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Roasting Kona Coffee Beans – Learn all about roasting

Artisan Roasting Kona Coffee on the San Franciscan Roaster

Roasting Kona Coffee to Perfection!

Roasting Coffee - Roasted Coffee Beans

Roasting Kona Coffee heats the green beans to a desired taste and doneness. The length of time in the roaster varies from approximately 12  to 18 minutes. Time and temperature vary depending on the desired results. Coffee roasting is an art and a science that requires creativity, skill and quality equipment. A great roast master is able to combine scientific analysis, technical ability and art to create the perfect roast profile.

The Kona Coffee Roasting Stages:

  • Yellowing: The first few minutes the bean remains green, then turns a lighter yellowish and emit a grassy coffee smell.
  • Steam: The coffee beans start to release steam as the internal water heats and is expelled.
  • First Crack: At this point the steam becomes a wonderful coffee fragrance.   You will soon hear a cracking sound as the real roasting begins.  The sugars start to caramelize, and the remaining water turns to steam.  Oils release as the coffee bean breaks. This would be a ‘light roast’ stage.
  • First Stage: After first crack, the roast may be complete depending on taste. The crack is an audible indicator along with sight and smell, to tell you where your roast is at.  At this point you have what some call a City roast.
  • Caramelization:  As the oils migrate, and the coffee bean grows, the roast darkens. Most roasts stop close to this point in the coffee roasting process. When you are on the verge of second crack, it is a medium body roast.
  • Second Crack:  Hearing a second crack can be louder and more volatile than the first crack. The coffee roast enters what some call a Vienna roast.
  • Darkening Roast: As the coffee roast becomes dark, more smoke emerges with a stronger coffee odor, as sugars burn, and the bean breaks down.  As you get to the end of second crack you will get what is known as a French roast.

How we roast Kona Coffee

We artisan roast our Kona Coffee in small batches to ensure freshness. Artisan coffee roasting is a combination of scientific, technical and sensitivity skills. Roast masters use all their senses when roasting coffee. The goal being to develop a roasting curve (also known as a roast profile) the roast master feels will bring out the most flavor of the bean being roasted.

San Franciscan Artisan Roaster picture
San Franciscan Artisan Roaster SF-25

Our SF-25 San Franciscan roaster heats the electrically-driven rotating drum with propane. The roast master carefully measures each batch’s time in the roaster in addition to the varying internal environmental temperature and the bean temperature. He/she then controls the temperature and time to attain the desired results. The result being a coffee he/she feels reveals all the subtle flavors of the bean. Also, the roast master watches the appearance of the beans. He/she can distinguish the level of doneness by a combination of factors. These include the smell, color, texture of the bean surface in addition the distinct “popping” sounds the coffee beans make through varying levels of the roast process.