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The 5 Stages of Coffee Roasting

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The 5 Stages of Coffee Roasting
The 5 Stages of Coffee Roasting

Know the most important stages of coffee roasting and discover why coffee tastes so different from roaster to roaster. The speed at which coffee beans pass through each stage is called the roasting profile. Roasters try to maintain coffee consistency by ensuring that the roasting profile is the same for each bean each time. There are only two variables related to coffee roasting temperature and time. By carefully changing these two critical factors, you can emphasise the different qualities of coffee beans that each roaster wants to emphasise. So what are the primary stages that the coffee bean goes through during the coffee roasting process? Here they are:

Stage 1 – Drying

Raw coffee beans initially contain about 10-12 percent water. Coffee roasters are usually preheated when the green beans are first loaded, and nothing seems to happen for the first few minutes. At this stage, the beans become hot, and the water contained in the beans begins to evaporate. This first part requires a lot of energy. If you wish to buy coffee beans online, I highly recommend our online shop.

Stage 2 – Browning

As a result, the beans are drying and beginning to turn brown. In some cases, coffee beans turn a reasonably bright yellow before turning brown. The aroma at this stage is similar to rice. The browning reaction inside the coffee beans causes the coffee beans to swell and peel off the thin paper-like skin (rice husks). This rice husk is a fire hazard, so hot air is constantly blown onto the roaster beans to a particular rice husk collector attached to the roaster’s outlet. Smoke begins at this stage (although most smoke can still be steam).

Stage 3 – First Crack

When the so-called first crack stage is reached, gas and water vapour accumulate inside the coffee beans, and when the pressure is finally released, an audible cracking sound begins. The sound is a bit quiet but very similar to the sound of popcorn. At this stage, the coffee beans are roasted enough to brew coffee.

However, it is up to the roaster to decide where to stop burning. It may take some time. Lightly roasted coffee usually contains at or shortly after the first cracking stage. Usually, you get the authentic taste of the beans at this point. It’s generally true that the acidity is very high, and you can get a lot of sourness, especially when making espresso.

Stage 4 – Roast Development

This is where the delicate art of coffee roasting comes into play, much of which comes down to the opinions of roasters. The final taste is primarily determined by the time the coffee beans are exposed to heat after the first cracking phase. The longer the time, the less sour and sweet the sugar and acid caramelised. Consider the sweetness of sugar syrup compared to caramel and molasses (syrup). The more heat you add to the sugar, the less sweet it is. The same applies to the inside of coffee beans. The coffee beans will turn brown, and the surface will be smooth. Various terms describe the degree of roasting at this stage. From “cinnamon” to “city” to “full city,” it’s essentially an intermediate roasting stage, turning coffee into a great one.

Stage 5 – Second Crack

At the end of the development stage, the beans crack again. This time it’s a quieter, more crackly sound and signifies that the structure of the bean is beginning to break down. They become darker, oils appear on the surface, and they look a lot shinier. Beyond the second crack is the French or Italian roast stage, and, essentially, the original and unique flavour of the coffee has been lost. The bitterness is high because the coffee has nearly been burnt.

Suppose you want to explore the different flavours of each origin, then these dark roasts are not for you. The uniqueness has gone, and coffee from Brazil will taste very similar to Ethiopia’s.

Stage 6 – Coffee Drinking

Sorry, did I say five stages? Of course, this is the bonus stage!

Visit the coffee bean shop, called TheHotSip, if you’d like to try out some of our lovely freshly roasted coffee beans. It is one of the best in the business.