Patience is a virtue… especially during the coffee roasting process

My sister just had an involuntary twitch after seeing the title of this post.

"Patience is a virtue" is something I teased her with many times while we were growing up. I said it whenever she had to wait for someone to finish up, or when we needed to take turns. It's one of our core memories, and nowadays she says it to me now with a touch of scorn.

Coffee Roasting Requires Patience

It is something, though, that I try to keep in mind with whatever I do, and I have applied it to coffee as well.

Now for the context: coffee roasting is done in roasters that use heat, either gas fired drums or hot air convection, and this heat in turn initially dries out the green beans, then starts the roasting/caramelization process.

As the beans spend longer in the roaster, they get darker and the cellular structure changes allowing oils to migrate to the surface of the bean and the long complex molecules to break down into simpler aromatics and flavour compounds. Like any cooking process, the time in the heat effects the flavour.

'Cooking' the Coffee Beans

If the heat is very high and a lot of energy is put into the system, you will reach the desired end temperature quickly—but this results in uneven roasting through the coffee bean, leaving under-roasted elements in the middle of each bean and more green/undeveloped flavours. Too low energy into the roaster will result in long roasting times, and a dry, flat flavour. As with all cooking processes, a balance of time and temperature is desired. This is something that shouldn't be rushed for any reason. I could roast twice as much coffee in a given day simply by increasing the heat, however the flavour would drastically change.

Great Coffee Takes Time

I have found my own personal style with coffee roasting, something that has taken many years and patience. I will not sacrifice flavour for economics. I choose to let the coffee take the time it needs and not bow to the almighty dollar. Every coffee company roasts a little differently. It is great that coffee lovers have options to find one that is consistent and roasts coffee you can enjoy. If you have tried the Patrick's Beans coffee blends, which one hits best for you?