To know the characteristics of coffee, it is enough to read the information on the package. But how to understand it? If everything is clear with the varieties in the composition, the degree of roasting of coffee beans is difficult for many people. Sometimes they are deciphered, but sometimes they are just indicated in numbers. And terms like “Viennese” and “French” are able to confuse the average buyer. So, a little “literacy” for inexperienced coffee drinkers.
The Role of Roasting
Duration and method of roasting influence the properties of coffee as much as roasting means for steak or fermentation means for a good wine. This factor determines:
- Strength. Mostly how strong the coffee will be is determined by the grind and recipe. But the degree of roasting also has its effect. The longer and more intense it is, the stronger and fuller the drink will be.
- Taste. Light and medium roasted beans have a characteristic sourness when brewed. With every stage of temperature exposure, the coffee becomes less sour, gaining a bitter taste.
- Smell. The degree of coffee roasting influences its aroma as well. Its aroma unfolds gradually. This is why a real, saturated flavor is more noticeable in the medium and dark kinds.
- Caffeine content. The opinion that strongly roasted coffee has more caffeine in its composition is erroneous. On the contrary!
When roasted more, the beans lose about 0.05% of their caffeine. Extratempered coffee therefore has the least amount of this alkaloid.
Another important factor determining the quality of the drink. You can make a really tasty natural coffee only from freshly roasted beans. When buying the product, you should look at the packaging period. The best period for consumption is two weeks from the day of roasting, maximum – a month. Then the berries begin to slowly lose their pleasant features. A product with a shelf life of several months is not recommended to buy categorically!
- Read more: Expiration date of roasted coffee beans in a package
Learn more about roasting grades
You can find a number between 1 and 5 on the package. It indicates how much the beans are roasted, in ascending order. Each number corresponds to a color which the berry acquires as a result of this treatment. The gradation is as follows:
- Very light.
- Very dark.
Here, 1 is a light, elegant drink; 3 is a classic; 5 is a “matey” cup for the lover.
There are also professional names for the types of coffee beans roasted. Let’s take a look at some of the everyday barista“words” used for raw bean processing.
Cinnamon or New England
It is also called light or pale. The grain is roasted “to the first click”. This is the moment when the beans have not yet started to “shoot”. The coffee acquires a pale brown hue and a matte texture.
This is where the sour taste will be very noticeable. But the spicy herbal tones and lack of sweetness make the drink exquisite. This is usually an expensive coffee that should be brewed in a turkey.
- Don’t miss: How to choose coffee beans for a carafe
The berries are held until the first “shoot,” at the very beginning of swelling. Once the first bean has clicked, the product is removed. The coffee does not yet have time to cook evenly, so the fruit will have different shades.
As for the drink, the acidity disappears slightly and a distant sweetness appears. The smell also becomes a bit sweet. “American” is good for the turkey, French press and drip method.
Aka medium roast, the most popular. The coffee has already taken on its traditional brown color and familiar flavor. At this stage, the fruits begin to release essential oils, the beans become slightly shiny.
The urban method is universal. From such a product turns out an excellent coffee in a turkey, worthy of espresso. The drink has a perfect balance of sourness and caramel sweetness.
Another distinctive feature is the “full-city” roast, when the beans are slightly overcooked after the “city” roast. This gives the coffee a buttery sheen and a chocolate touch to the taste. This is a great option for espresso in the coffee machine.
With this method, unroasted coffee beans are placed on the surface and held until bright, rich brown. The fruit should begin to smoke, become coated in an oily layer, and make a distinctive clicking sound.
In the finished treat is almost no longer noticeable sour taste, caramel notes are revealed, added bitterness. The Viennese bean is used to make espresso and Turkish coffee.
This is the middle stage of dark roasting. After the second shoots, the process is stopped. The beans are already well swollen and have a distinct gloss. Among baristas, French roasting is the most popular for making espresso. The liquid in the cup is already a natural, dark brown color. The drink becomes pronounced, juicy, as connoisseurs love it.
“Italian” is characterized by an almost black color and brittle berry structure. Coffee from such a product turns out bitter, thick and strong, for the connoisseur. In addition, not all varieties “survive” such a harsh treatment. Weak beans from such a temperature simply turn into ashes. Usually blends are used for the Italian method in order to make the taste multifaceted and not unambiguously bitter.
Often, low-quality grains are hidden under extra roasting. You should always pay attention to the varieties and brand used!
There are plenty more intermediate and analogue methods. But, as promised, this is a brief excursus.
Roasting Coffee Yourself
Now some tips on how to best roast coffee beans at home.
Step 1. Heat a frying pan over medium heat for 20 seconds, place 200 g of raw fruit in it. Ideally it should be a cast aluminum or cast iron frying pan, not nonstick! Why only 200 grams? So that you don’t spoil more if you experiment. When choosing a frying pan, you have to take into account that the coffee will swell and grow in volume.
Immediately upon pouring the beans, you need to start stirring with a wooden spatula, without stopping, until ready. And another thing, the crock must be absolutely clean. You can roast the beans using one of the methods above. The time varies from 8 to 15 minutes.
Step 2. Continuously stir the berries, so that the readiness is even, without burning. After about 5 to 8 minutes, the coffee begins to make the first crackling sound. When to remove depends on preference. A classic: if the first crackle comes after 7 minutes, after 2 minutes the pan can be removed from the fire.
Step 3: Drop the beans into a cold baking pan to cool. There will be no time to find, prepare the tray in advance!
Step 4. Cool the berries to room temperature as soon as possible. Even without a fire and on a cold surface, the coffee continues to roast. It must be stirred.
Step 5: It is better to pack the result of labor in a paper bag, letting the air out.
About the timing of consumption, everyone must remember. Try and find your favorite critical points in the heat treatment of these magical fruits!