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Better Coffee Through Technology Part 1 – Roasting
December 8, 2016
| By Savannah Phillips |
Advances in technology, for the most part, tend to significantly help us in many aspects of our lives by making tasks easier to complete, adding convenience, bringing the world together through faster connections and communication and countless other advantages. The same holds true for leveraging the latest technology in the coffee industry to help us achieve making the perfect cup of coffee and to be able to continue making that perfect cup consistently.
If you’re super obsessed with coffee like me, which I expect you might be at least somewhat since you’re reading this blog, then you know exactly how complex and difficult it is to not only grind and brew the perfect cup, but to also roast the beans in order to fully bring out the natural flavor profiles of the specific bean without degrading it or flat out destroying it.
While it’s true that too much technology can be negative, and brings with it a negative connotation in the coffee world as well, the majority of technology has strengthened the quality and consistency of coffee. Here’s how technology ensures that the roasting process keeps turning out your favorite cup to keep you coming back for more.
Coffee has been around for centuries, but up until the mid 1800s, it was unheard of to buy roasted coffee. This was because there were no laws governing coffee purity and it was a way to make sure you weren’t getting coffee mixed with cereal substitutes or the like.
Instead people had to buy green coffee beans and roast the coffee themselves at home by holding and rotating a skillet-like pan to roast the beans. There was really no way to know how the coffee would turn out and certainly was no way to ensure for consistency. Industrial size roasters took over in the mid to late 1800s after coffee quality laws were enacted, but these roasters were basically large cylinders placed over a flame and that produced a lot of smoke and still not much of a way to ensure control and consistency.
Over the years, coffee roasting technology improved and today, coffee roasters have adopted new more advanced methods of roasting, especially convection roasters, which carry heat by air currents to more evenly distribute how beans are roasted. Convection roasters are now the most measurable and controllable method of roasting coffee.
Additionally, over the last decade or so, computer software tools have been developed to help further control and measure the coffee roasting process. For example, our new 35 kg Loring roaster has built-in technology to measure, monitor and control how we roast each batch.We also use a program called Cropster that allows us to store and track that specific information about each of our coffees into a computer database, including samples, roasting profiles, and cupping results so that we can roast the beans the way they need to be roasted consistently each time to ensure and maintain quality.
This is really just scratching the surface of what technology does and continue to do in the world of coffee roasting. The next part of this blog, I’ll discuss how technology advances in grinding and brewing help make coffee taste more amazing than ever.
LORING ROASTER AIRFLOW CICULATION
The heat transfer properties of a Loring roaster’s stainless steel roast chamber, combined with convection heating process and responsive thermocouples, allows you to precisely control your bean temps, as well as make quick changes to the heat inside the roast chamber.
LORING ROASTER BEAN AGITATION
A Loring roaster’s paddle bean agitation provides consistent results by constantly keeping beans lofted in the roast chamber. Beans are not only moved from bottom to top, but also back to front. Ensuring consistency of bean temp and color within your roast.
A Level-Two Certified Barista, native Northwesterner turned So-Cal girl, Savannah is also addicted to yoga, hiking, meditation and long drives up Coast Highway 101. She doesn’t remember ever not loving coffee. Even as a child, when most other kids typically hate the taste, it was something she craved, which looking back, was unquestionably an early prediction of a career devoted to specialty coffee.