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What is Coffee Roasting, and Why Does it Matter?

What is Coffee Roasting, and Why Does it Matter?

So what is coffee roasting?

This is the process of transforming green coffee beans into a dark brown bean that we really love to consume.  I cook my beans in a mini 1 kilogram drum roaster.  This is equal to 2.2lbs, meaning that my roasts will never be big.  All my roasts start with a precise measurement - I micro roast green coffee batches 500g at a time.  If you prefer medium roasted coffee then you generally like a bean that is cooked at lower temperatures for a shorter time.  This kind of roast tends to bring out more of the crisp, natural, bright flavors of the coffee bean, while a darker roast tends to bring out a bolder, fuller body.  Some would liken it to cooking a steak.  A steak cooked medium rare tends to be juicer and the flavor tends to be more explosive.  As the steak cooks the flavor becomes bolder and the bright flavors of the steak get replaced with a delicious darker char.  This is kind of similar to the same way a coffee bean cooks.  The process of roasting a coffee bean happens in 3 stages: the drying stage, the roasting stage, and the cooling stage.  

Stage One:

The drying stage happens at the beginning of the roast.  This is the process whereby one extracts all the moisture out of the bean.  In general the bean reaches this stage during the first four minutes of the roast and the bean begins to turn from green to yellow.

Stage Two:

The roasting stage happens next and it is the principle part of the roast where the coffee bean turns into the flavorful burst many around the world love to sip on. This is the point and time in the roast known as the "Maillard reaction".  The Maillard reaction is when the sugars and the amino acids in the coffee bean react together.  The bean expands in shape and the color fully transforms from a golden yellow color to a dark rich caramel color and beyond, depending on how dark you roast the beans.

Stage Three:

The cooling stage is the last part of the process.  This is the point when the roast is stopped by the roaster and the flavor has been locked and loaded by the roasting process.  The beans must be quickly cooled to seal in the flavor of the delicious roast.  If the beans cool too slowly, some of the taste is lost.

Coffee roasting is generally easy to do however the craft may take a lifetime to master.  To get the perfect cup of coffee you will likely journey through many trials and tribulations.  And then - you are fickle, your tastes change and you find yourself back at square one all over again!.

In the end there are just so many variables to explore during the coffee roasting process all leading to the perfect cup tailored to your perfect taste. Sip... Savor... Relax... And enjoy!

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