Coffee beans are initially stored as coffee cherry seeds in their natural green state. The process of coffee roasting is used to transform these green beans into roasted beans through high levels of heat. This takes away moisture and leaves behind aromatic, crunchy coffee beans – ready for grinding and brewing. These processed and dried beans develop several different aroma compounds that build the flavor of the coffee. By experimenting with roast profiling, the flavor components can be enhanced to achieve signature flavors that represent our favorite coffee brands.
The science and art behind freshly roasted coffee beans are carefully managed in commercial roasters. As the roast changes from light to dark tones, it takes on varying tastes and aromas from a vast flavor spectrum. Coffee lovers who enjoy the whole authentic experience of roasting, grinding, and brewing their own coffee can buy roasting machines. These home baristas – like all commercial roasteries – need to train for perfecting the chemical process that requires split-second controls to manage the flavor profile.
The Drying Stage
The green cherry beans contain a lot of moisture that needs to be dried before roasting begins. Drum roasters are based on temperature-controlled environments that form optimum climates for beans to lose their moisture without getting burned.
The Browning Stage
Following the drying stage, the coffee beans start to develop distinct aromatic changes. As they start browning, the drying stage still continues to remove moisture. Chemical reactions produce different melanoid compounds – or color compounds – that are responsible for turning the beans brown in color. Roasting eventually slows down to trap essential flavors, and the beans begin to pop in what is known as the first crack in coffee roasting processes.
The Development or Roasting stage
This development stage is an exothermic reaction. The beans accumulate high energy in the drying and browning stages, and all of this trapped energy is ready to be released in the final stage. During the development span, your desired aroma compounds begin to highlight the flavor profile. This process needs to be closely-monitored and slowed down to avoid overpowering the coffee flavor.
Coffee roasts are generally categorized into light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts. The varying degrees of roasting stages bring the coffee beans to their chromatic and textural differences. They progress from acidity to bitterness as they move from lighter to darker tones. Roast preferences differ across locations, cultures, and personal tastes. These roasting levels form our favorite coffee aesthetics when the beans are ground and brewed into latte arts and espresso shots.
Light roasts ave a light brown color for mild coffee flavors as they have been roasted for only short intervals. They have distinct fruity fragrances and are available as light and cinnamon types.
Medium roasts are medium brown coffee beans that are commonly known as American roasts for their continental preference. The caramelized beans taste a bit sweeter compared to light roasts. They have balanced aromatic and acidic levels for bitter medium and high coffee flavors, quite often used for breakfast roasts.
Medium-dark roasts have an intense dark color. Some oil from the beans reaches the surface, and the coffee leaves a bittersweet aftertaste. The city and full city roasts are packed with bitterness rather than acidity.
Dark roasts have tell-tale, shiny black beans that make intensely bitter coffee beverages. Flavors from the coffee roasting stage become prominent, creating unique fusions with French and Italian roasts.
Coffee Roasting Training
Before diving into the caffeine-induced glory of coffee making, it is important to learn the physics and chemical complexities of the process. Various commercial roasteries rely on technological hardware and apps to manage humidity levels, temperatures, and quality control. Here are some examples of training programs to guide your coffee roasting endeavors.
Mill City Roasters
At Mill City Roasters, the Coffee Roaster Training Classes program covers industry-leading practices for commercial applications. Its SCA Certified (Specialty Coffee Association) campus uses industrial coffee roasters that are all CSA and UL-complaint. The training modules address beginner and entrepreneurial levels to support businesses. Mill City Roasters YouTube channel is a free platform to explore dynamic learning content through roast-along videos and home brewing fundamentals.
Roasting 101 & 102
Mill City remote classes teach live Roasting 101 sessions on Zoom. Students receive a Class Box from the company so that they can use coffees, utensils, grading mats, and accessories from Mill City during each lesson. This turns the training class into a multisensory environment where you can see, taste, touch, and smell the different stages. The hands-on learning is enhanced by the instructor’s multi-cam shots to allow viewing the roasting process from all angles. Private and small group classes are available for Roasting 102 lessons to give students a practical chance to apply their knowledge.
A Seasoning Roast module provides a 1-on-1 walkthrough guide on Zoom or Skype to help students with their new machines. Mill City’s Remote Support and Training is also a focused instruction program to assist roasters through phone calls, Zoom, or Skype. The instructions focus on profile designing, green coffee types, coffee evaluations, blends, and barista training.
