Sumatra, an island of Indonesia, is the largest producer of Indonesian coffee. The coffees from Sumatra are bold in character, and hold up particularly well in the roasting process. That’s why so many of the dark roast options at Armeno Coffee Roasters are coffees from Sumatra. Other coffees that have excellent flavor at a Full City roast, quickly break down as the roast progresses to leave you with that burnt taste that, unfortunately, is often mistaken for sophisticated coffee flavor.
At Armeno, we prefer to taste the bean and not the burn, and we take care to apply the darker roast to coffees that hold their flavor through the process. Sumatra Takengon, a fair trade organic coffee from the Gayo region of Indonesia is one of these coffees, and Armeno offers the coffee in three distinctive roasts: Full City, Viennese, and French Roast. Each of these three roasting stages represents a mere 30 seconds of additional roasting time, but the effect on coffee flavor is significant.
This is where coffee roasting blends art with chemistry. The process of roasting coffee beans first drives the moisture from the bean. As the structure of the bean begins to break down and the oils begin to migrate outward, an audible “crack” may be heard. In the large Armeno coffee roaster, this almost sounds like popping corn. The bean has begun to turn a light brown at this point, and the aroma of roasted coffee floats on the air. As the bean darkens, and the sugars caramelize, you reach the stage known as full city roast. At this stage, the Armeno Sumatra Takengon coffee produces a cup with a rich and sweet flavor.
As the coffee bean continues to roast, the breakdown of the bean continues and you hear a second “crack” indicative of the Viennese roast. For many coffees, the characteristics of the roast begin to eclipse the flavor of the bean, but Armeno Sumatra Takengon holds up particularly well. The caramelized sugars maintain the sweetness of the cup, but the acidity has begun to break down, along with the fruity characteristics of the coffee. If you enjoy a darker flavor, but aren’t a fan of French Roast, the Sumatra Tankengon Viennese may be for you.
As the coffee darkens, the sugars burn away and the oils are pushed further out of the bean, creating an oily sheen. The coffee takes on a smokey characteristic. This is the French Roast. The trick for the coffee roaster is to halt the process while the flavor of the bean remains. This requires both a coffee roasting artist (Armeno coffee roaster, John Parks), and a coffee bean with strong character (in this case, Sumatra Takengon Fair Trade Organic). Otherwise, all you are left with is the burn. Armeno Sumatra Takengon French Roast delivers a dark, bold flavor that maintains the integrity of the coffee bean while delivering the darker coffee flavor preferred by many coffee drinkers.
Armeno offers one pound and half-pound bags of each of these roasts. Why not plan your own side by side comparison? Post your impressions on our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/armenocoffeeroasters.