The Roasting Basics

There are many elements that affect the end result of a specialty coffee cup—the origin, the brew, method, how fresh it is, etc.—but the roast creates the flavor foundation. Roast levels range from light to extra dark, which is contingent on the level of heat the whole beans absorb in the process. The more heat, the darker the roast. Consider light, medium and dark roasts as basic roast level terms, but keep in mind each batch of coffee is nuanced so be wary of overgeneralization.

Before whole green coffee beans are roasted they are soft and have a grassy smell. In their natural state, whole coffee beans have very little flavor. The roasting process is what transforms the green beans into the brown aromatic beans we know and love. Remember that two distinct beans with different origins that are roasted at the same temperature will still have separate, distinct flavors.

Color is a good indicator of the level of roast but is not fool proof due to the wide variety of coffee beans that exist. For an accurate roast classification, consider both color of the beans and the roasting temperature.

The Science: 
Before whole coffee beans are roasted they are dried and fermented. Despite drying, water still exists in the bean. Once the green beans are put into the roaster and start to warm, the water inside the bean turns to gas. The beans expand as the gas is trying to escape. Once the gas pushes out of the bean, it will create a cracking sound, or “first crack,” almost like popcorn. The heating begins to caramelize the natural sugars of the bean. The heating process also reduces acidity so the lighter the roast the more acidic the coffee.

Along with being a product of direct trade, all BLACK FUEL TRADING CO. specialty coffee blends are a mix of origins and roast levels, resulting in a smooth and balanced cup. You can order all BLACK FUEL TRADING CO. direct trade coffee blends by visiting our website.