Understanding how cooking effects the coffee flavor

Roasting coffee is the technique, which releases the flavor and the aroma of the coffee bean. Moreover, while each company has its own method of roasting their beans, the overall method is the same. Roasting coffee goes beyond just applying heat to the bean. It is an art and science that take a great deal of skills to determine the right bean for the right brew for the right and expected coffee flavor.

The good people at coffee bean supplier Doppio Coffee will explain the process in detail.

Color for coffee flavor

Coffee beans are not naturally brown but rather green in their appearance. It is only after the bean is cooked that the coffee bean has the dark (or light) hue, which we generally associate with our brews. Depending on the time in which a bean is roasted will also determine the strength of the coffee once the bean is ground and brewed. The color for coffee flavor of the roasted bean also determines the caffeine levels. Our natural assumption is that the darker the brew the more caffeine and flavor the bean will have. This assumption is only half-true.

Coffee flavor effected by roasting degrees

The coffee flavor & aroma of coffee beans are affected by different levels of roasting.

Lighter coffee tends to have a less acidic flavor than the darker beans. However, it is the light coffees, which have the highest levels of caffeine. The reason of course being that the lighter beans have cooked less and therefore less caffeine has had the chance to be cooked out.

The Roasting Process

Most creditable roasters use a tumbler and heat method in roasting their beans. In this method, the whole bean is added to a tumbler (or roasting drum), which rotates the beans continuously. This ensures that no bean is left directly under the heat (and therefore is burned). While the bean is tumbling, it is also getting rid of the waste or the chaff. Generally, chaff is collected in a separate container or falls through a filter. Roasting of the beans requires that the beans be checked continuously. As such, digital readers as well as eye inspections of the beans are common when roasting the coffee.

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Smaller coffee shops may use the pan method, though this is rare. The pan method is typically used by large companies which package and sell their beans to retail markets. In this method, the beans are placed upon a flat surface pan of device and passed under extreme heat. This flash cooking method then requires that the beans are cooled which generate different coffee flavor. Typically, the manufactured roasts will have a manufactured flavor. The reason is that the amount of product needed to be bagged and sold does not allow for the time and attention that smaller companies which roast their own beans have to their beans.

Once the bean has reached the correct color, the beans are transferred to a cooling container where they are again tumbled at a constant speed.

What is the Roast Type and how does it contribute to the coffee flavor?

It is universally accepted that there are four main levels to roasting a bean. These four categories are:

  • Light Roast.
  • Medium Roast.
  • Medium-Dark Roast.
  • Dark Roast.

The lighter the roast, the less time that bean has had time to cook. This means that there will be fewer oils on the surface of the bean and that the coffee bean will retain much of the organics of the coffee flavor. As the bean’s roasting duration is increased, the bean becomes darker and richer in appearance. The oils from the bean are released to the surface of the bean and the coffee flavor becomes bitterer.

coffee roaster

The different roasting degrees will contribute different aromas and tastes of coffee.

Once a bean reaches the dark roast state, most of the organics of the bean have been cooked out and the flavor that remains is from the roasting process.  True, there is a coffee flavor, but the fruitiness is replaced with a bitter and acidic quality. It should be noted that the acidity levels in the coffee would rise, as the coffee gets darker. This is one of the reasons why a lighter coffee is easier to drink black than a dark roast coffee.

Consider the roast before grinding your coffee

Most people would agree that the coffee bean should be ground as close to the brewing time as possible. This makes coffee flavor very fresh. Yet, it is sometimes impossible for this to be the reality of the situation. If you have to have coffee, which has been pre-ground, look at the roast type. As lighter coffees have a higher amount of oils, grinding the coffee and letting it sit may result in a loss of flavor. Darker coffees will be less apt to see differences in the flavor of the coffee as there is less content (such as oils) within the bean.

Any bean, which is ground, will begin to lose its aroma and its robustness after a time. It is advised that you purchase whole beans and grind the beans as needed to increase the shelf life and the flavor of your coffee.