Coffee roasting is a process where details matter. As the beverage has been perfected in small and large production scales for thousands of years, tips, tricks, and knowledge of the best how-tos specialize the trade. Experts know better than anyone: any difference in the drum, its temperature, and nearly any environmental factors change the final flavor and product. Because of these intricacies, professionals use certain benchmarks to gauge their coffee roasting temperature throughout the procedure.
The Significance of Cracks
One of these common benchmarks are cracks. The first crack is a sound which happens at a certain temperature during coffee roasting. Roastmasters use these popping sounds as signals for the coffee roasting temperature. With so much going on throughout the craft already, the first crack gives you an easy read on what the heat element is doing and how fast.
Temperature and Timing
Depending on the bean, the first crack comes at around 196°C. There are two points when the beans will make notable sounds: simply put the first and second crack. Depending on how long the roast is, you might stop just before or after a crack to consistently cook your beans, just like you might stop at a certain time when baking a cake.
Comparing to Popcorn Popping
Similar to popcorn popping, beans expand slightly at the first crack in. Moisture and oils come to the surface of the bean. This effect is responsible for the noise as well, which have been used for decades in the industry. Before the crack, the beans will be smaller with a lightly brown matte surface. Afterwards, they will be plumper with a dark brown, or coffee-colored, sheen.
Importance of Consistency
Copying the specifics in your recipe to get that perfect result every time is always important. Learning about the first crack and what it does helps even the most experienced caffeine lovers enjoy their cups everyday.