Coffee Roasting - The awesome way people figured out how to heat green coffee beans to cause chemical and structural changes. These changes that occur during the roasting process develop the aromas and flavors hidden within the bean that make your cup of coffee what it is. Coffee Roasting is a mixture of art and science used to create the worlds most loved and consumed beverage.
The roasting of coffee is a stewardship and at Loxley Coffee we are devoted to passionately developing and staying true to the flavors in the coffee bean. It is our top priority and honor to provide a cup that at makes you happy and leaves you wanting more.
The Different Degrees of Roast
The degrees of roast are broken into three main categories: light, medium, and dark. Contained within these categories are what we'll call sub-degrees letting you know just how deep into each category your coffee bean has been taken how much of the origin flavor it retains and how much roasting flavor it holds. (Origin flavor refers to the flavor notes the bean has based on it's country of origin, processing method, and other factors such as altitude and weather.) Here we like to keep it simple and just refer to our roasts as light, medium, or dark. If you want to know more about how our coffee is roasted send us a message and we can let you know a little more about our process.
Cinnamon Roast - The lightest drinkable roast. Sometimes called The Scandinavian style or Nordic Style. Most times results in a sour cup of coffee, grassy smelling, and normally unpleasant to drink. If developed right it can give bright lively origin characteristics and high acidity.
American Roast - Now the roast is beginning to smell like coffee you would drink. Often used for cupping purposes. At this point origin characteristics are high, acidity is becoming slightly muted, and roast flavors are very low.
City Roast and City+ Roast - "The light roast." Most common degree of roast for commercial light roasts. There are no oils yet on the surface of the beans. Origin character will still be strong and distinguishable with a small amount of roast flavors. City+ is the fringe where roast flavors are stronger becoming bittersweet and we begin to creep into the medium degree of roast.
Full City Roast and Full City+ Roast - Origin characteristics and roast flavors are well balanced at this point. The most popular degree of roast. Full City+ is getting near or just slightly into the dark roast degree. Now the roast is very bittersweet with acidity beginning to really drop off and the origin flavors linger in the background.
Vienna Roast - The bean will have an oily sheen to it now. Origin flavors are low and roast flavors are really coming through now. There is little to no acidity with bittersweet flavors now the mainstay.
French Roast - The beans are losing their brown color and turning closer to gray or black. Roast flavors rule at this point with a very small amount of origin flavor remaining.
Italian Roast - Ash. In all seriousness though Italian Roasts are dropped at the very end of 2nd crack. Any longer and there's a risk of them combusting. Commonly used for or in espresso blends. A very very VERY small amount to no origin flavor remaining.
Stages of Coffee Roasting
The stages of roasting are what cause green coffee beans to become the drinkable end product in the mug firmly and proudly held in your hand.
If you started from the beginning you know coffee starts off as a coffee cherry picked from a tree. The cherry is then processed in one of a handful of ways followed by being dried on large patios and then after some time traveling the high seas ends up in the hands of a roaster.
The green coffee is then dropped into a preheated roaster commonly a drum roaster. A large machine with an enclosed spinning steel drum heated by an open flame.
This is the point in the roast where the room temperature green coffee and the roaster heated to around 400 degrees fahrenheit meet in the middle. As the roaster gives its energy to the green coffee beans the roaster begins to cool while the coffee heats up. Eventually they both reach a point where they heat up together called the turn or turning point.
Green to Yellow Transition:
After about 4-6 minutes of roasting the green coffee begins to lose most of it's moisture content and begins to turn yellow in color. Besides a color change there is an aroma change and the beans go from smelling vegetal (fresh grass clippings often times) to smelling like baked goods.
Browning and First Crack:
From the yellowing stage on the coffee will then turn brown in color getting more and more aromatic beginning to smell like the coffee you know. Around 9-12 minutes first crack begins. This is when the coffee beans internal cellulose structure begins to break down creating more coffee flavors and smells. The beans begin makes a popping sound similar to that of popcorn. Eventually to taper off and all together stop.
After first crack stops is what many refer to as the development stage, for lack of a better term as coffee is constantly developing throughout the whole roast process. Somewhere in this area as first crack ends and second crack begins is where you'll find most light and medium roast coffees you drink.
This is the point where dark roasts lie. The outer structure of the bean begins to crack and degrade further letting off lighter often more high pitched pops and begins turning to ash. The further into second crack you get the more roasted flavors the coffee bean gets and flavors of the original green coffee it loses. If the bean is allowed to go far past the end of second crack the coffee will become bean shaped ash or combust.
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