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Coffee beans are roasted to bring about the right balance between the acidity
and sweetness of the beans. In other words, the process of roasting the coffee
beans brings out their inner characteristics and flavour. The level to which a
coffee is roasted pretty much decides how the coffee will taste upon brewing.
For instance, coffee beans that undergo light roasting usually have a light
bodied and sweet tasting brew; whereas, a full bodied coffee with a chocolaty
flavour is dark roasted. Roasting coffee beans effects certain physical and
chemical changes in the beans. These changes include the loss of moisture,
caramelizing, change of color and expansion of the coffee beans. As the beans
start to lose moisture and expand, they make a popping sound, which is termed as
a “crack” in the coffee industry.There are three basic levels of roasting as far
as coffee beans are concerned. The Light Roast as mentioned before is used to
derive a milder coffee, often sweet tasting. Then comes the Medium Roast that is
the most commonly used roasting level for coffee beans. Here, roasted coffee
beans are done at the second crack. The next and last level of roasting coffee
beans is known as Dark Roasting where beans are roasted till they appear oily on
the surface; which happens well beyond the second crack. Such roasting generally
gives a very full bodied and strong brew. Apart from the levels of Roasting,
there are three main methods of coffee bean roasting. One is an art, the second
a science while the third is a combination of art and science. Art Roasting is
that technique of coffee roasting which has to be mastered through years and
years of practice. Here the roast master can tell if a coffee is roasted to
perfection simply by using his senses of sound, sight and smell. On the other
hand, Science Roasting is where the roast master decides if a coffee is ready
based on scientific data. Here the roast master looks at various data including
time and temperature in order to ensure that there is uniformity of color among
the different batches of roasted coffee beans. The third technique for roasting
coffee beans is a fusion of both art as well as science. It is generally used
for mass producing coffee beans. Once the coffee beans are roasted, another
process known as “cupping” is undertaken to ascertain the quality of the roasted
beans. Here the coffee is tasted in a similar manner to tasting tea. In this
process, roasted coffee bean samples are extracted and measured in different
cups. After that coffee beans from each cup are ground separately and then
steeped in boiling water. Upon doing this the coffee grounds rise to the top and
trap the aroma underneath. The cupper then removes the coffee grounds and smells
the aroma. Last, the coffee is tasted and graded on various characteristics such
as flavour, body, aroma, acidity and any defects in taste. This step concludes
the coffee bean roasting process, after which it is up to you, the coffee
consumer to decide which type of roasted coffee beans suit your palate the best.