The Barbell Difference
Why Barbell Brew?
With so many coffee options to choose from, how are you, the coffee lover, supposed to know where to start? A great cup of coffee begins with the origin of the beans. We source all of our coffee from small, microlot community farms so you can be sure every bean of Barbell Brew is of the highest quality. Second, the method in which the beans are roasted greatly impacts the final product. We specialize in the rarely-used technique, air roasting (or fluid bed roasting). This method is what sets us apart from the competition.
Our premium, single-origin coffee beans are air-roasted in two-pound batches. Small batch roasting allows for specific temperature profiles to be used, enhancing regional flavors and creating a smooth tasteful cup that is never bitter.
Where the magic happens!
What is Air Roasted Coffee?
Air roasted coffee is roasted on a fluid bed of hot air as opposed to the traditional technique of tumbling in a hot steel drum. Coffee lovers who prefer air roasted coffee insist the taste is smoother and less bitter than traditional drum roasted coffee. “Sivetz roasting,” as air roasting is sometimes called named after the inventor Mike Sivetz, became mildly popular in the 1970’s. However, despite the many benefits it offers, it still remains a relatively unheard of process today, a method only used to roast 1-2% of all coffee.
The Barbell Process
To understand why some people prefer coffee of the air-roasted variety, let’s first look at how this method works. Generally, our roasting process consists of the following:
- Our green coffee beans are placed into the roasting chamber where they will levitate on a bed of very hot air pushing through the chamber in one continuous motion. This apparatus is called a “fluid bed.” As each individual bean floats in this vortex, it is roasted on all sides at a consistent temperature maintained by the air throughout the process.
- During the roasting process, the beans will pop and crack until the chaff (outer husk of the bean) is blown off and collected into a separate chamber before settling. This chaff is continually removed and separated throughout the process. We'll explain the importance of this later.
- When the desired roast level (determined by preselected roasting time and temperature) is achieved, the cooling process begins.
The Barbell Difference
Now that we better understand the air roasting process, let’s look into the difference between air roasting and drum roasting coffee beans.
Fluid Bed vs. Mechanical Arm
Instead of relying on a fluidized bed of hot air to roast the coffee beans, drum roasting relies on a mechanical arm to stir the beans inside a steel drum. As the beans tumble against the scalding hot metal interior, the temperature of the beans changes with each new position.
When consuming air-roasted coffee, the very first difference you will notice is the taste. Coffee drinkers who drink air-roasted coffee claim it is the purest taste, less acidic and less bitter than drum roasted coffee. The reason for the difference in taste comes down to the chaff, that outer skin that comes off the bean during air roasting.
In traditional roasting, there is no means for removing the chaff during roasting. Rather than separating it, this debris remains in the drum or barrel. This will often result in burning and/or smoking, which ultimately affects the flavor of the coffee, particularly dark roasted coffee.