavorful coffee. While there are some uses for green coffee beans, most people prefer thoroughly roasted coffee for their morning beverage. 

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