How to Roast Coffee Beans: 3 Options When Roasting Green Coffee Beans
As a coffee importer and roaster, we know that you’re already particular about the kinds of green coffee beans allow for your perfect roast. You likely have a favorite region, flavor notes that you always make sure to include, and you’re always looking for the next big thing. But of course, green coffee beans are only the foundation of creating the perfect blend. You also need to think about how you’re going to roast the beans once they arrive.
Whether you’re new to the exciting process of roasting coffee beans, or if you just want to learn a few new techniques when it comes to how to roast coffee beans, this post is right where you need to be.
Read on to discover our favorite coffee bean roasting options. We’ll also let you know how and where to access the highest quality green coffee beans.
Choose the Right Green Coffee Beans
Before you even think about starting the roasting process, you need to choose the right flavor. You have an abundance of options to choose from, and each option helps you create unique roasts, each with different tastes, textures, and smells.
First, decide what you want your roast to taste like. For example, if you’re looking for something especially fruity and sweet, try raw coffee beans from the Harrar region of Ethiopia. If you prefer beans with understated acidity which are nuttier in flavor, select beans from the Cerrado region of Brazil (also known as the savannas of Brazil). If you want a full-bodied coffee that includes hints of chocolate, buy raw beans from the Karnataka region of India. Or if you are roasting a blend, aim for flavors that complement one another, and evaluate each regional coffee’s greatest attributes in your pursuit. Notes of chocolate and citrus may be a bright pairing, but a tomato-y brightness would not be.
Ensure that you buy your beans from companies that make frequent farm visits, prioritize Fair Trade practices, and offer plenty of experience in the logistics of delivering coffee beans fresh.
Light Roast Coffees
Now, let’s talk about your options when it comes to learning how to roast coffee beans, beginning with a light roast.
Don’t fall into the common misconception that lighter roasts contain less caffeine than darker ones. In reality, most coffee roasts will contain roughly the same amount of caffeine regardless of roasting time. Instead, the term “light” refers to the overall roasting time — and it’s a shorter one. Lighter coffee roasts also usually have a lighter body, because the beans didn’t have enough roasting time to secrete oil or caramelize its sugars.
Light roasts will be light brown in color, and because of the shorter roasting time, they’ll also retain more of the green/natural flavors than darker roasts will. So, if you’re a fan of complex roasts — especially ones that are somewhat sweet, fruity, and smell a bit like flowers — you’ll likely enjoy a light roast.
Medium Roast Coffees
If you’re looking for the sweet spot between a light roast and a dark one, a medium roast offers you the best of both worlds. Here, you’ll experience a somewhat bittersweet aftertaste, but the oiliness isn’t quite as intense as it is in a dark roast. They’ll have a bit more body than light roast coffees but without the somewhat grainy taste of those lighter roasts.
Those who prefer more balanced flavors often gravitate towards medium roasts, as do those who like their roasts to have a strong aroma. In medium roasts, you’re especially likely to notice hints of caramel. The beans will be roasted until they crack once, but not until the second crack, as is the case with dark roasts.
Because medium roasts are especially popular in the United States, you’ll often hear medium-roasted beans referred to as “American coffee.” However, the beans aren’t usually grown in the United States, so don’t let the name fool you.
Dark Roast Coffees
Now, let’s talk about dark roast coffee beans, which are easily recognized by their deep brown, somewhat oily color.
Dark roasted coffees spend more time in the roaster than do light or medium roasts. Any natural flavors of the green coffee bean will remain much subtler. Instead, flavors of the roasting process will shine through. You can expect dark roast coffee beans to carry a bold flavor profile, as well as just a hint of bittersweetness. In some cases (depending on the natural coffee bean used in the roast) you may even be able to pick up a few notes of chocolate.
Coffee beans roasted this long secrete more oil, which gives the final product a buttery, smooth texture. The acidity of the bean is neutralized in dark roasted coffee beans, allowing for unique flavor profiles. Often forward with smokiness and earthiness, — dark roasted coffees are favored in rich coffee cultures such as France and Italy.
You’ve Mastered How to Roast Coffee Beans
As you’ve learned, there are a variety of techniques and roasting times when it comes to understanding how to roast coffee beans. Remember to experiment with lots of different green coffee beans until you create a roast that you’re completely satisfied with. Above all, it’s the quality of the raw coffee beans themselves that will truly influence how the roast will taste.
Are you interested in ordering the best green coffee beans from some of the most well-known growing regions in the world?
If so, we’d love for you to look at our current coffee offerings and learn more about the regions we work with. You can also try up to four samples so that you can understand exactly the kinds of beans you’re looking for.