Let me explain here in brief the process of roasting the coffee beans.
Once the "coffee cherries," or "berries" - the coffee fruits - are ripe and picked of the coffee trees, processed - to separate the inner seed (the coffee bean) from the peel and skin (by wet or dry processing methods), sorted, cleaned and dried, the coffee beans are ready to be roasted.
At this phase the coffee beans - known to use as brown beans - are actually green.
The roasting will transform the color, size and qualities of the coffee bean. It will force out the oils and develop the flavor of the coffee beans. The beans will turn brown, light or dark, depending on the roasting level.
Coffee beans can be roasted by a Drom roaster where they are roasted by a rotating drum, or by a Hot-Air roasting machine, roasting coffee beans by a current of hot air. The hot air roaster is known also as a Fluid-Bed roaster.
During the roasting process, the sugars of the beans caramelize and the flavors of the coffee beans develop.
The beans can be roasted to various levels of dark and light, which will have a substantial effect on the tastes and flavors of the coffee.
Darker roasted beans have less caffeine, as the caffeine that is contained in the oils of the beans, are forced out and burned by the roasting. The darker the roast the more oil is lost and the less caffeine is left in the coffee beans.
Conversely, a lighter roast will leave more caffeine in the coffee bean.
Because the roasting brings out the oils, the coffee beans of a darker roast will be more oily and they will also have a burned taste.
Dark roasted beans also have less acidity than light roasts.
When home coffee roasting, adjust the roasting level according to your desire. You may want to experience with different levels.
The level of the roasting will depend much on your own personal taste and preference.
Roasting levels are categorized as very light, light, medium (Full City), dark (known as French Roast) and very dark roasts (Italian Roast). Each roasting level affects the flavors, acidity and bitterness of the coffee beans differently.
The flavors and qualities of the coffee beans depend much on the Types of Coffee Beans used. However, the roasting will also very much impact the characteristics of the beans.
When you do your own home coffee roasting, keep in mind a general rule: the original flavors and aromas of the beans - based on the region where they were grown - will be retained more in lighter roasts. The darker you roast the less of the original flavor will remain. At dark roast there won't be really a major different in taste between beans of various origins. The beans will taste burned.
The light coffe roasting level is known as the "first crack" (or "pop"), as the beans crack and become larger in size. "Cinnamon Roast" and "Half City Roast" are among the light roasted types of coffee bean roasts.
"Full City" is a medium roast. In the US, mass-markets tend to use the light roast and specialty coffee sellers also prefer the medium roasted beans.
"Continental," "High" and "Viennese" are full-roasted. The full roast is also known as the "second crack," when the beans start to crack and pop again.
The beans become shiny as oil get to the surface. The beans now have a stronger flavor and aroma.
The "French Roast" is reached when the beans start to smoke.
Unlike ground coffee that lose their freshness in a matter of minutes, the roasted whole coffee beans have an optimal shelf-life of about 2 weeks, but eventually they become stale due to exposure to heat, oxygen and light.
To preserve the freshness and extend the shelf-life, the beans can be vacuum-packed.
However, because of carbon dioxide omission that occurs after roasting, they may be packed in pressurized canisters or foil-lined coffee bags with pressure-relief one-way valves to allow degasation - especially if they are packed soon after roasting.
Read more about coffee bean storage here - about storing coffee beans.
If the beans don't need to be packed immediately, you can let them vent for 12 to 24 hours to degass.
Because of the smoke produced by roasting coffee beans, make sure that the place is well ventilated, especially when you are roasting coffee beans at home.
Never leave your coffee roasting machine on unattended.
Check out also:
Coffee bean storage - for tip on storing coffee beans.
Home coffee roasting - for home roasting green coffee beans if you are roasting your own coffee beans at home.
Coffee roasting machine - for coffee roaster machines reviews.
Green coffee beans - for tip on buying unroasted green coffee beans.
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