Coffee - Roasting and Blending
Important information for all coffee lovers!
- The flavour of coffee starts to decay within days of roasting
- It happens because the fine aromatic oils break down.
- This happens however the coffee is packed.
- Thousands of people have found the answer
- The solution is to buy your coffee freshly roasted and store it in the fridge or freezer.
Some coffees are prized for their acidity though they may lack other qualities and others for their body though they may not have a desirable taste. Blending and roasting has to achieve a balanced coffee experience, often out of coffees which have so-called flavour imperfections. To accomodate particular tastes, the three key characteristics of aroma, body, colour and acidity are be emphasised.
Finer arabica beans are often well suited to being consumed 'pure', without blending, for instance most of the beans we offer. Many coffee enthusiasts search out their favorite origins, whose flavours they can then enjoy unadulterated. Others prefer the roundness and complexity of a good blend
Different blends work best with particular roasts (strong, medium, light). It is the roasting which brings out that wonderful aroma and rich taste that coffee lovers seek. Wander down Portobello Road, Notting Hill, London, and you'll be lured by the swirling smoke escaping from the drum roaster at the tea and coffee plant. These small, gas-fired horizontal drum roasters are normally used by the smaller coffee specialists who need a great deal of experience and even instinct to attain the exact desired roast, using sight, taste, smell and the sound of the beans crackling as they're tossed in the revolving drum.
Temperatures for roasting range from about 193 degrees Centigrade (about 380 Fahrenheit) for a light roast, through about 205 C (about 400 F) for a medium roast, to about 218 C (about 425 F) for a dark roast. Once the roasting is completed, the beans are transferred to mesh trays for rapid cooling which halts the roasting process.
Small electric home roasting machines are now obtainable - have fun perfecting your unique, personal roast, but be warned that they can set off your fire alarm!
The different roasts
Light roasts retain more fruitiness and the subtle more complicated aromas. Because they have a weaker flavour they can be made very generously for a creamy cup, provided thay are not too acidic.
A medium roast is more general purpose, producing a stronger coffee flavour. Acidity becomes tang (or bite depending on your choice of language) while the smoother types of coffee gain a general strength without becoming bitter.
A continental roast produces still stronger coffee with a burnt taste to those who dislike it. It is often drunk very strong and black or with lots of hot milk , eg latte, `milky coffee`, when extra strong flavour is necessary. Continental roast used to be called city roast, perhaps because people's palates in the city deadened, under assault from smoke and other forms of air pollution.
In the UK it is sometimes thought that espresso coffee has to be made from continental roast coffee, but with a good domestic electric espresso machine with a pump even light roast coffee can taste delicious. Professional espresso roasts are usually pretty strong however, if only to save on coffee use.
Blends can be of different varieties and origins of beans but also different roasts. Such blends are unusual in corporate produced coffees, as there is an extra mixing process. Our popular medium continental blend consists of medium and continental roast beans, a mixture that is very prevalent in Spanish coffees.