Coffee: more complex than from bean to cup

As a fiendish coffee drinker, I was delighted to be invited to a friend’s artisan coffee roasting business. Part-science, part-art, coffee roasting is a tricky pastime. Different beans require more roasting than others and a lot of it is down to preference. A full French roast is when the beans are on the verge of being carbon for example. Here’s his rather lovely, pristine-looking roaster.

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Each bean contains water and so is roasted at 400F until the ‘first crack’, ie when the water initially evaporates off. While the coffee is fine to drink at this stage, the trick lies in roasting it to perfection before the ‘second crack’.

The beans also vary in density. Grow them at a higher altitude and they’re firmer, which means they’ll need more roasting.

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So there’s a lot of testing and adjusting. And all this before anyone even thinks of grinding them, popping them into a bean-to-cup coffee machine or creating the perfect crema.

Just something to think about over your morning cuppa…

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