What I didn’t know about Roasting Coffee!

We have been roasting coffee now for 2 1/2 years. It has been an awesome journey & we have learned a lot. Below you’ll find some of the things we have learned along the way!


  • There are two kinds of coffee beans in the world:
    • Arabica is what we mostly drink in this country. It is a better quality bean and tastes better. It has less caffeine than it’s counter part mentioned below.
    • Rabusta is an inferior bean that is used & grown in a number of countries around the world. Furnace Hills uses it in one of our blends to get a bite. Can you guess which one that is?
  • There are several ways to roast coffee:
    • You can use drum roasters. These roasters are usually gas fired and come in sizes that can roast as little as a pound at a time up to 500 pounds at a time. The Big Boys use
      English: Diedrich IR Series Coffee Roaster

      English: Diedrich IR Series Coffee Roaster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

      the latter.

    • You can use fluid bed roasters. These are roasters that use hot air. They are sort of like giant air popcorn poppers. We use Sonofresco roasters
    • You can roast at home. Use a frying pan on your stove or a hot air popcorn popper. There are a number of home roasters you can purchase as well.
  • I have learned that the more you roast coffee the more you roast the caffeine out of it! That’s right! So the darker the roast the less caffeine it has in it. If you want a real jolt, go with a lighter roast. I’ll bet you the first time you do it will give you the shakes!
  • I didn’t know you grow coffee between the 25’s! Yes coffee is best grown between 25 degrees north & south. That’s a narrow band that circumnavigates our earth. In that band you have countries like Indonesia, Brazil, Bolivia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Columbia, Costa Rica and many more that grow great coffee. Many of those listed above we roast!
  • I didn’t know how well the developmentally disabled can roast coffee and they really love doing it too! Yesterday around 3 pm Erin came out with her usual comment on Sundays, “Tomorrow I get to go to work!” She loves roasting coffee. Those that work at Happy Cup Roasting (http://happycup.com/) in Portland, OR and Aspire Coffee Works (https://www.aspirecoffeeworks.com/) in Chicago, IL love their jobs too!

Check out our coffees that Erin has roast at (http://furnacehillscoffee.com)! You’ll be surprised what those with developmental disabilities can do!

What did you learn about coffee roasting today? Let us know.

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