Roasting Coffee Beans from the perspective of a new roaster
Hello! I’m Jordyn, the new roaster at Two Chimps Coffee.
In this blog, I will discuss the ins and outs of coffee roasting, all from the perspective of a newbie roaster! Before starting here at Two Chimps, I hadn’t roasted beans or knew anything about the process. Luckily, I enrolled in Head Chimp Andy’s “coffee school” to learn how to create our speciality coffees. Here I was, thinking I’d never have to do homework again- how wrong I was!
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There’s much more going on with roasting than meets the eye. At least, that’s what I think, anyway. It wasn’t as simple as putting green coffee beans into the roaster, and with a wave of a magic wand, roasted coffee beans would appear in the cooling drum below (shocking, right!). Knowledge, understanding and an alert eye are needed to roast these beans perfectly. It’s as if I am now in control of my own science experiment, trying to get the best out of the coffee. It’s up to me to ensure someone can enjoy a great cup of coffee, sitting at home or catching up in a coffee shop. I am here now to please the palette of many great coffee drinkers, a big responsibility I don’t take lightly!
I was most surprised at all the crazy smells released throughout the process, the reaction of the coffee as time passed and its different temperatures. It starts with a grassy aroma and a yellowy colour change. As the coffee begins to tan, a hay-like smell arrives, and soon after that, a scent of bread- but blink, and you will miss both. Up next, we have something called the “first crack”. This occurs when the beans reach a temperature somewhere in the region of 200-203 degrees Celsius. It’s a noticeable sound, almost like popcorn kernels popping in the roaster. Wildly, this is happening to the coffee, as its core temperature has nowhere to go but out, causing it to burst and “crack” physically in each bean. Pretty cool, right?
Next comes the development phase, where the coffee gets much of its taste. I must pay special attention to this, as expert roaster instincts are needed to get the flavour notes we seek. This comes from adjusting the temperatures and time, also resulting in how light or dark a roast would be and what flavour profile we are looking for.
One challenge when roasting is that no two roasts are identical- the beans always keep me on my toes! The endpoint might be the same, but the moments of getting there can differ slightly due to multiple factors. You need to ensure the start temperature is correct and you reach certain temperatures in a specific time frame. Even the weather outside affects the roast in cooler months as the air pulled through the roaster is colder. Overall, my magic wand theory is proving to be more and more incorrect with the more I learn about the complex world of coffee roasting!
- Coffee is a seed from a cherry!
- The lighter the coffee roast, the higher the caffeine in it
- When “cupping” tasting coffee, the best-smelling ones do not necessarily mean the best-tasting coffee.
- Green coffee arrives in 60-69KG hessian bags.
- Coffee farmers have started fermenting coffee to create new flavours (check out our blog, which is all about anaerobic fermentation here!)
As you can see, a lot goes into roasting Coffee Beans, more than you might think! The experimenting aspect of this job is always exciting, with constant opportunities to create something awesome and delicious.
Sounds like something you fancy trying out yourself? Look at our courses, with a brand new one where you can roast your beans!
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