Roasting coffee beans is both a science and an art, so the quality of the coffee beans you buy is enhanced or diminished by the way the coffee beans are roasted. At the Daily Grind, we've been roasting coffee beans on the premises of our Albany, NY, cafe since 1976, and we know how to bring out the full flavor, aroma, and quality of the coffee beans we sell. Not only do we take great pride in the coffee bean roasting process, but we also strive to provide you with the best customer service and home coffee delivery of any coffee roaster or retailer online. Our coffee is roasted fresh daily and it's shipped to you promptly to ensure the best possible quality and freshness. Our extensive knowledge of coffee bean roasting and our commitment to providing you with outstanding service are among the many reasons The Daily Grind is the best place to buy coffee online.
The cultivation, harvesting, and roasting of the coffee beans you enjoy every day is an amazing process that we never take for granted. Once the coffee beans get to us, we make it our business to properly store, roast, and ship coffee beans to you to ensure the best freshness and taste. Experience the superior quality of our fresh roasted coffee beans by ordering some today from our online coffee store.
Read on about how coffee gets from the berry to your cup!
Growing Coffee Beans
Coffee berries and their seeds undergo several processes before they become the familiar roasted coffee. Berries have been traditionally selectively picked by hand; a labor intensive method, it involves the selection of only the berries at the peak of ripeness. More commonly, crops are strip picked, where all berries are harvested simultaneously regardless of ripeness by person or machine. After picking, green coffee is processed by one of two methods—the dry process method, simpler and less labor intensive as the berries can be strip picked, and the wet process method, which incorporates fermentation into the process and yields a mild coffee.
Then they are sorted by ripeness and color and most often the flesh of the berry is removed, usually by machine, and the seeds—usually called beans—are fermented to remove the slimy layer of mucilage still present on the bean. When the fermentation is finished, the beans are washed with large quantities of fresh water to remove the fermentation residue, which generates massive amounts of coffee wastewater. Finally, the seeds are dried.
Coffee Bean Roasting
The next step in the process is the roasting of the green coffee. Coffee is usually sold in a roasted state, and with rare exceptions all coffee is roasted before it is consumed. It can be sold roasted by the supplier, or it can be home roasted. The coffee bean roasting process influences the taste of the beverage by changing the coffee bean both physically and chemically. The bean decreases in weight as moisture is lost and increases in volume, causing it to become less dense. The density of the coffee bean also influences the strength of the coffee and requirements for packaging.
The actual coffee bean roasting begins when the temperature inside the bean reaches approximately 200 °C (392 °F), though different varieties of beans differ in moisture and density and therefore roast at different rates. During coffee bean roasting, caramelization occurs as intense heat breaks down starches in the bean, changing them to simple sugars that begin to brown, changing the color of the coffee bean.
Sucrose is rapidly lost during the coffee bean roasting process and may disappear entirely in darker roasts. During roasting, aromatic oils and acids weaken, changing the flavor; at 205 °C (401 °F), other oils start to develop. One of these oils is caffeol, created at about 200 °C (392 °F), which is largely responsible for coffee's aroma and flavor.
Grading the Roasted Coffee Beans
Depending on the color of the roasted coffee beans as perceived by the human eye, they will be labeled as light, medium light, medium, medium dark, dark, or very dark. A more accurate method of discerning the degree of roast involves measuring the reflected light from roasted coffee beans beans illuminated with a light source in the near infrared spectrum. This elaborate light meter uses a process known as spectroscopy to return a number that consistently indicates the roasted coffee's relative degree of roast or flavor development.
The degree of roast has an effect upon coffee flavor and body. Darker roasts are generally bolder because they have less fiber content and a more sugary flavor. Lighter roasts have a more complex and therefore perceived stronger flavor from aromatic oils and acids otherwise destroyed by longer roasting times. A small amount of chaff is produced during coffee bean roasting from the skin left on the bean after processing. Chaff is usually removed from the beans by air movement, though a small amount is added to dark roast coffees to soak up oils on the beans.