To achieve the ultimate roasts from the Arabica beans, we rely both on art and science. We begin by placing small batches of green coffee beans in a hopper, which directs them into a rotating drum inside a roaster. After 5-7 minutes, the beans turn yellow, indicating a loss of moisture. They then begin to make cracking sounds, much like that of popcorn popping. They are, in fact, popping open and doubling in size.
Since each variety of beans requires a different roast time, rapid-fire samples are frequently taken during the roasting process. Experienced roastmasters use both smell and sight to determine when the desired roast has been achieved. As the beans reach optimum color, they are released into a large metal pan, or cooling tray. Giant fans air-cool the coffee to room temperature, during which the coffee darkens one final shade.