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Why do we roast coffee beans?

05th September 2019

Why do we roast coffee beans?

Coffee’s journey from seed to cup

Coffee begins as a seed from a red or purple fruit, similar to a cherry. The reason they are called beans is because of their appearance, that resembles a traditional bean. There are two types of coffee bean, Arabica and Robusta (if you’re not sure of the difference head over to our blog page and read our Arabica vs Robusta blog) but in general it is assumed that the Arabica bean is slightly higher quality.

The seeds go through a lot before they become the coffee we all enjoy, especially when being roasted as it transforms not just the physical make-up of the bean, but also chemically.


The history behind roasting coffee

Coffee was first ‘founded’ in the 11th Century but the art of coffee roasting didn’t come about until the 1400’s and originated in the Middle East. Unlike the thorough process we use now, the original roasting process was simply putting the beans on a large flat spoon which was then placed into a fire and they would use a smaller stirring spoon to evenly roast the beans. As time progressed, coffee would be roasted over a large container of coals on a large flat perforated pan with a long handle, which could do more at once but was still a long process.

Over the years technology advanced and a couple of hundred years later they developed a large cylinder with a crank that allowed for roasting to be done in much higher quantities. Despite a few coffee houses popping up in Europe, it wasn’t until the 19th Century that the coffee roasting industry moved out of people’s homes and started to become a worldwide market. This brought about the introduction of hot gas roasting which involved an exhauster that was able to draw the hot air through holed walls in the drum. It also featured a fan that delivered fresh air to the beans, which was a major breakthrough in the coffee roasting process. This allowed the coffee process to be majorly sped up, and was one of the biggest inventions that made our roasting machines what they are today.


Roasting coffee beans

There is no specific ‘rule’ to roasting coffee beans as it varies from the type of bean and the flavour outcome you are looking for once roasted. As coffee beans are roasted to extract the beans truest flavours the roasting process has to be complex and unique, which is where the different taste profiles are found. The art behind roasting coffee beans is surrounded by the length of time you roast them for, which is what dictates the overall colour and taste. There are many stages of roasting coffee which are made quicker by the use of machinery, however, as each stage of the process can determine a different outcome, depending on preference, the use of senses and experience is still so widely needed and something a machine cannot do.


The Science behind coffee roasting

Roasted coffee is divided into two groups, volatile and non-volatile. Volatile is the group that contributes to the aroma which everyone loves, and the non-volatile elements contribute to either the bitterness or sweetness of the coffee.

The coffee bean goes through endothermic and exothermic reactions during the roasting process. Endothermic is the process of absorption of heat, and in the coffee roasting process the energy is absorbed in the heat which is where the coffee beans lose their moisture, alter in the colour and release the aromas.

Exothermic is the opposite of endothermic and is the process accompanied by the release of heat. Once the moisture in the coffee bean has evaporated in the endothermic stage, the bean cracks or pops and it begins to develop it’s true flavours and aromas. This is also the stage where the bean inherits the rich brown colour that we associate with the coffee bean.


To answer the original question as to why we roast coffee beans, to put it simply, coffee cannot become coffee without being roasted and we wouldn’t have all the unique flavours that are created to suit everyone’s taste buds.


Our range of coffee

We have a wide range of coffee that are roasted in many different ways to bring you a wide variety of flavours so whatever customer that walks through your door will always be satisfied with their cup of coffee.

Our signature blend Street&Co is 100% Arabica beans that always leave a smooth taste finish. We use beans from Brazil, Nicaragua and Costa Rica to create a delicious medium roast blend with rich toffee sweetness, honeyed notes and finished with a soft citrus flavour. Our Street&Co beans come in a variety of forms so please do contact us for more details.

Please call us on 01322 381380 or email orders@vaccodadev.com to find out the tasting notes of all our coffee’s so we can find the perfect match for you. You can also visit our website at www.jsbeverage.com to get an overview of the coffees we sell.


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