Portland Coffee Roasters
SCA Coffee Skills
Portland Coffee Roasters has SCA-certified classrooms taught by industry experts. The company’s wholesale training program introduces sessions from the Specialty Coffee Association’s Coffee Skills Pathways. With top-notch coffee education standards, all participants get to enjoy practical opportunities to refine their skills and earn a certification. This allows students to launch or advance their businesses through accredited coffee roasting practices.
You can also join Portland Coffee Roasters for a public tour tasting around the warehouse. These Seed-to-Cup coffee tours form an all-inclusive public education series that take the valued customers right into the heart of coffee making stages. The tours and training classes cover different aspects including coffee growing, coffee roasting, flavors and aromas, brewing essentials, etc. The educational tours are a fun way to get in touch with the local roastery experts and staff.
To deal with the COVID-19 work changes, Portland Coffee Roasters provides online learning opportunities through YouTube tutorials to help you bridge any learning gaps.
First SCA-Certified Center
The International Barista & Coffee Academy (IBCA) is the first SCA-authorized training center in America. It offers an exceptional student experience throughout the caffeine-charged learning curve that ends with an SCA certification. The IBCA facility includes its own coffee roasting company – Espresso Italia – as well as its Infusion Coffee & Tea café. Students enjoy behind-the-scenes field trips among coffee operations and machinery. IBCA also organizes location-based training to support businesses through state-of-the-art practices in the coffee industry.
With an IBCA training and certification, you can adapt your skills to start your own coffee company – or acquire brand-new coffee expertise to revamp your existing business. Apart from an SCA Coffee Diploma, students get the incredible opportunity to work closely with IBCA founders and learn from their experiences.
On-Campus and Off-Campus
These SCA trainers teach students a broad coffee curriculum that covers equipment handling, DIY repairs, coffee roasting skills, café management, and coffee distribution. IBCA courses are divided into foundation, intermediate, and professional levels of certification. With both on and off-campus options, students can train at the IBCA coffee lab, and the IBCA experts can also take their training to different companies. This helps startup cafes and growing businesses to benefit from personalized consultation that focuses on their needs.
The IBCA courses have separate modules: introduction to coffee, barista skills, brewing, green coffee, roasting, and sensory skills. These training objectives teach students important aspects like green coffee evaluation to understand how to begin with only the best varieties right from the scratch. Additional side skills such as blend development and latte art are explored as well.
Specialty Coffee Association
Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) aims to empower coffee communities with worldwide training opportunities and sustainable practices. It provides solutions for everyone in the value chain, starting from coffee farmers to roasters to café baristas.
The SCA Coffee Education Programs create opportunities for adding SCA certifications to your resume. They are comprised of three main modules: Coffee Skills program, Coffee Sustainability program, and Coffee Technicians program. These allow students to take part in sustainability projects and acquire physics expertise in thermodynamics, hydraulics, and operations that govern roasteries.
Coffee Skills Program
The Coffee Skills program, in particular, focuses on the standard SCA disciplines: Introduction to Coffee, Barista Skills, Brewing, Green Coffee, Sensory Skills, and Roasting. The specialist modules have further levels of study, and all the courses cover foundation, intermediate, and professional divisions. These breakdowns support learning at a very organic level of coffee making. You can follow the life cycle of a coffee bean right from its origins. The coffee roasting module teaches the roast cycles, roast levels, defect identification, lean production, and workspace management.
Business and Individual Growth
Coffee enthusiasts will find this coffee roasting training hub an excellent starting point, as the association follows a guided approach to streamline learning outcomes. You get to refine your skills at the espresso bar and practice coffee extraction for brewing methods. You also find out about green coffee production, storage, and shipping management to ensure quality standards.
“One coffee, please!”
Coffee roasting takes us behind the scenes of this single, planetary phrase for our favorite beverage. The green coffee beans from Ethiopia, Tanzania, Brazil, and Colombia – among so many other places of origin – stumble into drum roasters before being ready for grinding. Dancing between imports and exports until they reach the shelves, these roasted coffee beans get brewed into a cup of coffee at home, a Starbucks cappuccino, and the original espresso shot at work.