The roasting process is more than adding heat to the green coffee beans; it's an art and a science. The first step in producing truly outstanding coffee is to search the globe for the highest quality gourmet Arabica coffee beans. After that its up to the Master Roaster (and barista or coffee preparer) to dictate the final cup. At Nectar of Life Coffee company we develop unique roast profiles for each and every coffee varietal we roast. Not until each varietal is individually roasted to perfection do we make the final blend. Each coffee is so unique it is nearly impossible to roast coffees from different origins at the same time and produce a truly gourmet coffee. That is why each coffee varietal has its own unique roast profile.
When coffee is roasted there are innumerable chemical changes occurring in the beans: starches are broken down; sugars are oxidized, caramelized, and converted into numerous flavor compounds. Air, water vapor, and carbon dioxide are emitted from coffee beans at various stages of the roasting process. The coffee goes from a dense, rock-like seed to a Yellow Stage, then to a Cinnamon Stage, all the way to the Nectar of Life® within a span of about 15 minutes.
The emission of water vapor and gasses causes the coffee bean to expand from a hard seed to a luscious, flavorful, gourmet delicacy. During the expansion and emission of gases the coffee bean's structure begins to break down giving an audible crack. There are two stages of cracks. The first crack is when the the inside of the bean reaches a temperature such that steam is rapidly released and cracks through the outer shell. It is not until first crack that a coffee is even drinkable. A coffee roasted just into first crack will have higher acid than the same coffee roasted to a deeper roast and may lack desirable flavor attributes. The second crack occurs as the temperature rises to the point that the bean's cellular matrix begins to break down, and organic acids in the coffee break down to release carbon dioxide. An audible cracking returns at second crack and will continue until the coffee is burnt to an undrinkable level. The further a coffee is roasted into the second crack the less acid it will have. Coffees roasted to second crack are generally smoother and more full bodied than coffees only roasted to first crack. The longer a coffee is allowed to roast into second crack the darker it will become. It will begin to loose its varietal flavor and take on more of a toasty roast flavor.
French Roast is the furthest a coffee should ever be taken into the second crack. This roast level is unique for each coffee varietal, and it is a fine line between French Roasted coffee and burnt coffee. At Nectar of Life we are careful to make sure each coffee varietal is roasted to the optimum level for our French Roast blend. The coffee will be full bodied, abounding with roast character, but not burnt.