My coffees have a richer and more flavorful taste due to my roaster, which is located at over 6000 foot elevation. High altitude roasting allows me to use much less energy to bring my beans to their optimum flavor. Depending on what roast level we are trying to achieve, the roasting process can take anywhere from 14 1/2 to 17 minutes, besides the cooling time. What’s really happening in the roasting process is
that sugars are being caramelized over the course of a carefully followed time/temperature profile. I roast all my coffees to bring out the individual uniqueness and flavor for that particular bean.
The roaster I use is a Diedrich IR-7, “made right here in Idaho”, which is a gas-fired, drum machine capable of roasting small batches of beans – up to 15 pounds. The green, unroasted coffee beans go in the hopper at the top, then into the rotating drum where they are roasted, beginning at 360 degrees Fahrenheit and several minutes pass as we adjust gas pressure and air flow. The whole time they are
roasting the beans are turning colors from green to yellow and then to different shades of brown. About 11-12 minutes into the roasting process we hear cracking noises begin. This is bean moisture which escapes the beans when they reach 380-395 degrees Fahrenheit. A couple minutes later we hear another set of cracking sounds which is carbon escaping the beans. This is about the time we’re checking
the beans every five seconds to check bean color, smell and skin development. When we think we’ve hit our mark – usually about 425 degrees Fahrenheit for a medium coffee or 435F for light to medium Vienna, we dump the beans into a cooling tray. The beans are then cooled over the next few minutes in order to stop the roasting process.