Roasting is King for Good Coffee
This is a question that evaded me at first. Perhaps it sounds so silly to ask what roasting does to the coffee beans since the process literally explains everything. Roasting roasts the coffee beans. But after spending a good chunk of my time with some of my roaster friends, I’ve been rewarded with a lot of great insights into the process of roasting.
So much so that I might not be able to fit everything in one blog post.
In this post, I’ll include the simple and concise version and the scientific version of what roasting does to coffee.
The simple and concise version
Coffee beans or seeds in it’s raw state has natural sweetness and acidity. It doesn’t have the dark colour you are used to but this yellow-green to grass-green colour. When you roast coffee, bitterness is added and you get three taste profiles. This means that the roasted coffee revolves around three dimensions: sweetness, acidity and bitterness.
The scientific version
The beans contain chemical compounds which undergo many different reactions(including hydrolysis and dehydration synthesis ) during the roasting process. This develops the unique fragrance and the body of coffee you’re accustomed to. Depending on the variety of the beans, sometimes you can get an end-result of various different chemical compounds. This difference may be the taste, aroma or even the bitterness. These differences at the end of the roasting process is what makes coffee very interesting.
Depending on the region, season, altitude, processing method, and other variables of the harvested coffee, you will have hundreds or perhaps even thousands of different and unique coffee to choose from.
Not only that, the roasting degree can also change the taste of coffee but we’ll get to that in another post.
The Responsibility of Roasters
I’m not a roaster, and so I may not be able to truly understand the life of a roaster.
But it’s tough, as far as I’ve heard and seen.
And that’s true. Partly because you have to study and gain experience; you may have to go through many failed attempts to understand the ideal roasting points of a particular variety of coffee.
Getting accustomed with your roaster, as well as being able to consistently get the roast you want can be a very demanding task. Not only that, you really have to find the best roast point to truly bring out all the potential flavours of the coffee.
We, as consumers, should truly appreciate the work that roasters put day in and day out so that we can have our delicious everyday coffee.