J&A Report – Coffee Processing: How Roasting Affects Taste

Coffee roasting is an industry forecasted to generate $320 billion in revenue in 2021. The market will grow with a compound annual growth rate of 8% in the forecast period of 2021 to 2025. Coffee roasting is the process of preparing green coffee beans for grinding and consumption. Different roasting methods affect the overall flavor. J&A has outlined the most relevant considerations for coffee roasters and the impact on the final product.

  • The United State is the world’s largest coffee roasting nation and is forecasted to generate $67 billion in 2021.
  • The volume of roasted coffee is forecasted to increase by 4% in 2022 and is set to total over 6 billion tons by 2025.
  • There are three main phases in coffee roasting: drying, browning, and development. The type of roast (light, medium, and dark) affects the color, flavor, and caffeine content of a coffee bean.

FIGURE 1: Coffee Roasting Process

Common Roast Coffee Types and Their Flavors

Roasting beans converts flavorless green beans into a tasty cup of coffee. The accomplishment of these profiles comes through the various roast types. Light roast styles result in a sweet, fruity, acidic cup of coffee. Aggressive roasts yield dark, bitter, and strong cups of coffee.

The total roast period and duration of each stage are relevant factors for the final taste. Faster roasts yield more aroma compounds, but the beans are more prone to burn this way. Shorter roasts produce more aroma compounds.

Light Roast: Half-City Roasts
Light roast coffees do not reach their first crack, which usually happens in the development stage. Lightly roasted beans typically hold fruity, floral, and acidic flavor.

Medium Roast: City Roasts

Medium-roast coffees have been roasted between the first crack, at a temperature of approximately 400°F, and before the second crack at 428°F. Medium-roast coffee has a smoother, more-balanced flavor with a slight bitterness when compared to a light roast.

Medium-Dark Roast: Full-City Roasts

During and after the second crack, medium-dark roasted beans reach an internal temperature of 437 – 446°F. This temperature brings out the oils on the beans’ surface. These roasts have a richer, fuller flavor, more body, and less acidity.

Dark Roast: French or Italian Roasts

Dark-roast coffees are roasted past the second crack to an internal temperature of 464°F, which is the highest possible without ruining the bean’s flavor. The temperature and time on the roasting process pulls oils from inside the coffee bean to the outside, giving them an oily shine. Dark-roast coffees taste smoky, bitter, and burnt.

FIGURE 2: Roast Types

Roast Coffee Segment Overview and Forecasts

Many factors contribute to the flavor experienced with a cup, and roasting is one of the most important elements. Roasting can produce varying bean color and taste, oil or not surfaces, and different amounts of caffeine depending on the roast time or temperature reached during any of its stages. The process to achieve certain flavors in a cup of coffee is specific. Expert roasters achieve natural flavor profiles through the production process. Light roasts present zesty and acidic flavors. On the other hand, dark roasts present bitter and smoky flavors. J&A expects the USA will keep on leading the roasting market share for the coming years. Strong growth in coffee consumption and volume produced ensure that income generated from roasting will increase in the coming years.

Sources: TeaCoffeeCup