The more information you can get on a batch of coffee, the better. Considering the diversity of coffee coming from Brazil, it’s important to check the specific information for the lot you’re working with.
An understanding of altitudes and its effect on density will help with knowing how much heat to apply and when during roasting. The density of a bean will affect how the bean roasts. Simply, high-density (hard) beans respond quicker to heat, while low-density (soft) beans respond slower.
Brazilian natural, that has low density, requiring longer development rates and slower roasting profiles. Or a higher density bean, from Espírito Santo for example, needs higher initial heat and shorter roasting time.
Higher-density beans typically have more sweetness and fruity acidity. Lower-density beans are more chocolaty and nutty. Brazilian specialty coffee grown at lower altitudes is well known for sweetness, which can be accentuated during roasting. The recommendation is that heat should be more gradually applied to help retain the fruitier notes.
Be aware of how you roast lower-density naturals as they run the risk of scorching. Less dense coffees have more air pockets, which slow the transfer of heat inside the bean and can result in a burnt exterior. Opting for a lower charge temperature can help reduce the risk of scorching low-density beans.
The coffee processing method can also affect the approach to roasting. The pulped naturals are common in Brazil.
When roasting, the difference between naturals and pulped naturals is in the developing time. The recommendation is shorter development time for naturals to help retain the fruity notes.
Brazilian naturals have got fragile structures, which take a lot of attention because they can get damaged at any time.
The pulped naturals, which can accentuate a heavier body, as well as higher acidity, may not need such a short development. However, chemical reactions after the first crack happen quickly so make sure you’re carefully watching the roast to ensure sweetness is enhanced without going too far to create burnt sugar flavours.
Each coffee-growing region grows different varieties, including Catuai, Mundo Novo, and Icatu. Each variety grows at different speeds and in different ways, which directly affects the size and density of the bean, and therefore how it roasts. Each variety’s characteristics should be taken into account when roasting. Variance in size and density requires different approaches to roasting and different speeds.
A key point for roasting Brazilian specialty coffee is finding the best method and profile for your individual batch of coffee. Take into consideration all the factors about where it was grown and how it’s processed to best accentuate its features.
Brazil is diverse, and with that comes the ability to grow a multitude of different coffees with varying qualities. Roasters must learn which different factors to consider when roasting specialty Brazilian coffee as it will vary dramatically depending on which variety it is, where it’s grown, how it’s processed.
It’s time to discover the world of Brazilian specialty coffee and what roasters can achieve through roasting.