Behind the Grind

Ever wonder exactly how coffee is roasted? We talked to our in-house roaster Steven about the whole process and how he came to work in the coffee roasting industry.

What drew you to working with coffee?

A cup of flat white that tasted literally like hazelnut hot chocolate.

How did you get into roasting?

I always wanted to, and was working in a company that did their own roasting so naturally progressed into it.

How do you define specialty coffee?

Objectively, specialty coffee means quality. Quality of the green bean(scored 83 point plus and carrying a unique flavor profile of that origin), roast, extraction and service.

Subjectively, there’s no specialty coffee. There’s only good tasting coffee and bad tasting coffee. Since that’s the only thing matters to me. Though it makes perfect sense that higher quality and properly treated coffees results a more delicious cup.

Can you give a brief overview of the roasting process?

It’s basically a cooking process, that turn something raw to cooked and release it’s flavors. Think popcorn and cacao.

Coffee roasting can be divided into three major stages. Drying, browning and development post first crack.

Drying stage is the removal of free flowing moistures and water content from the green bean.

The browning stage got its name from the bean turning from pale to yellow to brown. There’s an important chemical reaction that happens during this stage called Millard reaction, which contributes to flavor development. The bean will then crack open due to high pressure built within and release more moistures, as well as a much greater series of chemical reactions that the industry yet to fully understand. We call this first crack. The time between first crack and the end of the roast is called development time, where we “cook” the inside of the bean and determining the level of acidity and sweetness.

Why do people need to know about specialty coffee?

To explore more flavor profiles from coffee. In other words, they taste better!