The Coffee Roasting Process
In the first stage of roasting, coffee dries, losing its water content in the form of steam. At this stage, it smells vegetal, leading through the yellowing stage to the most exciting part: First Crack! This is when you might wonder if some corn kernels slipped into the roaster drum, as audible “pops” sound. First Crack is where many lighter-roasted coffees are dropped into the cooling tray of the roaster, maximizing organic acids and resulting in bright, articulate coffees.
Just before First Crack, caramelization of the natural sugars in the bean begins, a process which continues during the development stage. Through careful heat application during, roasters can balance the browning of sugars with the brightness of organic acids, creating a delicate, complex dance between caramel and fruit.
And then, along comes Second Crack. At this point in the roasting process, the coffee's cellular structure is breaking down and the roaster begins to impart smokiness to the bean. Coffee dropped at this stage can be magical, with dark chocolate and fruits balanced with a bitterness ranging from cocoa to carbon. Beyond this point is the historic "French Roast" development, visually identified by the sheen of coffee oil on the outside of the bean. Past this point the coffee rapidly becomes carbonized and often nasty. You won't see any coffees past this stage on Crema.co!