Coffee beans are actually the seed from the cherry of a coffee tree – most commonly a varietal of Coffea Arabica. After harvesting, it is processed and dried, and ends up looking something like a short, pale yellow-green peanut half and with an aroma that reminds me of wheat or spent malt barley. Quite a long way from the enticingly aromatic brown beans you pour into your grinder!

The process of roasting coffee is complex (in the sense that chemically and thermodynamically there are a lot of variables and processes occurring) – but it is not complicated (in that really the only variable you can influence is how much heat applied, and how long for).

In fact, traditional roasting methods are basically akin to tossing some green beans around in a hot dry pan! Once, a family member visiting Ethiopia (the reputed home of coffee) brought me back some beans roasted the traditional way. Sadly (for I love Ethiopian grown coffee), it was borderline charcoal…

To get the most interesting, complex flavours, we need something with a little more finesse.

To be continued…

Close up photo of roasted coffee beans.

Roasted Kenyan SO Coffee beans

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