There is nothing like waking up to the aroma of coffee brewed from freshly
ground coffee beans. That coffee will taste even more exceptional if
the beans are used within a few days after roasting.
In order to produce a savory cup of coffee, the coffee beans must first be
roasted. Skillful roasting is the key to great tasting coffee.
Beans may be roasted by a coffee roasting company and packaged for the
consumer, or the coffee aficionado may wish to roast his own beans.
The most flavorful coffee is produced from freshly roasted coffee
beans. As the green coffee beans roast, the sucrose in them
caramelizes, and they turn darker. A chemical reaction occurs from
the heat, and the coffee flavor and aroma are unlocked. During
roasting, coffee beans change color from green to brown, expanding to
almost double their original size. The length of roasting time
determines what darkness and flavor will be produced in the final brewed
Commercial coffee roasters begin by cleaning the coffee beans, which are
then moved to a roaster operating at temperatures between 370 and 540
degrees Fahrenheit. Depending on the desired roast darkness, the
beans are roasted anywhere from a few minutes to a half hour. They
are then cooled, screened, and stabilized. Some of the dried beans
are packaged whole while others are ground before packaging.
Home roasting, which was common until the commercial roasters gained
popularity during the 20th century, has become popular again.
A new generation of coffee connoisseurs can purchase computerized
drum roasters that simplify home roasting. The traditional method
is to use a frying pan, stirring the coffee beans over a heat source until
the desired roast color is reached. The beans must be kept moving
so they will roast evenly and not burn. Coffee beans have to be
roasted hot enough and long enough to avoid a bland or baked flavor.
However, they must be watched carefully after they reach "first crack," a
snapping noise from expansion, which happens when they reach about 400
degrees Fahrenheit. The oil develops at this point, and the beans
start to darken. When the desired darkness is reached, the beans
are removed from the heat source and cooled by either cold air or cold
water. Allow the beans to rest for about 24 hours after roasting,
so that the coffee can reach peak aroma and flavor. The following
chart shows the characteristics of the most popular coffee roasts.
|Roast Degree||Bean Color||Name of Roast||Flavor and Aroma||Acidity||Bean Surface
|Light||Light Brown||Cinnamon, Half City, New England||Light body, minimal aroma||High||Dry
|Medium Light||Medium Light Brown||American||Full body, full aroma||High||Dry
|Medium||Medium Brown||City, Breakfast||Full body, strong aroma||High||Dry
|Medium Dark||Rich Brown||Full City, Light French, Viennese||Very full body, strong aroma||Medium||Slightly Oily
|Dark||Brownish/Black||French, Espresso||Full body, medium aroma||Low||Very Oily, Shiny
|Very Dark||Nearly Black||Dark French, Italian, Spanish||Light body, mild aroma, burned, bitter taste||Very Low||Very Shiny
Roasted coffee beans are best when used within a month. Once ground,
coffee is best when brewed within 24 hours. Through the art of the
coffee roaster, green coffee beans have been transformed into the savory,
brewed beverage we all enjoy.
Coffee Roasters and Mail Order Coffee
- Starbucks Coffee Shop
Features high quality coffee, Italian style espresso,
pastries and other coffee-related products.
- Seattle's Best Coffee
One of the original coffee companies from Seattle offers
retail and wholesale services.
- Keurig Green Mountain
This Vermont-based coffee roaster strives to provide
high quality coffee with rich aroma and flavor. Green Mountain
features organic, fair trade and Signature coffee blends.
- Quartermaine Coffee Roasters
Founded in Rockville, Maryland by the original founders of
Starbucks Coffee, this quality coffee roaster strives to provide its
customers with fresh, flavorful, roast-dated coffee.
- Maui Coffee Company
This Hawaii-based firm offers Hawaiian coffees including Kona, Peaberry, and Maui
estate varieties as well as flavored coffees and blends.
This gourmet coffee roaster and tea blender features an
online coffee shop offering gourmet coffees and flavored coffees, as well
as coffee makers and exotic teas.
- Kona Premium
This Hawaiian-based company features green coffee beans,
custom roasts and grinds, and coffee brewing tips.
- Neighbors Coffee
Founded in Oklahoma in 1972, this firm offers a selection
of fine coffees, teas, and accessories as well as coffee roasting,
grinding, and brewing information.
- Allegro Coffee
Allegro features a unique array of organic and other
coffees that span the roasting spectrum from Full City to French
roast. Available at Whole Foods Market locations.
- Terroir Coffees
Terroir works directly with coffee growers to produce high
quality, single-source specialty coffees.
- Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea
This Illinois-based coffee company offers a selection of
fine coffee varieties, roasted daily in vintage German roasters.
- Coffee Fool
This Minnesota-based coffee roaster features pure and blended coffee
varieties, shipped quickly to their customers.
Coffee Buying Guides
- The Coffee Review
Coffee tasters and reviewers conduct blind, expert cuppings
of coffees and report their findings on this coffee buying guide website.
- Sweet Maria's
This California-based coffee company provides green coffee
beans and coffee roasting appliances to home coffee roasters.
Browse their extensive coffee cupping reviews, featuring coffees
from around the world.
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Coffee Roasters - Guide to Coffee Roasting