- The most important part of delivering exceptional coffee is choosing the right bean. Foothills has built relationships with coffee buyers and farmers, often sourcing from regions that are just beginning to produce specialty coffee.
- Once we have our beans to roast the next step is finding the best way to roast that particular coffee. Coffee can subtly change from year to year, farm to farm and even lot to lot. Coffee has over 850 aromatic and flavor compounds (wine only has 200).
- Foothills employs a cast iron and steel drum roaster. We chose this equipment because it gives us the most control over the development of the coffee throughout the entire roast cycle.
- There are multiple stages that coffee goes through throughout the roasting process:
- The drying phase, which uses full heat and slower air movement to dry the beans in the roaster
- The caramelization phase, between 300-395 degrees, where as the temperature of the bean increases gases and water vapor build until the cell walls of the bean break — making a loud popping sound known as first crack.
- The development phase, when more sugars begin to break down offering the finished coffee more body and sweetness.
- Final phase is to finish the roast, from 405 degrees for light roasted coffees all the way through “second crack” (around 434 degrees) to French and Italian roasts ending as high as 480 degrees (at 490 degrees coffee hits its flash point and will catch on fire).
It takes a combination of science, artistry, and happy accidents to make the best coffee.
It’s a challenge we gladly accept here at Foothills.