What’s the difference between a light roast and a dark roast? Let’s take a deeper look at the process that creates our favorite caffeinated beans.
Coffee beans originally take the form of green cherries before they are roasted. These green beans do not smell like coffee and are soft and sponge-like. Split Rock’s coffee is hand picked in high altitude regions around the world. Whether it be Colombia, Mexico, or Papua New Guinea, Split Rock Coffee sources the highest quality Arabica beans from sustainable farmers. Each region has their own picking and washing process to optimize the flavor and freshness of the bean. Green beans can be kept for a long period of time without losing any flavor or quality. That is why we roast our beans locally to prioritize freshness.
The beans are blended with beans of other origins to create the perfect combination of flavors for your cup. Our medium roast Breakfast Blend contains coffee from Mexico, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Our dark roast Coffeehouse Blend includes beans from Mexico and Papua New Guinea. In the case of our single origin light roast, only Colombian coffee from the Bucaramanga region is used. With the help of master roasters, we determined the ideal blend of beans that deliver consistent flavor and energy.
Once the beans are blended, the coffee roasting process can begin. The coffee cherries are loaded into the roasters. The main “drum” is preheated to a temperature between 370 and 540 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans are then roasted according to their desired color outcome. The longer the beans stay in the roaster, the darker the roast becomes. The roasting process can take anywhere from 10 to 20 minutes depending on the roast. Our light roast takes the least amount of time, while our dark roast stays in the roaster until it is almost considered decaf. The longer the beans are roasted, the more caffeine the coffee loses. So a lighter roast will provide you with much more caffeine than a dark roast.
While the beans are in the roaster, the heat causes them to expand. Eventually the beans reach the point where the sugars and oils take on the flavor of coffee rather than the raw green bean. The coffee bean browns as the natural sugars caramelize, creating that lovely coffee smell. As the beans continue to heat, you can hear audible cracks as the pressure builds. Once this cracking starts, the heat is typically lowered, especially for lighter roasts.
Once the coffee beans have reached their desired roast level, they are moved to the cooling section. Once cool, they pass through a machine that removes any other debris, including the outer shell of the bean, called “chaff”, that has fallen off. Removing this outer shell is a crucial step in the roasting process because it guarantees that our coffee will not taste bitter. It also ensures that we maintain the low level of acidity in all of our coffee so that you can drink as much as you want without the worry of an upset stomach. Once filtered by the machine, the beans are then checked again by hand for any defects before being packaged and sealed for freshness.
So there you have it. Split Rock Coffee’s careful selection of beans combined with the tedious, calculated roasting process have created a consistent product line to satisfy every coffee drinker. Head to splitrockcoffee.com/shop/ to discover your new favorite way to wake up every morning.