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The Coffee Roaster - The Essential Art of Roasting Coffee Beans

The coffee roaster performs one of the most critical and essential steps in creating great gourmet coffee. The roasting process is responsible for developing and bringing out the full flavor of the coffee bean. Coffee roasting requires an expertise that takes time to develop.

Similar to grapes used to make wine, coffee bean characteristics vary significantly as a result of varietal, soil, climate, harvest, and growing technique. It takes a skilled craftsperson with a lot of experience to bring out the best qualities of the coffee beans during the roasting process. A master roaster is truly an artisan.

The roasting approach has a pronounced effect on the taste and flavor of the coffee beans. The type of roast has to be properly matched to the varietal of coffee bean. In general, there is an optimum roast for each different variety of coffee beans. Different beans will respond differently to the roasting process, requiring more or less heat and different durations through the roasting cycles. Roasting too slowly at too low of a temperature will rob the beans of their flavor. Roasting too quickly at too high of a temperature will burn or scorch the exterior of the beans.

An expert coffee roaster considers the weight, volume, water content and flavor characteristics of the beans in preparation for the optimum roast. Roasting is a fine art requiring split-second timing and the ability to judge when the coffee bean has been brought to its peak of flavor.

Type of Roasts

Here are some of the more common roasts from lightest to darkest.


Coffee Roasting Levels - Color Chart
Coffee Rosting Chart - adapted from the Wikimedia Commons.


It’s a misconception that the darker the roast the better. Although the darker roasts are the current vogue, they’re not necessarily better. The darker the roast, the more the burnt quality of the roast tends to overshadow the underlying flavor qualities of the bean.

Darker roasts tend to have more of a predominant roast component to the flavor while lighter roasts tend to compliment more of the flavor characteristics of the coffee bean. Some single origins are definitely better suited to a light or medium roast.

The expert coffee roaster will produce roast levels or types of roasts that bring out the optimum flavor and quality of the beans.

Roasting Steps

Roasting is done at temperatures of up to 450F degrees. The coffee roaster determines the level or type of roast by controlling the duration and the temperature during the roasting process.

If you're curious, here are a few industrial coffee roasting equipment examples from Diedrich, a well known coffee roasting equipment manufacturer.

Mistobox delivers premium fresh-roasted coffee right to your doorstep, hand selected from the finest artisanal coffee roasters.
Mistobox delivers premium fresh-roasted coffee right to your doorstep, hand selected from the finest artisanal coffee roasters!

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