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A brief History of Coffee roasting

A brief History of Coffee roasting

Hey coffee lovers, do you know how your favorite drink got its amazing aroma and flavour? A lot of it has to do with the green bean, how it is stored, sourced and processed. The rest of it is down to the roasting process, which has a long and fascinating history. Let's take a quick look at how coffee roasting evolved over the centuries and what kind of equipment was used to transform green beans into brown gold.

The earliest evidence of coffee roasting dates back to the 15th century in Yemen, where coffee beans were roasted in metal pans over open fires. The beans were then ground and brewed in a pot called a cezve. This method is still used today in some parts of the world, especially in Turkey and the Middle East.

In the 17th century, coffee spread to Europe and became a popular drink among the aristocracy and the intellectuals. The first coffee roasters were simple metal cylinders that were rotated over a fire by a handle. The roaster had to rely on his senses of sight, smell and sound to determine when the beans were done. This was a skill that required experience and intuition.

In the 18th century, coffee roasting became more industrialized with the invention of large-scale roasters that could roast hundreds of pounds of beans at a time. These machines used hot air, steam or gas to heat the beans and had mechanisms to control the temperature and the airflow. Some of them also had devices to collect the chaff, the thin skin that comes off the beans during roasting.

In the 19th century, coffee roasting became more scientific with the development of thermometers, timers and gauges that allowed for more precise and consistent results. The first electric roasters were also introduced, which made roasting more convenient and efficient. Some of the most famous roasters of this era were Probat, Sirocco and Royal.

In the  late 20th century, coffee roasting reached new heights of innovation and diversity with the emergence of different styles and preferences around the world. From light to dark, from single origin to blend, from espresso to filter, there was a roast for every taste and occasion. We call this movement into the specialty coffee scene as "third wave". Before this "third wave", coffee was generally commodity coffee that was mass produced.

In the 21st century, coffee roasting continues to evolve with new technologies and trends that aim to improve the quality and sustainability of coffee production. Some of the current developments include infrared roasting, fluid bed roasting, micro-roasting and home-roasting. Coffee lovers can now enjoy a wide range of flavors and aromas from different origins and roasts.

So there you have it, a brief overview of the history of coffee roasting and the innovations of roasting equipment through the ages.


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