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The Art of Roasting Coffee

A bean by any other name would still be a bean. A green Colombian coffee bean looks pretty much like a Kenyan or a Guatemalan variety and, depending on whether it was washed or dried, they typically look the same with no discernable difference in taste or appearance. The roasting process makes the difference.


Coffee With Cinnamon

The Roasting Process

Roasting coffee is an art that's similar to crafting fine wine. Roasting serves to unleash the hidden attributes that growers and Mother Nature have instilled in their fruit seedlings. Growing conditions—including soil, sun, and shade—all play a part in the taste, and the lengthy growing process is for naught if the bean's essence isn't released by the heat of roasting.

Roast Varieties

The multitude of the world's roast styles vary from extremely light-roasted to very dark, black, and oily varieties. Each color scale named and classified by roast, which are usually called American, Cinnamon, New Orleans, Half City, Full City, or Italian. At Rocky Mountain Roasting Co. in Bozeman, Montana, we use just two terms to define our roasts: "Viennese" and "French."


The Viennese Roast

Our Viennese coffee is brown in color and finished with the oil just leaking out. The oil is likely to hide barely out of sight under the outer shell of the finished bean. We aim to bring the tastes of the growing conditions that are hidden in the bean to come forward in this style. Consider the brightness of a crisp Colombian bean that retains the aroma of smoke to add sweetness and flavor. Viennese roasts cover some of the light tastes.

French Roast

A French roast isn't possible for all beans since it requires that the bean will be held in the roaster for a greater amount of time. The growing altitude affects the appropriate roasting technique. Higher-altitude beans (grown at 3,200 feet and above) are known as a strictly hard bean (SHB). They will handle longer roasting times and higher heat that act to caramelize the sugars to a darker brown and pull the oils out of the bean. When the oils hit the hot steel drum, they create smoke that is absorbed into the bean. With the right touch, the full, rich taste that the bean has hidden inside is released.

Our Coffee Gift Packages & Clubs

In addition to ordering our blends, ask us about our coffee gift packages that are sure to please. We even have a coffee-of-the-month club so you can enjoy delicious coffee delivered to your home year-round.  Ask us about our additional products today.