Roasting Methods you Should Know
You wake up each morning, still half asleep, and fire up your Mr. Coffee® Optimal Brew™ 10-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker, in eager anticipation of that first sip of your morning jolt. But have you ever wondered how your favorite coffee beans arrive in your kitchen, ready to be ground up and turned into a delectable cup of Joe? While many of us are surely aware that coffee beans are roasted, few of us may understand the intricacies of the roasting process itself, or the fact that it can actually be done at home!
Are you eager to learn all about coffee roasting? Read our handy guide below!
A closer Look at Coffee Beans
Coffee beans trace their origin to warm climates, primarily those located on or close to the equator. This "Goldilocks zone," where growing conditions are just right in terms of temperature, sunlight and rainfall, is widely nicknamed the "Bean Belt. The beans themselves are found green, and only begin to resemble the coffee beans we know and love are a roasting process. When coffee beans are roasted, moisture is removed and a chemical shift occurs within the beans themselves. This leads to the development of the java smell and the classic flavor notes that coffee-lovers the world over have come to adore. Roasting must be conducted quickly, both in terms of heating and then cooling, to attain optimal results with regard to flavor and aroma.
How to Roast Coffee Beans
In a basic sense, coffee beans are roasted using high levels of heat - anywhere from 180 to 250 degrees, and sometimes higher, produces the desired effect. Of course, as with heating other forms of food and drink, there are different strategies for the coffee-bean roasting process.
- Manually: If you want to get back to basics and roast your beans by hand at home, all you will need is a device that can generate heat - think a frying pan, wok, stove-top popcorn maker or oven. This method can be effective although it tends to be slower than using an automated coffee-roasting machine.
- Automated machines: There are products available on the market designed specifically for roasting coffee beans, and they typically fall into one of two categories: air roasters and drum roasters. The former method involves extremely hot - you guessed it - air, to roast the beans. The later involves a special rotating cylinder, into which the beans are poured and then heated. The rotation can be powered via different methods, contingent on the design of the machine in use.
Before you start roasting, however, it is important to be aware that roasting medium and dark profiles can actually lead to the creation of a lot of smoke, so be sure to crack a window or two before you start!
Types of Coffee Bean Roasts
As a coffee lover you've no doubt visited your local cafe and been asked the question "Would you like a dark or light roast?" While you have may have some idea about what each of these tastes like, you may not know that there are in fact many other roast types, all producing their own unique flavors and aromas. The kind of roast is determined by how long the beans are cooked for. The longer a bean cooks, the higher the temperature reaches and the darker the roast becomes, all of which impacts the internal chemistry of the beans, producing different flavors.
There are three major types of coffee roasts, with different styles that fall under each category. They are:
1. Light Roast
This method necessitates roasting the beans for less time, until they produce a beige color. Light-roasted beans tend to produce more mellow and delicate flavors and can be sweeter in some cases. A lesser known fact is that light roasts actually tend to be stronger in terms of caffeine content. This is because caffeine is actually extracted and lost during the roasting process. Given, therefore,that light roasts are heated for the least time, it follows that they are higher in caffeine.
Light roast can serve as an umbrella term for other kinds of roasts that are also lighter in nature. For example, a cinnamon roast is very light in color with a mild flavor, as are the New England, Light City and Half City roasts.
2. Medium Roast
In a similar vein to light roasts, there are actually a number of coffee styles that can be said to be medium roasted. In general, medium roasts are the perfect compromise - flavorful, yet not too bold, with a healthy amount of caffeine. No wonder medium roasts tend to be the preferred choice of many Americans. Examples of styles of medium roast coffee include American and breakfast.
There is also a subcategory of medium roasts known as medium-dark roasts. Again, offering a more rich and balanced flavor, medium-dark roasts can provide notes of bitterness that verge on dark roast - hence the name. Perhaps the most common kind of medium-dark roast is the Full City. Described as almost chocolaty by some sources, Full City roasts tend to be less sweet, however.
3. Dark Roast
The coffee of choice across the pond in continental Europe, dark roasts carry a strong, bold and bitter flavor - a marked contrast from its lighter cousins in terms of flavor. There are many styles of dark-roast coffee, with some of the most notable including Italian, French, New Orleans and, of course, espresso!
Once you have determined your favorite style it's time to get roasting. And don't forget to use your beans in your Mr. Coffee® Optimal Brew™ 10-Cup Programmable Coffee Maker for that ideal cup, time and time again.