Coffee Roasting Process – The Importance of Profiles and KALVE Coffee’s Approach

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Coffee Roasting Process – The Importance of Profiles and KALVE Coffee’s Approach

KALVE Coffee Roasters philosophy is that coffee is perfect in its cherry and our primary goal is to highlight the natural flavours, sweetness and balance of coffee.

Each coffee is unique and asks for tailored roast profile to bring out all the goodness coffee has to offer. Each coffee has its unique roasting profile with specific roast curve, roast time and set maximum temperature.

In KALVE Coffee Roastery, we use three gas-powered roasters BESCA with capacities of 2kg, 15kg, and 120kg respectively. We also have a small electric sample roaster. A sample roaster is usually used when we receive farm samples before contracting and buying coffee in bulk. This means that we already know what quality coffee can offer before we buy it. This allows us to start working on coffee’s roast profile as soon as we receive a fresh batch of green coffee.

We also archive all our previous coffee roast profiles which builds a good understanding of how growing region and processing method affects the coffee. Coffee’s regional origins and chosen processing method will offer certain similar characteristics in chemical composition of the coffee. By archiving all roast profiles, we can pinpoint a starting point for designing the individual roast profile. We use our 2 KG roaster to develop the first roast profile, so we can roast less coffee in the roast profile’s development phase. Usually, it takes at least two tries to develop the sweetest and most balanced roast profile.

Quality controls are an important and crucial part of the coffee roasting process. KALVE conducts quality control for their entire coffee portfolio weekly. We ensure not only high-quality coffee but also consistency of high-quality. Weekly quality controls allow us to monitor both the quality and consistency of our roasts and adjust the roast profile as needed to maintain the desired quality and balance, and do it consistently. Additionally, we freeze the first roast samples of every coffee each month, to do a quarterly cupping of allthe coffees, that way ensuring that our profiles remain consistent in extended periods of time.

Each coffee also undergoes a 3-month aging quality check after coffee has arrived at the roastery. Three months after the initial Quality scoring (Q scoring) of the coffee, we do another Q scoring to re-evaluate the coffee’s sensory quality. If quality diminishes, which is a normal and natural process for green coffee, the price is adjusted to maintain a fair and appropriate balance between price and quality.

How coffee is roasted and why coffee needs roasting?

Roasting is necessary for two reasons – firstly, green coffee beans are very dense, making it impossible to grind green beans, thus, roasting is necessary to make coffee more soluble. Secondly, coffee has a complex chemical structure with over 1000 different compounds, including salts, minerals, fats, acids, sugars etc.; and many of them are developed and changed during the roasting process.

A coffee roasting machine is equipped with a large rotating drum, which is heated by a gas flame. Coffee beans are placed inside the drum, which rotates and ensures continuous rotation and mixing. The coffee is heated or roasted by circulating hot air and the drum’s walls.

There are four main variables – air flow, drum speed, flame and roasting time – which can be individually or jointly changed to adjust roasting and the quality of the end roast.

Important point of reference during the roast is what in the industry is called – first crack. It happens when the coffee bean heats up to the level where moisture and carbon dioxide, formed from the chemical reactions, escape the bean. First crack is indicated by a cracking or popping sound, similar to when making popcorn.

Roasting process can be divided into two phases – before and after the first crack. During the first part, coffee develops the enzymatic compounds which make up floral, berry, fruity, and herby flavors. Enzymatic compounds are formed and evolve in coffee during the time while coffee is on the farm – while growing and while being processed. Growing conditions and processing will affect and shape enzymatic composition of the coffee bean. Together with enzymatic compounds, also salts, minerals, and acids evolve till the first crack. Second part of the roasting process develops chocolatey, caramelly, and nutty flavors, and those are known as sugar browning compounds and they occur because of the caramelization process which is caused by high levels of sugars in the coffee and the heat produced by roasting. Our task with roasting is to find the right settings and roast profile to emphasize coffee’s characteristics in a good and balanced way. For example, our natural coffee from Finca La Palma has a high level of natural sweetness and flavors of very ripe tropicals and citrus. We want to emphasize the good and mouthwatering characteristics of lime candy, sweet tropicals, and vanilla during the first phase and during the second

phase we bring out the natural sweetness and compliment it with a silky texture.

Roasting process can also include the second crack. The second crack develops full-bodied, creamy texture and taste notes of intense chocolate and sweet caramel. Our espresso blend Toffee is roasted with the second crack to have a full-bodied, thick and creamy texture. Thanks to well-developed and adjusted roast profiles, we can offer a consistent taste profile all year round, while the coffees making up the blend change seasonally.

What’s the difference between espresso and filter roast?

Espresso roasts are roasted for a longer time and result in a darker color and less dense beans. As a result, when brewing you need less extraction or brewing time, but higher temperature and pressure(temp. – 94-96C ; pressure 6 – 9 bar). Coffee roasted as an espresso will offer a full-bodied, more intense cup.

On the other hand, filter roasts are roasted for a shorter time and have a lighter color, but more dense beans. Filter roast aims to develop the enzymatic or natural occurring compounds of the coffee and has more developed acids. Filter roasts technically develop fewer sugar browning or caramelization compounds. Therefore, filter roasts tend to have more nuanced flavors than espresso roasts. Our suggestion for filter coffees is to use a coarser grind size, lower water temperature (90-95C), and longer brewing time. But it is not a rule, it is a recommendation for making a perfect, balanced cup with your comfort brewing method. In professional coffee competitions, it is a lot about experimentation. Using very light roasted coffee in an espresso machine or experimenting with different funky brew ratios.

Fact! In KALVE, we classify our coffees as espresso, filter or omni roast. Omni roast is sort of a compromise roast and means coffee will be suitable for any preparation method, however only a few coffees are suitable for omni roast. Technically, any coffee can taste good as an espresso or filter roast, but usually, that asks for two different roast profiles.

However, the in-cup method is the safest and most versatile coffee preparation method that is fit for any roast. Coffee professionals all around the world use in-cup or cupping methods to taste, evaluate and control the quality of the coffee.

Want to know more about what happens to coffee before it arrives at KALVE? Read our blog on

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