I’ve been doing some photography for Whole Foods recently. They have been sending me to photograph the production of various local food products for use in marketing and store decor. This time it was off to Gorilla Coffee in Brooklyn to get images of the coffee roasting process. What can’t be conveyed through images though, is the smell of all that roasting coffee… Mmmmm!
The process here starts with raw coffee beans roasted in small batches, 30lbs at a time.
The raw coffee beans are placed into a cylindrical roasting oven by hand.
Paddles inside the oven slowly tumble the beans during heating. Beans are roasted at about 425-475 degrees for about 12-18 minutes, depending on the type of beans and desired darkness.
At the precise moment, the hot beans are dumped into an open hopper with rotating paddles that stir the beans while air is blown from below to cool the beans and stop the cooking process. During this phase, any loose chaff (hulls, casings) from the beans falls through the grating at the bottom and is removed.
The cooling completed, roasted beans are ready to be put into bags for sale.
Next, the beans are placed into a bagging machine that dispenses exactly the right weight into hand held bags.
The bags are manually closed and marked with the roasting date.
The roasting date is the key. Fresh roasted coffee should be brewed and consumed within 10 days. According to coffee roaster Diedrich Coffee’s website, “Freshness is probably the most misunderstood factor about coffee. The date of the roast is the key to freshness. Without sophisticated packaging, coffee beans lose more than half of their flavor within two weeks. After six weeks the oils become rancid. Exposure to air and moisture accelerates the decomposition of the flavors. Freezing the beans may stop this decomposition but freezing also destroys the delicate oils and aromatics. Never freeze a quality fresh roasted coffee.”
You can read more about what makes an “Exceptional Cup of Coffee” here.