While choosing fair trade grown beans contributes to the delicious taste of the coffee, so does the roasting process. Typically, you purchase coffee beans that have already been roasted. They may come as whole beans or ground.
Coffee beans start rather flavorless. They need the roasting process to wake up their flavors and get their juices, well, oils flowing. You add heat to make a fresh-picked bean a flavorful potential cup of coffee.
The temperature at which you roast and the length of roasting time determine the taste of the coffee bean. Roasting creates a chemical reaction, turning a tiny seed into a flavorful caffeine bean.
The roasting step takes time, and you must remove the coffee beans from the heat at precisely the right moment to ensure a good taste. A bean is reddish-green from the vine, but the heating process changes the color.
- Just moments into roasting, the coffee beans turn a pale white. They emit a grassy smell, but no need to worry. The aroma develops as the roaster applies heat.
- As the beans approach 150 degrees Celsius, they become yellow and have a hay-like aroma.
- About halfway through the roasting process, the beans turn a tan or orange. Which color depends on the coffee bean type? They now smell like bread baking. At 165 degrees Celcius, they carmelize.
- Next, the beans experience their first crack. It sounds a bit like popcorn, and the beans puff slightly. You could pull them off of the roaster at this point and enjoy a light roast with a bright flavor.
- If left on the heat, they enter the development phase, which causes them to become less acidic and develop a greater body. The changes happen quickly in this phase, and the roasting manager must watch the beans as they grow.
- Leaving them on until the second crack occurs, a softer pop that lets the bean’s oils gush out onto the outside of the bean. At this point, the roast flavors begin to dominate the original flavors. Taking them off the heat now produces a medium to medium-dark roast.
- Those beans that bear the words dark roast remained on the heat long enough to burn. Carbon develops as sugars break down in the bean.
The cooling phase occurs quickly to bring the beans to room temperature regardless of when the trade coffee roaster removed the beans from the heat. The beans go into the collection jar to be bagged and shipped.