Roasting the Coffee
You can try different ways of roasting coffee beans for experimentation purposes. It’s a fun and interesting way to find out which coffee bean variety has the best flavor once it’s roasted, and which roasting method brings out the best flavor for your unique palette. While roasting levels can be highly customized, there are a few basic phases of the roasting process.
In the first phase, the color of the coffee slowly changes from green to greenish-yellow, then from yellowish-tan to yellow.
Beans will begin to smell like grass and release steam as the water molecules inside the bean are heated and begin to escape.
c) First Crack
You will know the process advances when you hear something that is called “first crack” stage. The distinct sound is similar to that of popping popcorn. Once you hear this sound, the real roasting process has begun. Water completely leaves the bean via steam. Caramelizing of the sugar contents begins, and the deeply buried oils are redistributed internally, but still remain inside the bean at this stage. This is when the whole structure of the coffee bean begins to change and break down.
d) Light-Roast Phase (also known as City Roast)
Up to the moment of the first crack, the coffee is considered to be roasted. Any additional roasting beyond this point depends upon your personal taste as far as what degree of roasting you will choose and when you will stop the process. This phase is also called Cinnamon Roast, New England Roast, or Light City Roast. Take the first crack as a reference point and then consider what you see and what you smell as the decisive factors going forward.
e) Caramelizing the Sugars (Full City)
The first crack stage has fully arrived, and the bean is allowed to darken a bit. This is called the City Roast, America Roast, or Breakfast Roast. The coffee bean expands and darkens, while the caramelization is not finished yet (about 50% complete). Many people consider the coffee to be complete at this stage, but this does not mean that you cannot continue. It is already considered a complete roast, but some people prefer to go beyond this level, continuing to roast and allowing more sugars to caramelize.
f) The Second Crack (Full City + Vienna Roast)
The beginning of the second crack stage is often referred to as Full City Roast, After-Dinner Roast, or Vienna Roast. The second crack sound is sometimes different in comparison to the first, and experienced roasters use a trained ear to gauge the roast level by the unique sound it makes. Acidity levels begin to drop, and the unique bean characteristics become pronounced.
g) The Darkening of the Roast (French Roast)
The bean becomes darker and darker as roasting continues, all the sugars are completely caramelized, the smoke is intense, and many of the beans begin to break down into pieces. This stage is called a French Roast, Italian Roast, New Orleans Roast, or Dark Roast.
h) The Carbonization Phase
This is the stage beyond which the coffee is usable for drinking in most cultures, though the industry sometimes calls this the Spanish Roast. If the roast has reached this stage, it is too late to do anything with the coffee, because it has a burned, notably charcoal character. It is even possible for you to write with it on some surfaces, just as you would do with a piece of chalk. The coffee in this phase is fully carbonized, which means that a quarter of it is already just ash. From now you are in danger of causing a fire if the roasting is allowed to continue.
We hope that this post has been informative for you. Have you tried home-roasting? We’d love to hear your opinion on different roasts.
Thank you for reading!