Sipping a cup of coffee is not just a daily routine. More than that, it is a lifestyle with an exceptional experience. There is a story behind a cup of coffee that defines its peculiar taste. It tells stories about the way it is grown, and the way it is processed. One of key factors that determines the taste of the drink is roasting. The process produces enjoyable taste and aroma. There are ways in roasting coffee. Surely each results different taste.
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The long, careful, tricky process has even been started before the roasting process. It all begins with raw coffee beans, which are red in color (cherry). These raw beans are processed into grain. After that, grain coffee beans are processed into green beans. Naturally, green beans contain significant amount of sugar, protein, fat, and caffeine. The next step is drying process, a process that will firstly change composition of substance the green beans contain. Inside these coffee beans, there is 7-11% of water. The drying phase is an important step in processing coffee before it can be served since beans cannot be roasted if they still contain high water inside. After this process, these beans normally have only 4% of water. This, beans are ready for roasting.
Basically, coffee roasting profiles will not only change the color of the beans but also change the substance composition. Some natural substances will reduce and be replaced by other substances. These substance replacements are the ones that will determine main character of a single cup of coffee. This roasting process soft, tender green beans which are probably do not have flavor into dry, crunchy beans which are rich in aroma and flavor. It is said that this phase is the key factor of a whole tangent to characterize the taste of coffee before it gets into your cup. Moreover, roasting also allows ‘customized’ flavor through variation in the process.
However, in order to get optimum result, it is important for us to recognize the natural character of the beans before we choose coffee roasting profile. First, make sure that the water content has dropped to 4%. Then, find out the characters of the bean so we can measure the desired taste from it. There shall be unpleasant odor from the nature we would like to dismiss. It can be smell from carbon, wood, or ground. Those will unpleasantly distract enjoyable flavor in the beans if we fail to handle them. Pay attention each minute to the beans after they get into roasting machine.
Notice every single change in color and aroma. It is about how you would like to enjoy your coffee. Also hear carefully to the ‘crack’ sound. Make sure that there are two crack sound in the roasting process. There are commonly three phases of roasting we know. They are light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. The bean which is generally used is Arabica.
This is the phase when coffee beans have been roasted in just couple of minutes. In this coffee roasting profile, the acidity is high but it is lack of aroma. The color of the bean is light brown and there is no oil around the surface. The heating process in this roasting level do not take a long time.
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However, the beans have gone through their first crack, approximately on 205 Celsius degree. Light roasted beans are suitable for those who like sharp coffee flavor since this level leaves citrusy, buttery, and earthy characteristics on the beans. If you fancy a cup of coffee from light roasted beans, make sure you do not have caffeine sensitivity since the short time of roasting makes the caffeine content high.
This is the most common used coffee roasting profile. At this level, coffee beans produce strong roasted aroma and sweet flavor. The color is darker and the sugar content has already been carbonated. Coffee beans which are roasted at this level have been through their first crack longer compared to light roasted beans but the second crack has not yet occurred. Medium roasted beans contains lower caffeine and they are richer in composition of aroma, acidity, and flavor.
www.javacoffeeiq.com stated that there is also medium-dark roast level. At this phase, beans have started or in the process of the second crack. Medium-dark roasted beans are darker and oily around the surface. Just like medium-roasted beans, these beans are rich in flavor and aroma. However, longer time of roasting makes the beans have a little spicy taste.
Meanwhile, dark-roasted coffee beans are dark brown in color, or almost black. Also, it produces more oil you can easily notice on the surface. The oil even appears after the beans are brewed. At this level, the original taste of coffee fades. You can clearly notice bitterness and peculiar burnt smell once you sip it. At dark roast level, beans are in their second crack, or more. The temperature is about 240 Celsius degree. Higher than that, coffee will have a hint of tar or charcoal flavor. These dark-roasted beans are suitable for those who prefer thick coffee.
There is probably no method is the most appropriate way. Every person has his/her taste or preference. However, if we review on these coffee roasting profiles based on chemical reaction, surely we are going to have more objective consideration rather than personal preference. Medium-roasted beans have the most balance of aroma, taste, sweetness, acidity, and after taste. We can notice original flavor of the coffee. Moreover, this profile allows glucose in coffee to be optimally produced. A little longer of heating process can make this glucose tastes bitter.
Dark roasting profile also burns acidity. Unfortunately, fruity flavor can also be dismissed along with acidity. That is why, it is advisedly not to use this profile to process beans unless there is peculiar, undesired character which cannot be dismissed in medium roasting profile.
There are actually other coffee roasting profiles than the previous three. They are internationally known as more specific roasting levels used by baristas all over the world. Some of them are French roast, Vienna roast, city roast, full city roast, New England roast, American roast and cinnamon roast. Cinnamon roast is basically categorized into light roasting profile. The beans produced is light in color and high in acidity. New England roast is also light roasting profile.
Meanwhile, city roast and American roast are among medium roasting profiles. The color of the beans is dark brown with more balanced composition of taste, flavor, acidity, and sweetness compared to light-roasted beans. Vienna roast and full city roast are categorized into medium-dark profiles. The coffee beans produced are thick and low in acidity. The surface is rather oily. These beans are roasted until the beginning of the second crack. French toast, Italian, and Spanish roast are categorized into dark roasting profile. The beans which are produced are black in color. The surface is heavily oily and burnt. The taste is bitter with a hint of charcoal flavor for Italian and Spanish roast. These dark-roasted beans have low acidity and no caffeine.