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Roasted Coffee Beans - An Overview: Specialty Coffee & More!

If you dive into the java pool, you’ll find an overwhelming amount of details. Information that is so intricate that only a few could get hold of it. It is what differentiates a specialty coffee enthusiast from a regular coffee drinker. The world of roasted coffee beans has many twists and turns. Are you willing to drive on them and become a connoisseur of java?

The content here will revolve around some basics and then take a deep plunge into the details of roasting. It will also touch on topics like the global supply chain of coffee beans, how you can pick the right profile of these delights for your joe time, and lastly introduce 3 great products.

What differentiates a regular cup of coffee from a specialty coffee? It’s the grade. A cup of joe that receives an 80 or above rating by the SCA, comes under the specialty umbrella. This only happens after a thorough check of several factors. In general, a specialty coffee cup should have no primary defects and less than five secondary defects. An eye-opener, not all coffee beans in the market result in specialty coffee! Many just brand their mix of beans as 100% Arabica to get attention but in reality, these packs/jars contain an Arabica+Robusta mixture.

One of the best ways to differentiate the pure breeds from clones/blends is by tracking the source. Check out our Coffee 101 page to know more about how you can pick the ideal beans for your java time. In short, one can do a hand-crunch test, ziplock bag test, and shine test.

Coming back to the topic, specialty coffee beans grow around the world, but most of them come from the South American continent. Countries such as Brazil and Colombia account for maximal supply. In addition, most coffee farms lie near the equator and at high altitudes. The conditions in this region are favorable for high yields and better quality berries. If you take a look at a map that showcases these farms, you’ll notice that most of them lie between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn. The climate in this area on the planet is perfect for growing beans.

Two Main Streams Of Coffee Beans Worldwide

If you go down the road to the discovery of coffee, you’ll find that there are two major paths that define the entire journey. One can also think of these beans as the foundation of all types of coffee beans available in the market today. They are Arabica and Robusta Coffee beans.

The first is responsible for about 70% global supply of java, whereas the other accounts for the rest. Arabica coffee beans divide further into variations such as Ethiopian, Bourbon, Typica, Caturra, Villa Sarchi, Lempira, Costa Rica 95, and more. On the other hand, Robusta variations include Catimor, Arabusta, and Icatu. The Arabica beans have the right balance between caffeine, flavor, aroma, and acidity, whereas the Robusta varieties have high caffeine content.

Characteristics Of Coffee Beans Grown In Different Regions

As mentioned earlier, coffee beans grow near the equator. Here are some regions and the type of coffee beans that grow in their soil. The three areas where the finest coffee beans originate:

  • Latin America
    The specialty coffee beans from this area tend to possess a light body, high acidity, and sweet tones. These are generally medium roasted and make a perfect drink for brunch.

  • Africa
    The premium coffee beans from this area possess a medium body and provide a syrupy feel. These get dark roasted to balance the complex flavors. Ideal milk companion.

  • Indonesia and the Pacific Islands
    Lastly, the freshly roasted coffee beans from this area possess a heavy body, low acidity, and earthy flavors. They go under a rigorous dark roasting process and provide smooth and flowery undertones. The brew made from them is right to go with rich desserts.

Stages Of Roasting 100% Arabica Coffee Beans

We understand that there are four types of roasts available in the market. They are light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. All of these have a different tone and feel. But do you know the steps that lead to these roasts? If not, here is the one-step at a time process.

  • Green Coffee Bean
    This is the first stage that the raw arabica coffee beans go through. They start absorbing the heat in the roasters and start turning pale. These delights take some time to reach drum temperature and then the turning point, where the real magic happens. At this point, the beans emanate a raw, grass-like aroma and are not drinkable.

  • Yellow Coffee Bean
    The beans have begun turning blonde. The sugar combines with amino acids and gives out a non-enzymatic browning. The smell turns hay-like. At this stage, the beans possess higher caffeine levels and thus may taste severely bitter, as well as, sour.

  • Tan Coffee Bean
    The specialty coffee beans begin caramelizing, resulting in an orangish-light brown color. It is the step where they emanate a sweeter smell. The beans start looking like the ones we are used to seeing. They are just about to reach the brew-worthy phase.

  • First Crack On The Coffee Bean
    Similar to popcorn, the beans crack. This can be sudden and loud or slow and long. It all depends on the way of roasting the amazing treats. They are now ready to brew. One must accompany these beans with a citrus or lemon tone. The lightly roasted coffee beans possess the highest caffeine content, are acidic, and retain origin flavors.

  • Development Time Of The Coffee Beans
    The time limit of keeping the coffee beans in roasters after the first crack depends on your method. What many fail to comprehend is that even an extra 30-seconds can impact the final flavor profile. For your information, the medium roasted coffee beans are the seeds that receive heat until just the end of “First Crack”, the medium-dark roasted coffee beans are the seeds that receive heat until just after “Second Crack”, and the dark roasted coffee beans are the seeds that receive heat until the end of “Second Crack”.

  • Second Crack On The Coffee Bean
    If the roasters need to incorporate their tailored flavors in the bean, they go on heating the seed and add special ingredients as and when needed. At this stage, the coffee beans lose most of their caffeine value, become less acidic, and prominently retain the flavors of the roasting process. They have an oily surface and a robust full body.

  • Cooling Roasted Coffee Beans
    In the end, the highly heated coffee beans go in the freezer. The key to cooling these delights is pace! The faster the process of cooling, the better the brew. Roasters apply vacuum systems for this stage and ‘quenching’ via the misting process.

Top Coffee Beans Supply Chain Facts

The long process of supplying gourmet coffee beans to customers involves harvesting, hulling, drying, packing, bulking, blending, and roasting. Here are some facts to leave you amazed!

  • The average global per capita consumption of coffee is 1 Kg.
  • One cup of joe includes about 70 coffee beans. The global coffee beans production reached about 160 million 60-kilogram bags recently.
  • Brazil is the highest producer of coffee beans, followed by Vietnam, Colombia, Indonesia, and Ethiopia. Brazil has held the top spot for the last 150 years.
  • The demand for coffee is growing at about 6% every year.
  • The Netherlands consumes the most coffee per capita, i.e. 8.3 kilograms!


We have reached on final thoughts part of the blog, but it feels like there is so much more to know about specialty coffee beans. Well, do follow the content on the Coffee 101 page and buy coffee beans online through the web store. OK But First Coffee sells three packs, namely Mornin’ Kick, Midday Stroll, and Chill Thirty. All three offer single origin, 100% Arabica, responsibly sourced, and artisan-crafted coffee beans. Check out their details to know more.

Furthermore, the website provides the perfect coffee club subscription plan for all java lovers. It offers awesome discounts, free delivery, and fresher batches. One can use the coffee calculator to measure their needs and place an order accordingly. See you on the member list soon!

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