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The SanFranRoaster Blog......

The Stages of a Coffee Roast: What You Need to Know

Posted by Otto Nicli

Wed, Jul, 13, 2022 @ 07:07 AM


With specialty coffee roasting becoming more accessible than ever before, you may be curious about what goes into the process. Perhaps you own a small cafe and you’d like to offer your own roasts; maybe you’ve been dreaming of selling coffee at your local farmers’ market. No matter where you find yourself, the San Franciscan Roaster Company is here to help.

Coffee roasting is an art form, and it can be broken down into different stages. Master coffee roasters gain that distinction after spending countless hours roasting batches of coffee. But everyone started in the same place as you, as a beginner. 

In this blog, we will touch on the basics of the stages of coffee roasting. If you’d like to learn more, reach out to our team!

Before We Begin, A Quick Word About Coffee Roasting Classes

There are many opportunities available for you to gain hands-on coffee roasting experience. By simply looking up “coffee roasting training” along with your city, odds are you’ll find a handful of local opportunities. 

Make sure to search for SCA-certified roasting courses. The Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) is an internationally recognized non-profit organization that’s fully devoted to specialty coffee. As such, any course that’s SCA-certified is designed to help you achieve real-world knowledge and practical skills so you can be successful in your specialty coffee career.

If you want to take your training to the next level, however, you should check out The Coffee Roasting Institute — Blue Ridge Campus. Located in North Carolina, CRI offers intensive, hands-on classes, training, courses, and workshops to provide you with a well-rounded education. As a plus, CRI uses six San Franciscan coffee roasters to give students an immersive experience. Once you finish your course, you can easily use everything you’ve learned on your own San Fran roaster!

Specialty Coffee Roasting: A Beautiful Chemical Reaction

The Pre-Stages: Preaheating & Drying

Before you begin roasting, make sure you preheat the roaster. When the roaster reaches your desired temperature, you will need to dry the green coffee beans. Properly drying the beans is a delicate act, as drying too quickly can scorch your beans, while drying slowly can bake your beans. Once your beans are properly dried, it’s time to begin in earnest.

1st Stage: Browning 

While your beans dry, the browning stage can start. As its name suggests, “browning” is when the raw green beans change color. Known as the Maillard reaction, this process breaks down the sugars and amino acids in the beans. It’s also the point where the beans will pop and crack. This is where the “first crack” takes place, signifying the end of the browning stage.

2nd Stage: Development

When the coffee beans crack and pop, producing a sound similar to popcorn, then you’ll know you’ve arrived at the development stage. This stage is crucial, as it’s when the aromas and flavors come alive. By manipulating the temperature and duration of this stage, you’ll be able to achieve the results you’re after. 

  • For lighter roasts, the coffee beans should be removed earlier
  • For darker roasts or espresso roasts, the beans should roast for longer, usually producing a second crack before being removed

3rd Stage: Cool Down

During this final stage, you’ll have to remove the beans from the roaster. The beans will need to reach room temperature as quickly as possible, as letting them sit will cause them to continue to roast. There are many cooling methods you could try, such as building a DIY coffee bean cooler or simply using a desk fan. Commercial coffee roasters often use cooling tanks to bring their beans to room temperature. 

Begin Your Coffee Roasting Adventure with The San Franciscan Roaster Company!

This is just a very surface-level explanation of the basics of coffee roasting. It truly is an art form, and once you gain the experience you need, it will become second nature to you. At The San Franciscan Roaster Company, we build coffee roasters that give roasters the freedom to experiment and get as involved with the process as possible. If you’d like to learn more about our lineup of specialty coffee roasters or if you’d like to speak with our team, give us a call at 775-996-2280

Topics: coffee roaster, commercial coffee roaster, coffee roasting