In the eternal quest for seeking the best of caffeine, coffee lovers know how important it is to find a good roaster. Many of them pick their favorite local roaster, and others go to the extent of learning how to roast at home to experiment this process on their own. Whichever the case is, the truth is that most of your daily cup of coffee's magic resides in coffee roasting. If done well, it not only brings out the flavors hidden behind every bean, but it also enhances its characteristics to bring only the very best of coffee’s origins and harvest into your brew.
To begin with, the process is highly complex. It can take years of experience, skills, and a strong attention to detail to understand the many subtleties and factors that can affect coffee beans when they’re being roasted. Therefore, it’s only logical that making good quality roasts is not as simple as it would seem to be. Here are 4 signs to help you identify what makes a good roast.
Rate of Rise
Most people won’t know that maths is heavily involved in the coffee roasting process. The rate of rise (RoR) is one of the most important elements in any good quality roast. It refers to the coffee beans temperature progression per unit of time.
A well-made roast should have a steadily decreasing RoR. If you taste an unpleasant baked flavor in your roast, this part probably wasn’t done correctly, and the temperature ended up stalling. If on the other hand, the roast had an increasing RoR, the final brew could probably lack sweetness.
Although sometimes overlooked, a factor known as airflow can affect your roast more than you could think. Regulating airflow can give roasters an opportunity to control heat transfer. In an ideal scenario, airflow should be increased as a roast is progressed to dispense off smoke produced in the later part of the roast. If roasters fail to dominate airflow, your brew could end up with flat, dull, and dry flavors.
As expected, temperature is one of the most important factors involved in coffee roasting. Depending on the beans characteristics, the temperature to which the roast is done will change and be adjusted accordingly. However, some general conceptions stand.
For example, a roaster should be preheated before any green beans are added. Then, the person supervising the roasting should have a way of changing the input temperature throughout the process, as well as having a method to cool beans quickly once the roasting is done. It’s especially important to pay attention to temperature during the drying phase and the first crack stage. If not, the coffee beans could end up tasting dull.
Every roasting process has several stages in which beans suffer transformations that will lead to the final product. Having said that, a large amount of energy upfront is ideal for coffee roasting. There are basically three stages: underdeveloped, developed, and overdeveloped. A good roast should never be under or overdeveloped. Adjustments in temperature should be made on time to guarantee that beans will be roasted to the right stage.
Here’s a little trick: if you want to know whether your coffee beans were well developed, you can place a tablespoonful of ground coffee on top of a glass of ice water. If the coffee leaches into the ice water within a few minutes, it means it was either under or over-roasted. If it doesn’t, not even after a half hour, then you’ve got yourself a good quality roast!
As you can see, roasting coffee is a practice way more complex than it seems. At Local Hero Coffee Works, we pay extreme attention to detail and have a full grip on the whole process to guarantee our customers an excellent product.
Try for yourself and let us know what you think .....