When Is Coffee Roasted? (In-depth Explanation)

coffee roast in grid

Coffee is undoubtedly one of the richest beverages that have been treated as a source of energy and productivity. A rich cup of fine coffee has its social aspect.

Since the early days of coffee, people had a fascination with the coffee culture, and with time new processes have been integrated to satisfy everyone’s taste.

The roasting of the coffee beans brings out the aroma and flavor from the green beans and gives the consumer the taste of the real quality.

A coffee connoisseur regards the roasting method as art and certain definite things need to be followed in the process.

Short answer: Coffee beans are roasted during the beginning or the middle of the first or second crack which can range from 180 degrees Celsius to 250 degrees Celsius depending on the roast you’re desiring. If you take the beans in your hand, it leaves a residue showing the texture of the coffee. This stage shows that your coffee is roasted well.

The following section answers a more detailed review regarding the topic so continue your reading!

How Does Coffee Get Roasted?

coffee beans in a tray and in a cup.

Generally, after collecting the beans, the raw ones are dropped into loaders and then into a rotating drum that is pre-heated.

The temperature may vary depending upon the roasting method you’re following. Usually, it’s set at around 240 degrees.

If you’re considering beans for espresso, the beans might take 12-15 minutes to get roasted. This process is a washed process. Washed process is the one in which the fruit pulp and skin are removed completely before going through the drying process.

The wafting smell of the roasting area generally provides a rough idea about the process undergoing with the coffee beans.

Espresso roast generally takes a long period to extract sweetness since it needs the boldness and intensity of espresso brewing. This is why these beans are roasted a little longer compared to the ones for filter coffee.

Look for the basics during the coffee roasting method.

As the beans get hotter, they start to expand and reach a yellowing effect. The beans reach a point when they can take no more energy and this is the key time when it starts to develop the sugars and oils.

The first crack stage is the period when the gas is turned down and the beans are monitored to the level of development.

To avoid any further roasting, the beans then go through the cooling process and are left for about 7-10 days before brewing. While the coffee is cooling, any defective beans are picked out which are known as quackers, pearls, and elephant ears.

The steps of the roasting method include:

  • Watching a Coffee Roast
  • Cooling the Beans
  • Spotting Defects

What Are the Different Types of Coffee Beans Roast?

four different types of coffee beans roasted

The four types of coffee roasts are:

  1. Light Roast
  2. Medium Roast
  3. Medium-Dark Roast
  4. Dark Roast

Among the roast varieties, the light roasts generally retain more recognizable flavors of the original beans. The more a bean is roasted, the more the heat pulls the nutrients and acidity out of it.

Among the beans, the medium roasts are the most balanced ones with acidity and texture in the middle. Then comes the medium-dark roasted one that has a relatively fuller and richer flavor.

Lastly, the dark roasts are richer in flavor and give a buttery finish. The caffeine and acidic content are lesser due to the long duration of roasting.

How Do You Know If Coffee Is Over Roasted?

If the coffee gives a bitter or burnt taste, assume that it’s over-roasted.

Many times you might blame your brewing or preparation method for that dark taste. However, it might be simply due to the roasting method that your beans have gone through.

Every roasting company has its won method of roasting and choose their method depending on their ideal profile. The characteristics of beans differ depending on the origin region and micro-region to a great extent.

Perfect roasting brings out the best inherent sweetness and flavors from the beans. When the beans get over-roasted, it loses its natural flavor within a few weeks and feels dull later on.

The extra bitterness of the coffee overpowers the natural aroma and can also cause your tongue to feel dry.

What Is the Strongest Roast For Coffee?

First of all, let me clear to you that darker roast doesn’t mean stronger coffee as many of you might assume.

It’s the light roast coffee that is stronger on all counts. Beans that are lightly roasted to more on the lighter side contain more of the natural aroma and texture. Those retain the original flavors better and often contain a variety of nutrients.

The factors such as the type of beans, geographical origin, climate, etc also act as individual factors.

Coffee beans lose 90% of the water content while being roasted. The lighter roast contains more minerals and nutrients compared to the darker roast. The bean is denser and contains more caffeine as well.

Remember, the strength of the coffee is created through the brewing process, not the roasting process. If your coffee is dark, it will surely be strong and bold but it will lose most of its nutrients. Moreover, strong coffee is made depending on the brewing ratios.

So, coffee strength is mainly based on the brewing preparation inside your cup and not on the roasting style. It’s the lighter roasted beans that carry more strength due to their better flavor and caffeine content.

The more the beans get roasted, the more will be the burnt texture. As we roast the beans more, it loses the actual flavors and doesn’t become any stronger.

What’s The Ideal Temperature to Roast Coffee?

The ideal temperature to roast the coffee bans is between 180 to 250 degrees Celcius (356 and 482 degrees Fahrenheit) or between 188 to 282 degrees Celsius (370 and 540 Fahrenheit)

Temperature below this range or above this won’t give you the desired texture of the beans. When you roast it at this temperature, make sure that the beans are in constant motion so that none of them get too scorched or remain raw.

Another temperature that needs to be taken care of is the charge temperature which is the temperature of the drum you’re adding the coffee beans into. This temperature is relatively not fixed like the ideal temperature.

The exact temperature will depend on the size of the drum, the location of the temperature problems ad the local climate.

Temperature is an important factor in roasting coffee since it determines the flavor development and stretching the roast too long at high temperature gives an uneven texture.

