A coffee bean roaster is a crucial part of the process that turns green coffee beans into the popular drinkable beverage. Most coffee roasters are made for commercial enterprises, such as roasteries and coffee shops, but home-roasting models are also becoming popular. Without a coffee bean roaster, coffee beans do not gain the flavor and balance necessary to make coffee beverages.
Before roasting, coffee beans are pale green in color and lack the odor or taste of roasted beans. While beans will have natural flavor and taste characteristics based on the origin and growing process, the roasting process highlights certain desirable flavors as well as greatly increasing the aroma and flavor of the bean itself. A coffee bean roaster cooks the beans for a set amount of time, though there are many recipes designed to impart certain characteristics of each roast.
Beans change dramatically during the roasting process, deepening in color from green to yellow, through to an extremely dark brown. Beans are often described by their roast, such as light, medium, and dark varieties. Light roasting allows coffee beans to retain most of their original flavor, and is popular with coffee varieties that are known to have unique flavors due to origin. Contrary to popular belief, beans also lose caffeine during the roasting process, meaning that dark roasts have the least caffeine.
In large scale coffee plants, roasting is typically an automated process that requires little human intervention. Green coffee beans are sorted and cleaned, then conveyed to a coffee bean roaster to be cooked. After a specified amount of time, the beans are removed from the roaster and put through a cooling process, using either chilled air or water to quickly stop the roasting process. Some beans are then ground, while others are placed whole into bags and shipped out or sold from the coffee plant.
Some coffee shops own a coffee bean roaster in order to provide customers with a fresher, better tasting product. Beans quickly lose flavor after roasting; the sooner they are used, the better and more clear the taste. Customers can tell if a coffee shop features a coffee bean roaster by the distinct smell the device emits; some compare the scent of roasting coffee to bread or cookies burning.
Home roasters typically are very small capacity and are meant for daily or weekly use. Models vary extensively, but many resemble a popcorn maker in shape and operation. A home coffee bean roaster allows the adventurous to experiment with roasting times, added flavors, and classic recipes. With the added benefit of ultimately fresh coffee, it is understandable that home coffee bean roasters are becoming popular among coffee addicts, despite an often high price tag.