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How to roast coffee beans - according to Pact

We often receive this question from our customers: “Why are our coffee beans so light, shouldn’t they be darker?”

The answer: We deliberately roast our beans lighter than the industry average.

Why do we do that? What does it mean for the strength of our coffee? And what does all this have to do with toast?

Those are three questions we’re going to answer. Right here, right now.

We roast our coffee lighter.

We do this to retain the individuality of our coffees. When we say ‘individuality’ we mean the more subtle flavours that can be both revealed and also hidden by the roasting process. These flavours tend to fall into one of three categories:

  • Natural flavours : the floral or citrusy notes, that emerge when the coffee is grown and then processed.
  • Light roasting flavours: typically chocolatey and nutty, which emerge when the coffee is lightly roasted.
  • Heavy roasting flavours: the smoky or spicy flavours that develop from a heavy roasting.

As you can probably imagine, the latter two of these cannot be squeezed into the same coffee bean. It’s a bit like with toast…

The Toast Analogy

Roasting coffee is very similar to toasting bread. For most people, the perfect piece of toast is a nice golden brown colour – not too pale, not too dark.

With a cracking piece of toast like that, the natural flavours of the bread are complemented by a lovely sweetness because the bread has actually been slightly caramelised. If you burn your toast, all you can really taste is the burnt, charred bit. Some people like that, but for most a piece of burnt toast is a tragic story of what could have been.

Back to coffee…

Just like the toaster, the roaster faces two options:

  1. They can choose to heavily roast the beans, replacing their natural flavours with smoky or spicy notes. This is generally how supermarket or high street chain coffee is roasted. They opt for a dark, oily bean that is easy to reproduce, making sure the coffee tastes the same whatever international branch you happen to find yourself in…

  2. They can lightly roast their beans, like we do at Pact. This maintains the natural flavours of the coffee, while adding some lovely light roast notes too

    • producing the matte, lighter coloured bean.

So that’s what we do and why we do it. Sometimes we get emails from customers asking about this so, hopefully, this post has been helpful. If it’s raised any further questions then feel free to comment below or email ahoy@pactcoffee.com – our Customer Champions love to chat coffee.