What Happens With Coffee During Roasting?

Roasting of coffee beans.
The roasting method of coffee involves both physical and chemical changes.

Roasting coffee makes changes in the bean’s color, mass, moisture, volume & porosity, and oil content.

The increase in temperature inside the roasting drum creates a high level of pressure inside the beans. The cell wall of coffee beans is one of the strongest ones in the plant kingdom. As you increase the roasting temperature, the structure of the rigid walls turns rubbery. This physical change in the coffee beans is due to the presence of polysaccharides.

The physical and chemical changes can also be classified into three different stages namely drying, browning and development.

The first changing phase is drying where the water content inside the beans begins to vaporize and pressure starts to increase inside the beans.

The second phase is the browning or the Maillard reaction phase in which some volatile gases are formed. The cell walls of the beans are broken and this is the phase when the first crack happens. The melanoidin components of coffee are developed during this stage.

During the development stage, the endothermic reaction turns into an exothermic one and the beans increase in porosity.

What Are the Differences Between Light, Medium, Medium Dark, and Dark Roast Coffee?

The roasting process toasts the beans and makes changes in their physical and chemical properties.

The following table will show the differences between the different coffee roasts discussed above:

Basis of ComparisonLightMediumMedium DarkDark
Color of the bodyLight brown colorBrown with a little thicker body than light roastMedium-dark and fullDark brown or close to black
Roasting temperatureRoasted at around 350 to 410 Fahrenheit and barely reach what you call the first crackRoasted a temperature between 410 to 440 degrees Fahrenheit i.e. usually just before the second crackRoasted at 437 to 446 degrees Fahrenheit which is during or just after the second crack.Roasted between 464 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit
Caffeine quantityHighest caffeine quantityMedium caffeine contentRelatively lower caffeine quantityLeast caffeine quantity
Acid levelHighest acidic content with a citrus lemon toneMedium acidityLess acidityLeast acidity
Other namesCinnamon. Light City, Half cityRegular roast, American roast, City RoastViennese, Continental, Full City, Light French, Light EspressoFrench, Espresso, Italian, Dark French, Heavy, Turkish
A quick comparison between different roasts of coffee

Can You Roast Coffee At Home?

You can always roast your coffee beans at home. It’s one of the wisest ways to roast your beans since it may allow you to control the caffeine content and acidity. I wrote an article that may help you with roasting coffee at home, check it out!

The process is quite simple so choose a basic method to drink a better quality coffee.

  • Choose a roaster
  • Choose good quality green coffee
  • Choose a roast process

At first, you need to source the beans you want in your cup. You can simply experiment with different varieties until you’re confident about one type. Once you find your desired beans, store them at a dry cool place and room temperature,

You can choose over and skillet-roasting method as it might be convenient for you if you’re an expert. If you’re a noob like me go for a popcorn machine.

It’s important to control the airflow so pay attention to the machine you’re using. You can have a home coffee roaster once you get your hands on the proper control of the process.

Use a well-ventilated roasting space and use silicon gloves for handling hot materials.

If you’re using a popcorn machine or air roasters, it may take 8-12 minutes to get properly roasted. Since the coffee beans continue to get roasted as long as they are warm, so act quickly when you get the desired roast.

Cooling and storage are a very important part of the roasting method. It’s best to store the beans in a sealed, foil-lined bag.

Is Home Roasting Cheaper?

Yes, roasting coffee at home is about 50-70 % cheaper.

This is because the green beans or the raw coffee beans are cheaper and will cost less per unit weight than the roasted ones available in the market.

However, home roasting isn’t a matter of saving money. It’s more about making the coffee quality better and maintaining the texture of the beans as per your preference.

Also, you can take care of the beans more accurately and precisely since you have already handled the whole roasting process.

How Do You Flavor Coffee Beans While Roasting?

coffee beans in a cup.

You can flavor the coffee beans by introducing new flavors after they are roasted and preferably when the beans are still warm.

Look for the following steps for flavored coffee beans:

  1. First of all, you need to select a blend of beans and a concentrated syrup to infuse it into the beans.
  2. Add warm roasted beans into a mixer and add 3% of the weight of the beans to syrup. Don’t think that the more the flavor, the more will be the taste.
  3. Allow the beans and the syrup to spin well.
  4. The above step may require 15 minutes. When the coffee beans have absorbed the syrup, the aroma will automatically be infused into the beans.

It’s a simple process and tastes amazing. If you have never tried flavored coffee beans, it’s your time to have a change in your cup of joe.

Conclusion

Coffee roasting is an important part to have the best experience from your daily cup of joe. Coffee is a magical portion of your energy fix and is responsible for many cognitive functions of your body.

All the health benefits of coffee have become more prominent with the addition of its rich and distinctive flavors.

The roasting method is a very important processing step for coffee beans since it actually makes the beans eatable for the consumers.

There is a varying method for roasting but the ideal temperature is somewhat between the one mentioned earlier. This range gives you a distinctive color and taste. If you’re roasting on your own, take proper control of the temperature and airflow to maintain the quality of the roasted beans.

The knowledge of coffee roasting is important since it’s a powerful tool to maintain the overall quality.

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Matt Marshall

As I learn more and more about coffee and coffee products I want to share all my learnings with you here on this website. I hope you find my articles useful and entertaining to read.

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