Coffee Roasting 101
Lately, as I have been dealing a lot with coffee beans and watching my boss roast them, I realized that one of the things that I find most fascinating about the history of coffee is that people figured out the process of roasting in the first place. In order to enjoy coffee the way that we do today it has to first be roasted; a green coffee bean does not have the same wonderful taste as a roasted bean, while it does have about the same amounts of caffeine, protein, and acid.
The roasting process basically brings the natural oils of the coffee to the surface of the bean; this is what makes up the beautiful depth of flavor in your cup of coffee. It is similar to caramelizing because the sugars, fats and other things that compose the coffee beans are emulsified and released showing up as the oil on the outside of the roasted bean. The process exposes the beans to intense heat, and as it is absorbed by the beans they become darker in color, going from green to yellow and yellow to brown. But the color isn’t all that is affected by the roasting process; the beans also change in density and taste.
The color of the roasted bean is a very important part of the roasting process as it is an indicator of the how strong or complex the flavor will be. Generally, the darker the roast of the coffee, the more intense and full bodied the flavor will be, but many high quality coffees, for instance the Jamaican blue mountain, have a lighter roast to preserve the original flavor of the bean. Although, the origin of the bean still plays a big part in overall complexity of the flavor.
These days, most beans are roasted commercially in large quantities, although traditionally in Africa, and the Middle East coffee beans are roasted in very small quantities in a frying pan before it is brewed and enjoyed. Drinking coffee in this way takes a lot of time and as such it is meant to be an enjoyable and relaxing experience ended with a fantastic cup of coffee. In our time and culture, coffee is something that we want to get quickly, but there is always the option to live slow for a few minutes and enjoy a cup of coffee made with Jaho’s fresh roasted beans.