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Coffee roasting

Coffee roasting

The Perfect Coffee: The Roasting Processes


Unthinkable quantities of coffee are consumed all over the world. Not only the cultivation of the coffee plants but also the transport and the roasting have changed over time. Until today, the roasting of coffee has developed into a real craft and could even be considered an art for itself.


When at first coffee was roasted in little clay pots over a little wood fire, today there is two major methods of roasting coffee, the drum roasting method and the hot air method.


The Tradional Way: Drum Roasting


The so-called drum roasting is still used in most of the smaller and more traditional roasting companies. Drum roasters are available in lots of different shaped and sizes, by now even in versions small enough for your garage. The raw coffee is poured into a circular, roaring drum. The drum is heated externally, either electrically of by burning fossile fuels like wood or oil. The rotating drum is transmitting its heat into the coffee through direkt surface contact with the beans.


This gentle method develops the coffees aromas particularly well because the longer roasting duration of 15 to 20 minutes at 180 to 230 °C reduces acidity and makes the coffee more digestible. During the process, the roast master regularly takes samples through a small opening and checks the degree of roasting until the perfect stage is reached.


Not just a good eye but also a lot of experience and training is required for the roast master to determine the perfect moment to interrupt the roasting and create a well roasted and consistent batch.


Because the coffee beans contain a lot of heat after the roasting process, the beans need to be cooled off immediately so that the internal heat doesn’t advance the roasting any further. Therefor the coffee is poured from the drum directly on a large, flat sieve. Cold air is blown through the sieve, cooling the beans down while an agitator stirs them.


Industrial Hot Air Roasting


Because a lot of coffee varieties are incredibly popular today, roasting companies had to find faster, more efficient ways of roasting their coffee in big amounts. By industrially roasting coffee with hot air, the companies can save a lot of time and money.


Normally, hot air roasters are designed as continuous systems. They consist of a large, perforated drum with a spiral conveyor, just like an auger, on the inside. At up 700 °C, the coffee beans are only roasted one to five minutes before they are cooled down again with cold water. Even though this method allows for continuous roasting of incredible quantities of coffee, the quality can sometimes suffer considerably. Because of the short duration of heat exposure, there is less time for the chlorogenic acids to transform and reduce. Also, the cooling water is soaked up by the beans, falsifying the coffees weight and aroma. Therefor, really good coffee is still roasted the traditional way.


Here, at Espresso International, we really value the quality of all our products. All our coffees are gently roasted with the traditional drum roasting method.

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