The best place to learn about coffee roasting!
There is a very in-depth science to coffee harvesting and roasting. For that explanation of the chemical process we will refer you to CoffeeResearch.org. For our purposes we will briefly cover the roasting process.
When coffee beans are harvested they are green in color. You do have the ability to buy beans at this point if you own a home roaster. Decent home coffee roasters run about $500 and you can even add in your own flavoring. For us, we rely on the pros to roast beans to perfection as the process is an art form.
As the green beans are dried they begin to gain a yellow color and smell like popcorn. The next step is to bring on the heat. At approximately 400 degrees the coffee bean grows and becomes a light brown color at which point it cracks – this is usually referred to as the “first crack”.
From here the coffee beans are brought to a medium brown color by increasing heat to approximately 435 degrees. At this point the beans release carbon dioxide, become lighter and are almost ready. One more increase in heat, approximately 450 degrees, and the coffee beans become a nice medium-dark brown and once again, crack – usually referred to as, you guessed it, the “second crack”.
This is what you would normally see as the mildly oily, rich brown coffee beans which are ready to buy. So why are there so many coffee beans to choose from and why should you be picky? This is where the art form comes in – choosing the exact time when to complete the roast reflects directly on the acidity, aroma and taste left in the beans. When to add certain flavors to the roasting coffee beans also play an important role in the final product.
It has become somewhat of an American tradition to roast the beans too much. This displays as a dark black bean and a strong bitter taste, what most folks just refer to as “coffee”. The over roasting is usually done to mask the bitter taste of poorly harvested beans of a lesser quality than the imports. This is why you see so many Colombian, Ethiopian, Jamaican, and Kenyan high quality coffees boasting their rich, bold taste and aroma.
There is always an exception to the rule. For American coffee, it is the rich flavor of Hawaiian Kona. In that example, we are not saying all American coffees are over roasted, nor to say you can’t get poorly harvested bean crops from Colombia. It is just to state that there is a selection out there and as usual, you get what you pay for.
We have to close with saying that here, at Pound of Coffee dot com, you can rely on the fact that we only sell beans of the highest quality from roasters they have been in the business for years and have a reputation they can boast about.