The 3 Roasting methods
I. The light gold roasting which provides the final product with a light fragrance. This method of roasting is particularly popular in Scandinavian countries as well as in Greece.
II. The medium roasting that gives coffee a light brown color and a stronger taste. This method is most often found in Central Europe and America.
III. The strong roasting which gives the coffee a strong and slightly sour taste. This kind of coffee is usually drunk without redudant additions (sugar, milk) and is most popular in the Southern European countries (Italy, Spain, etc.)
At 130 degrees, a distinct smell of freshly cut grass emerges from the roasted beans. At 140 degrees, the smell reminds us that of a cob. At 170 degrees, the aromas released resemble those of a freshly baked bread. At 180, several kinds of smells emerge and at 190 degrees celsius the coffee beans 'pop'. The first ‘crack’ can be heard. It is the sound a grain of coffee makes when it pops (like popcorn). More specifically, the sugars caramelize, water is evaporated, and the grain’s structure is dissolved releasing its aromatic oils.
As soon as this happens, the procedure accelerates. The roasting of coffee and the caramelization of its sugars continue, oils appear on the outer layers, the granules swell and their color turns into a dark brown. A second ‘crack’ is heard. Not as strong as the first, but often faster. The smoke produced now is much more than the one produced before, the sugars are still being cleaved, the grain structure breaks down, and the granules’ colour turns into a shining black. The most crucial moment is when the roasting finishes and the machine’s doors are heaved. The coffee beans continue getting ‘’baked’’, even when they are out, thus it is essential for someone to cool them down quickly and bring them to room temperature. The sooner this happens, the better the final result. There are excellent craftsmen with years of experience who can roast coffee without equipment, without chronometers or any kind of control over the fire, just by smelling the beans every few seconds, checking the succession of the colors’ changes, 'listening', and accelerating or "braking" the process. Their carefulness and expertise demonstrates that coffee is not just another, random product but one that carries a centuries-old history within it.
Realistically there is no substitute for experience in this game! That's why we trusted the production of our coffees in the hands of the guys at Coffee City USA. We wanted a roasting house that was exquisitely kitted out with professional people that were full of soul. Ray and Victor and the rest of their team have been producing excellent results in transforming our beans into works of art that will tantalise your tastebuds.
With this entry concludes the technical part of our series on Roasting Coffee Beans. On the next entry we will be talking to our roasters about the way in which they create our blends so stay tuned!