Coffee Roasting Equipment
Brewing your own coffee at home is a great way to make yourself a nice cup of Joe just the way you like it. But if you really want the best coffee possible, you should buy a coffee roaster. Home coffee roasting equipment has been growing in popularity for a few years now, and home roasting is easy, fun and inexpensive. It also allows for maximum freshness, which means brilliant intensity of flavor and aroma!
Roasting is a matter of time and temperature. The degree to which the beans are roasted has a strong effect on the taste of the coffee. The roasting process unlocks the aroma, flavor and texture of the raw coffee beans.
There are quite a few other factors which also affect the taste of the coffee. Two influential factors are the bean’s country of origin and the environment in which the bean was grown. Lesser factors which can also have an effect are the age of the bean, the processing method, the grinding method and the brewing method.
This is a bit more complicated than it initially sounds. First, coffee beans are put into the roaster. Unroasted coffee beans are green and soft with a grassy smell. Not that you’d particularly want to, but if you ate an unroasted bean you’d find they have very little taste whatsoever.
As coffee beans are roasted, they absorb heat. When they absorb heat, their color darkens and oils appear on their surface. But coffee beans vary, even within the same batch. This means color alone isn’t an accurate measure of judging a roast. However, color becomes very accurate when combined with the typical roasting temperature which yields certain shades of brown.
There are the four general shades of roast:
Light Roasts common names include New England Roast, Light City, Half City and Cinnamon Roast. Whatever you call them, light roasts are light brown. They have no oil on the surface of the bean. Taste-wise, light roasts are high in toasted grain and have a pronounced acidity. The origin flavors of the bean (these are the flavors related to where and how the bean was grown) are retained. This roast has the highest level of caffeine. Light roasting typically occurs when the beans reach an internal temperature between 365° and 401°. At around 365° the beans will pop, crack and shift in size. This is the “first crack.”
Medium Roasts happen between 410° and 428°. This is right at the end of the first crack but just before the start of the second. These roasts are a bit darker than the light roasts but still have no oil on the bean. You might have heard of these roasts described as Regular Roasts, American Roasts, City Roast or Breakfast Roast. They still have a fair amount of caffeine. This roast has more flavor, aroma and acidity than the light roasts, but with less grain.
Medium Dark Roasts are where the beans are roasted to the middle of the second crack. This is between 437° and 446°. There will be some oil on the surface of the beans now. The color will be heavy. Some common names here include Full City Roast, After Dinner Roast and Vienna Roast.
Dark Roasts are as dark as chocolate and sometimes even black. The coffee will have a bitter and smoky taste. The coffee also won’t contain much caffeine. The beans will have a sheen of oil, and this oil might even be visible in the brew. Dark beans are roasted to an internal temp of 464° and beyond. Note that anything beyond 482° will end up with charcoal, tar flavored coffee. These roasts have lot of names. They’re known as French Roasts, Italian Roasts, Espresso Roasts, Continental Roasts, New Orleans Roasts, Spanish Roasts and more. These dark roasts are often used in espresso blends.
Still confused? Click the link to see what I think is the best coffee roasting equipment! I review the following four coffee roasters: