This Is Where the Science Happens

During roasting, coffee changes from a dense, green seed into friable, brown bean. The beans not only change color during this process, but lose moisture and expand considerably in size. Depending on the roasting method, this transformation can take just a few minutes or a full half-hour. This deceptively simple process actually involves a fascinating interplay of chemical and physical reactions that liberates hundreds of flavor compounds and reveals immense complexity when brewed. And even after roasting thousands of pounds of coffee, I find this transformation a fascinating process that unravels only bit-by-bit.

Almost invariably when folks wander beyond the coffee bar into the roasting room and see the roaster (which describes both the man and the machine), they also become entranced by the roasting process, by the transformation of the beans (many never having seen unroasted coffee before), the site, the smell and a sudden new layer of knowledge about what they have been drinking all these years. While that wonder is gratifying to us, we also understand that most people, with a more casual interest in the process itself, hanging around the roasting room for 20 minutes or more to see the whole process from start to finish can get a bit dull. So, we have put together a fantastic little film that documents the whole process in just over a minute. So enjoy:

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