Developing a roast profile for a coffee is a lot like developing a recipe in the kitchen. You gather all of the things that you need (coffee), pre-heat your cooking medium (a coffee roaster), and go from there.
But hold up! What is a roast profile? And why create one in the first place?
Here’s a brief summary of the process:
What is a roast profile?
A roast profile is a pre-selected set of values and settings (gas and airflow) for a given coffee roast.
Why profile a coffee?
Like other agricultural products, all coffees are inherently unique based on a multitude of factors. Thanks to things such as origin, variety, terroir (slope, elevation, etc), processing (washed, natural, etc), and more, all coffees are unique and vary from one another in some way.
How a coffee is profiled
After checking in a green coffee and analyzing it for things such as moisture and density, an arrival sample is roasted. Analyzing things such as the moisture and density of a coffee are good indicators of things such as potential shelf life, how the coffee might roast due to thermodynamics, and more. Doing an initial, small sample roast of a coffee is an additional way to get a feel for how it interacts with heat exchange in the roaster, which is a great way to prepare for our next step.
After using the sample roast to get a general idea of how the coffee roasts, and leveraging it with other factors such as moisture and density of the beans, we first profile roast all of our coffees on our sample roaster, which is 1/60th the capacity of our production roaster. Since this roaster is inherently different based on its size, the idea behind this stage of profiling is to get a more accurate sense of how the coffee is going to roast on our production roaster later on, and to be able to figure out what roast level and flavor profile is desired out of the coffee before roasting 100lbs or more of it.
For this round of profiling, we strategically adjust different variables such as:
- The temperature the coffee beans are introduced into the roaster
- Gas settings
- Airflow settings
- Total time of roast
By adjusting one or several of these variables, you alter how the coffee is being roasted. As a result, you influence the flavor profile of the coffee. It can be quite surprising to taste the differences between the same coffee roasted different ways.
Cupping and Selection
You can capture the true potential of a coffee and all of its possibilities in terms of roast flavor profiles by tasting the individual roasts. We call that “cupping.” It’s really remarkable to be able to observe the differences in flavor profiles that happen as a result of adjustments you make during a roast. .
Once an initial profile is selected after cupping, it’s time to take it to our production roaster! Though the production roaster has different settings than the sample roaster, the profile chosen from the sample roaster helps the Lead Roaster and I know where to start based off experience. We make adjustments to things such as gas and airflow like we did for the previous profile in order to make the coffee roast the way we desire.
Once the coffee is roasted, it’s time to cup again! If the coffee tastes the way that is desired, you save the profile to use again later as a reference. If not, you make changes to the profile in subsequent roasts until you reach the desired roast.
Taste the product of our meticulous roast profiling and roasting by shopping our coffee line. Hit the button below to shop by roast.
Prost! Or should I say, roast!SHOP ROASTS