Coffee, whether you make it in your favorite equipment at home or you buy it in your favorite coffee shop around the corner, is made from ripe coffee beans that are processed using one of the available coffee roasting methods before they are ground and brewed. Most coffee beans that you find on the shelves of shops come roasted, but you can also buy unroasted beans that you can prepare at home. While the type and the quality of the beans used for your dark beverage are essential, the roasting method will also determine the flavor and the color of the drink, so here are a few details about how coffee beans are roasted and what you can expect of different roasts.
A General Description of the Process
Coffee roasting is practically the process during which the sorted coffee beans undergo thermal treatment at temperatures ranging between 180 and 250 degrees to intensify their flavor. The beans are placed into a large and shallow container or into a drum that gets placed over a heat source and moved back and forth or rotated until the color of the beans reaches the desired darkness. Traditionally, the container or the drum were moved manually, but coffee roasting is largely automated today, so much so that you can easily find coffee roasting machines for home usage as well.
The Roast Profile
The duration of the roasting will determine the intensity of the flavor derived from the coffee beans during the brewing process. There are three major roast profiles:
- Light roasts – light-roasted beans are light-colored, their flavor is more delicate and their caffeine content is higher because the caffeine contained in the beans is not lost during the roasting;
- Medium roasts – these beans are darker in color and stronger in flavor than light roasts and their caffeine content is milder than in the case of light roasts;
- Dark roasts – the coffee made from these roasts is strong and bitter, which makes them the best choice for espresso.
Coffee Roasting Methods for Home Use
There are several ways to roast your own coffee beans at home:
- The simplest method is to take a frying pan or a wok, pour in some beans and place the pot on your stove. If you choose this method, be prepared that you will need to stir the beans continuously to avoid over-roasting and the process generates not only heat, but mess caused by the husk on the coffee beans and smoke as well, so crack your window open before you start;
- You can also use a popcorn popper to roast your beans;
- You can use a countertop roaster – these machines are nowadays available in most stores that sell household appliances and many of them come with menus where you can set the intensity or the duration of the roasting process.
Experimenting with various coffee roasting methods in your home is great fun – you can try out various roasting durations, various types of beans and you can keep experimenting until you find the perfect combination.