Winning Combinations

Written by Bernard Romanycia

Classic sounds mixed with

Secrets of Coffee Roasting, De-Mystified

Written by Andy White

I started my coffee roasting career as a home roaster. Getting started was easier than I thought. And as I did so, it occured to me how a relatively simple concept, roasting coffee beans, has been made to appear to be an arcane art, with a variety of roast types held out as arcane knowledge. How many different names have you run across for different types of coffee roasts? Light, Medium, Dark? Espresso? Continental? Vienna, French, Italian, Spanish? City? Full-City? C'mon, who's thinking up these things?

Well,repparttar dark secret (pardonrepparttar 116281 pun) ofrepparttar 116282 coffee industry is that, well, there really isn't full agreement on which roast is which. So basically, we all pretty much get to hunt around, try different coffees from different sources and pickrepparttar 116283 one(s) we like. In this article, I'll try to userepparttar 116284 standard nomenclature, and map it to a process of observingrepparttar 116285 color and texture anyone can judge for himself.

The roasting adventure begins with green coffee beans. These are stored at room temperatures, at 12-15% moisture content. Roasting is done at temperatures of up to 450+ degrees F. Duration and temperature determinerepparttar 116286 roast.

A coffee bean will take on heat untilrepparttar 116287 internal temperature ofrepparttar 116288 bean reaches approximately 212-240 deg F. At this point,repparttar 116289 outer layer ofrepparttar 116290 bean(s) will discolor, turning a nice cinnamon color. Here, steam will start being released fromrepparttar 116291 bean.

Asrepparttar 116292 bean heats up further (approx 250-300 degrees F, again depending onrepparttar 116293 variety),repparttar 116294 external membrane ofrepparttar 116295 bean will dry up and start separating fromrepparttar 116296 bean itself. At approximately 350 degrees F,repparttar 116297 continuing heating ofrepparttar 116298 bean forces a 'first crack.' This cracking occurs as moisture within is released throughrepparttar 116299 existing seam inrepparttar 116300 bean. This essentially blows this small crack open, forcingrepparttar 116301 separation ofrepparttar 116302 remaining bean 'chaff'.

Coffee at this stage is a light brown color; enteringrepparttar 116303 'light City Roast' stage. City Roast is usually achieved at a slightly higher temperature (above 370 deg F), whererepparttar 116304 sugars withinrepparttar 116305 bean start melting or ‘carmelizing’. This givesrepparttar 116306 distinctive 'coffee brown' color. City Roasts are usually stopped around 400 deg. or so. At this point,repparttar 116307 sugars are not fully carmelized, and flavor ofrepparttar 116308 beans at this stage are very much determined by their origin; not byrepparttar 116309 degree of roast. The 'Full City Roast' stage occurs at higher temperatures, just asrepparttar 116310 bean reachesrepparttar 116311 'second crack' stage. This stage happens at different temperatures for different beans based on variety. The second crack comes asrepparttar 116312 temperatures ofrepparttar 116313 bean reachrepparttar 116314 point whererepparttar 116315 cellular composition ofrepparttar 116316 bean starts breaking down. To obtainrepparttar 116317 Full City roast, roasting is stopped just atrepparttar 116318 point where this second crack starts (approx 425-435 deg F.) At this pointrepparttar 116319 bean is darker brown, but 'dry' looking, asrepparttar 116320 oils ofrepparttar 116321 bean have not started to emerge throughrepparttar 116322 molecular breakdown ofrepparttar 116323 bean.

Going intorepparttar 116324 second crack, we reachrepparttar 116325 Vienna, Continental, French and/or Italian roast stages. These are sometimes also referred to as "Espresso Roast", although strictly speaking, there's no such thing. Italian espresso blends actually vary - northern blends are typically roasted torepparttar 116326 'Vienna' stage, well intorepparttar 116327 second crack, whererepparttar 116328 sugars withinrepparttar 116329 bean are almost fully carmelized and many beans withinrepparttar 116330 roast will appear dark brown with hints of fissures. Espresso blends in southern Italy are usually roasted intorepparttar 116331 "French Roast" stage, where almost all ofrepparttar 116332 beans will be about one shade removed from black and oils will start emerging from some beans. Beyond this point, beans will start releasing oils and their soluble compounds - mainly as a lot of smoke; butrepparttar 116333 beans will be left quite dark with a very oily sheen. Assuming they have not fully burnt yet, this can be specified as "Italian Roast". I've observed different temperatures (withinrepparttar 116334 roaster) for all of these stages depending onrepparttar 116335 bean variety - so as my roasts reachrepparttar 116336 second crack, I tend to trust my eyes and ears more than I trust my probe thermometer.

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