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Coffee home - From crop to cup - Roasting and Cupping

Roasting and Cupping



Roasting and Cupping
Roasting. The way in which coffee is roasted can have a profound effect its taste. Roast too quickly at too high a temperature, and you'll scorch the exterior of the bean. Roast too slowly at too low a temperature, and you'll sap the bean of its of flavor. Over the years, numerous roasting methods have been developed to address these challenges, all with the same objective: To transfer heat to the coffee bean, initiating a series of chemical reactions that prepare it for consumption. Most roasting methods include the following six phases:

1. Drying Cycle:
This is the first phase of the roasting process, when the temperature of the beans rises to 100 degrees centigrade. Also in this phase, the beans change from a bright green color to a pale yellow.

2. First Crack:
When the beans reach 160 degrees centigrade, complex chemical reactions begin to occur causing a cracking sound.

3. Roast Initiation:
The beans swell to 140 - 160% of their initial size. Elements within the beans begin to caramelize, giving the beans their brown color.

4. Pause:
In this phase, the audible cracking ceases, but the reactions continue. The time of this silence will depend on the amount of heat applied by the roaster.

5. Second Crack:
The progressive dehydration of the beans has made them brittle. As a result, more cracking can be heard. It is at this stage that elements in the bean begin to carbonize, producing the burnt characteristics of extremely dark roasts.

6. Stopping the Roast:
Once the optimal amount of roasting time has elapsed, the beans must be cooled quickly. This is usually accomplished by introducing large amounts of cool air or water.


Cupping is a method of systematically evaluating the aroma and taste of coffee beans. It is often used by growers, buyers and roasters to assess the quality of a particular coffee sample. Proper cupping requires the adherence to an exacting set of brewing standards and a formal step-by-step evaluation process. A trained cupper generally looks at six characteristics:

Fragrance - the smell of beans after grinding
Aroma - the smell of ground-up beans after being steeped in water
Taste - the flavor of the coffee
Nose - the vapors released by the coffee in the mouth
Aftertaste - the vapors and flavors that remain after swallowing 
Body - the feel of the coffee in the mouth


Coffee home - From crop to cup - Roasting and Cupping

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