Coffee is nothing if it is not roasted and prepared for brewing, but the way coffee is roasted and the length of time that it is roasted drastically affects the way it tastes and performs when brewed. Coffee beans must be roasted correctly to produce well-brewed coffee, but how long should coffee be roasted for?
Coffee takes between 7 and 25 minutes to roast, depending on the desired roast level, the beans being roasted, the roaster used, and the roasting method. Light roast requires 7 – 10 minutes of roasting, medium roast requires 10 – 15 minutes, and dark roast can take 15 – 25 minutes of roasting.
Coffee is more complex than most people know, and the process of roasting coffee is critical to the outcome of every cup of coffee. Coffee beans must be roasted well to brew good coffee drinks, and understanding how to roast them is critical. Let’s explore coffee roasting to learn how long coffee beans should be roasted.
How Long Does It Take Coffee To Roast?
Coffee beans must be roasted in specialized roasters that are designed for evenly roasting the beans without burning them and without heating them too quickly.
There are several methods for roasting coffee, but specialized coffee roasters are the best option. However, regardless of the method that you choose to roast coffee beans, the beans must be roasted for specific lengths of time, depending on how roasted you want them to be.
If coffee beans are not roasted for long enough, they will be too raw, too dense, and too tough to grind and brew, and they will not release anything into the brewing water.
If the coffee beans are roasted for too long, they will burn, and some of the beans will turn to ash. This will entirely ruin the beans, and any coffee that is brewed with these beans will taste terrible.
This means that it is critical to roast coffee for the right amount of time. However, the trouble is that you can roast coffee for varying lengths of time depending on how developed you want the roast to be based on your taste preferences when drinking coffee.
This means that the roasting process is more complex than most people realize and must be done very carefully.
With this in mind, let’s explore the different lengths of time that coffee should be roasted to achieve different roast levels. We will not use any temperature measurements here as the temperature that coffee is roasted at is an entirely different topic and depends on the raster used, but the timing is very similar regardless of the roaster.
Light Roast Coffee
Light roast coffee is the darling of the specialty coffee world, and this roast level reveals much more flavor of the coffee beans than any other.
Coffee that is lightly roasted is much denser than others, but it tastes much more complex and has many more flavors and tasting notes than any other roast level.
Light roast coffee is typically roasted for less than ten minutes, depending on the coffee, the quantity of beans that are roasted, the temperature, and how effective the roaster is.
Within the first ten minutes of roasting, the beans will turn blonde-yellow, and shortly after, they will begin to turn a light brown. At this point, the beans will be developed what is known as the ‘first crack,’ which is an audible crack that appears in the beans as their internal pressure builds during roasting.
When the coffee beans reach the first crack, they are considered lightly roasted and can be ground and brewed at this roast level.
The first crack is very lightly roasted, and the coffee can be left to roast for a little longer if you want more development in the roast, but the first crack usually occurs around seven minutes into the roasting process, and this coffee is considered to be a light roast.
Medium Roast Coffee
Medium-roast coffee is a favorite among many coffee drinkers, and many people who roast tier own coffee tend to aim for this roast level. This roast level provides a good medium between the depth and bitterness of dark roast coffee and the brightness of light roast coffee.
To achieve a medium roast coffee, the beans must be roasted for somewhere between nine and fifteen minutes. Coffee beans develop a second crack a few minutes after achieving the first crack of light roast, and at this point, the beans are usually considered medium roast.
The second crack occurs between nine and thirteen minutes of roasting in most instances, and when the second crack occurs, the coffee is roasted to a medium roast level.
The coffee can be considered medium roast just before the second crack as well, depending on the beans themselves.
Coffee is still medium roast until it begins to release its oils. After the second crack and when the beans begin to release oils, this is the upper-end of medium roast, and the beans should be removed from the roaster and cooled before they become a dark roast.
Dark Roast Coffee
Dark roast coffee used to be the standard in the world of coffee because it is the easiest to achieve, but it is less desirable in the modern world of coffee.
Nevertheless, a good dark roast can still be delicious, so it is important to learn how to roast coffee beans in this way.
Dark roast coffee is achieved between fifteen and twenty minutes of roasting. Some very dense beans will require up to twenty-five minutes of roasting to achieve a dark roast level, but most will reach this point before then.
Coffee is dark roasted when it becomes very deep, dark brown in color, and releases a lot of oils. These beans will appear to be oily and shiny and will feel very lightweight compared to other beans.
After the second crack, let the beans roast for an additional five to seven minutes to achieve a dark roast, but be very careful not to let the beans roast for too long; otherwise, they will burn, turn ashy, and be ruined completely.
Roasting coffee is more of an art than it is a science, and roasting coffee to the right level is an entirely personal preference. If you are roasting your own green coffee beans, it is important to explore the various roasts you can achieve and experiment until you find the roast level that you prefer.
The process of roasting coffee beans requires practice to get right, but once you find the right roast method for the beans that you like to brew, you will find that there is no better way to enjoy coffee than roasting it, grinding it, and brewing it yourself.