Image attribution: https://flic.kr/p/5obbF9
Previously, in my last editorial, I talked about Single Origin Coffee and how each coffee will have unique flavor profiles depending on which region it may come from. It is the responsibility of a coffee roaster, such as myself, to develop coffee in the roasting process that best articulates those unique flavor attributes from the terroir of these regions. How is it that roasting can effect flavor in the coffee?
Let me break this down into understandable terms.
When you visit a coffee shop or your local grocery store you will notice some of the coffee selections will offer roast levels like light, medium or dark. If you did an experiment and tried each of these coffees side by side, you would notice a substantial difference in flavor and mouth feel (or body).
In the roasting process, there are many, many, many different chemical changes happening simultaneously which will significantly affect the flavor and body of the coffee based on how long the coffee is roasted. In light roasted coffees you will notice brightness, even juiciness, depending on the type of region the coffee came from or the variety of the coffee plant. In dark roasted coffees, you will notice a perceivable heaviness in the body, but a lack of brightness and sweetness. Medium roasted coffees lie somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, having some brightness, sweetness and body depending on where the coffee came from.
As a coffee roaster, it is my job to develop coffee in the roasting process to bring out the best qualities of the coffee from each specific region. For example, Ethiopian coffees are known for their floral, citric, and fruity notes. If these coffees are roasted dark, all of these pleasant qualities will be lost. This is because as the coffee develops further along in roast time, acids and sugars caramelize and change in their chemical make-up; developing in more heavy, roasty flavors. To be able to bring out the best qualities, like my Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, this coffee needs to be roasted on the lighter side.
Coffee, like my Honduras San Fernando Rodriguez, already have heavy flavors like dark sugars and sweat tobacco. This coffee, in my opinion, is best presented at the medium to darker roast levels.
Even if you are a dark roast coffee lover, I would encourage you to try other coffees at different roast levels. You may discover some very unique experiences in taste.
Be sure to visit storibord.com and review some of the different coffees I offer. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me below.