In the last few posts we talked quite a bit about Dark Corner, so let’s move on from flying saucers to the art of coffee roasting and we believe it is an art! The coffee bean is a very unassuming little well, seed. It is not an actual bean because in scientific terms a bean is a member of the Fabaceae or Leguminosae family. So all beans are seeds, but not all seeds are beans. Clear as mud, right? So the coffee bean is actually the seed or pit of the coffee plant. Such a little object brings so much pleasure to millions across the world and has done so for centuries!
The Arabica coffee bean is generally used for artisan type coffees and the only bean used by Dark Corner Coffee Co. Well for now anyway! Arabica beans are grown throughout the world, in temperate climates between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit and at different altitudes. Altitude is a big factor in taste of coffees and the subject of future post.
If altitude and type of bean influence flavor, what does roasting do to the little bean loved ‘round the world? Truthfully, roasting can either enhance the flavor or destroy it. I am sure we have all had a cup of coffee at some point that tasted bitter and burnt…..pretty awful! Blame it on the roasting process!
Roasters generally use the terms such as City, Full City, Dark, Espresso and French to describe the roasts which are dictated by time, temperature and crack. OK, not that kind of crack! In order of roast types we have:
- City (light) is sometimes called an American
- Full City (medium)
- Espresso (dark)
- French Roast is the darkest of all palatable roasts
Roasting time is of course shortest for lighter roasts and longer for darker roasts. Now about the crack. Coffee beans crack or “pop” during the roasting process as the internal temperature rises. The “first crack” starts at bean core temperatures around 400 degrees Fahrenheit and makes a sound similar to popcorn popping. The sound diminishes and may stop momentarily, before the start of “second crack.” The “second crack” begins at bean core temperatures around 440 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. A Dark French roast would be achieved at the peak of “second crack.” There is a fine line between the peak and the completion of the “second crack!” If the beans complete the “second crack” the coffee will be burnt and taste like truck stop coffee! (Yes, I know, I know not all truck stop coffee is bad!)
Sounds pretty simple right? Well yes and no……it’s really all about the bean! There is more to the process but these are the basic fundamentals or ABCs of roasting. That’s all for today and next time who knows where the wind will blow us for blog topics. Be sure to come back and check it out!