Ethiopian coffee has an unmistakable flavor that is sensitive and delicate; in the aftertaste, one can detect notes of jasmine flower, bergamot, and blueberry. The coffee has a light body and a mild, pleasant acidity. Ethiopian coffees are typically heavy and winey or floral and tea-like.
Complexity and diversity are the variables to consider when developing a roasting strategy for Ethiopian coffee beans.A light to medium roast, and just enough energy at the right time to bring out the flavor potential.
A medium roast is optimal in terms of acidity, flavor, and body. If the roast is allowed to become too dark, the flavors are lost. However, figuring out how to achieve the perfect roast is difficult. Ethiopian coffee beans are finicky and small, making roasting them successfully difficult.
To begin, you can use a hot air popcorn popper, but if you don't have one, you can use a skillet (although getting a consistent roast will be significantly more difficult due to the manual stirring required).
Essentially, the roast can be divided into three stages: drying, browning, and first crack plus development. The coffee will initially be green, but as heat is applied, the water in the seed evaporates as steam.
After the seeds have lost all moisture, they will turn yellow and eventually brown due to Maillard reactions. Polysaccharides degrade into simpler carbohydrate chains and then into simple sugars, which degrade further.
Then the first crack occurs like popcorn. Stop roasting when the cracking slows down and appears to be nearly complete. Ethiopian coffee should not be taken very dark, as the flavors are more delicate and prone to burning.
Roasting in a pan should take approximately 9-15 minutes. Roast longer if it tastes green and excessively acidic. If it tastes burnt and bitter, roast it for a shorter period of time.
Enjoy your roasting journey!
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