For everyone, coffee is a basic and essential drink, but there is a whole process behind a cup of coffee that takes time. One of the most important steps is roasting the coffee, a step that many people do not know or understand when it is here where all the flavor that goes in that cup comes out. Learn more about the art of coffee roasting.
Coffee roasting: beyond a process
Coffee cultivation and its subsequent processes have become a craft, thanks to this drink’s popularity. Considering its antiquity, it is not surprising that they have managed to make this an art in any of its stages. In this case, coffee roasting is of the utmost importance to release that characteristic flavor. These are facts to take into account about this process.
There are two kinds of coffee roasters: air and drum
There are two ways to roast coffee: with air or with a drum. Both forms are correct and depend on the taste of the expert and the final flavor that they want to obtain. The air heater heats the green beans through convection obtained with electricity or gas, achieving a uniform and faster toasting than the drum.
The latter is the traditional way of roasting coffee; here, the grains are in contact with the metal surface of the drum, using conduction to heat all the grains adequately. However, it takes more time with this method. Regardless, in any case, the roasting is carried out satisfactorily.
Coffee roasters listen to the beans
A coffee roasting expert knows the best way to exploit the desired flavor of coffee, and for this, the sound of the cracks is used, which is nothing more than the cracks produced by the heat to which the beans are subjected. In this way, the bean darkens and loses moisture. There are different toasting levels, and these will depend on the first or second crack.
Coffee beans produce a whole symphony when roasted, but you should not make a second crack if you want a smoother taste. On the other hand, if a roaster seeks a stronger flavor, it is necessary for that second crack to occur, creating a new wave of sounds and savors in the beans.
The coffee bean can be roasted in four levels or groups depending on its color:
- Light: a light brown color is observed here, and its flavors are closer to the green grain: fruity and nutty. In this group, there is high acidity.
- Medium: a medium brown with a balance between flavor and acidity. The taste is leaning towards sweet.
- Medium – Dark: a dark color but with some brightness, a bittersweet aftertaste, and low acidity levels.
- Dark: a color that almost reaches black, shiny, and oily beans. This is the group obtained after the second crack, where the roasted flavor prevails instead of the natural one.
While it’s easy to tell them apart by color, the flavor and potency of the caffeine vary greatly with each group. Hence the importance of roasting the coffee to the desired level.
Beans need time to degas
At roasting, each coffee bean goes through a very large chemical and cellular change. This process creates gasses that need to be released, so when you finish roasting a batch, it is necessary to let it rest to remove a large part of the gasses obtained. But this is also a delicate balance: if they are left to rest for a long time, they lose all the carbon dioxide and, therefore, their freshness.
The green coffee bean weighs more than the brown one
Coffee is a fruit that goes through many changes before reaching the cup. Since it is a cherry until it becomes a roasted bean, the coffee undergoes several losses of water and, therefore, weight. For that reason, cherries, green beans, and then roasted beans will never weigh the same. At the end of the process, the coffee beans have lost up to 16% of their original weight.
Coffee farming is a community in itself
Growing coffee has become a method of subsistence for many people, which is why communities and towns are created around these crops. But it goes much further than this; coffee unites people and eliminates barriers like cultures, languages , and even physical borders. Coffee connoisseurs worldwide like to talk and get to know the different coffee growing and roasting sites, which leads to open communication between many people.
As you can see, there are many interesting facts about coffee, although we have only focused on the art of coffee roasting this time. For a good cup of coffee, you need a good bean, and it all starts with the cultivation to finish with the roasting, which gives it that characteristic flavor.
Photo by nousnou iwasaki on Unsplash.