Coffee is a strikingly complex raw material containing over 1,000 chemical compounds – over 700 of which are responsible for its aroma alone.
That said, it is a complex process transforming the green bean into the aromatic roast coffee enjoyed by millions.
While the coffee variety and its multiple characteristics help define how the final brew will taste, the different processes along the supply chain play an important role.
These include the way in which the cherries are picked and processed. However, it is during the roasting process that many of the unique characteristics of a coffee are highlighted and developed.
It is at this stage that the sensorial profile of the coffee is developed, and slight variations in the process can lead to various outcomes.
This is why roasters strive for consistency in every batch, to ensure consumers get the same high standard with every purchase.
To help achieve consistent roasts, between batch protocol (BBP) has become common practice. This aims to develop certain activities that help roasters maintain consistency during a roast.
Read on to discover the importance of between batch protocol and why roasters should implement it.
Which variables can affect roast consistency?
Roasting coffee is the chemical and physical transformation of green beans into roast coffee consumed by millions around the world.
It is a sophisticated process that involves applying incredible heat to the green beans in order to develop the aromas and flavour notes.
Several variables can affect a coffee roast, some of which are out of the roaster’s control. These include the humidity and density of the green bean, as well as its moisture content.
However, roasters are able to manipulate factors, such as charge temperature, airflow and the amount of time the beans spend in the roaster.
Understanding how these factors can influence the final outcome will allow roasters to prepare and control against any fluctuations in roasting results.
Once the ideal roast profile has been created once, roasters face the challenge of having to replicate it multiple times. This is a vital step, as consistency is a key element needed to satisfy the market needs.
What is Between Batch Protocol (BBP)?
Roasters are consistent when each bag of coffee tastes the same as the last.
There should be no fluctuation from batch to batch, and every customer who buys the same coffee should broadly experience similar flavours.
Factors such as time and temperature are two of the most important variables that can be altered during a roast to guarantee consistency.
Additionally, roasters can implement between batch protocol (BBP). This refers to the process of resetting the thermal energy in the roaster from the last batch to the start of the next batch.
The goal is simple: to arrive at the exact same starting conditions as the first batch, helping create a consistent profile and final product.
Coffee expert and author, Scott Rao, says in his book Coffee Roasting – Best Practices that with an effective BBP, “one can roast numerous consecutive batches of coffee using identical gas settings to replicate roast curves and cupping results nearly perfectly.”
He adds that most roasters’ batches tend to get faster as a roast day progresses, which means they often need to improve their BBPs.
As coffee is roasted, heat is applied to the roaster and the beans. While this heat is absorbed by the coffee, it is also absorbed by the roasting drum.
Unless the roaster is cooled down between roasts, it will continue to get hotter and will end up roasting the beans faster.
Another point where BBP can be useful is when roasters are switching between batch sizes. Different batch sizes will require varying levels of energy input. For instance, a 4.5kg roast will leave the machine hotter directly after a roaster has spilled the beans than a 2kg roast does.
Why is Between Batch Protocol important?
A growing number of specialty coffee consumers have become interested in what happens beyond their cup of coffee.
This has pushed roasters to develop their knowledge in many areas and come up with innovative processes to meet the high expectations of the market.
A guarantee they will receive the same flavour notes and characteristics in each cup is one such expectation.
Therefore, applying BBP is no longer simply an advantage for roasters, but a necessity.
A key element in applying an effective BBP is being able to measure and control different variables of the roast.
This is where roasting software and capturing data become essential. Some roast software can track roast time, drum temperature, exhaust temperature, and rate of rise and allows for markers that show the different phases of the roast.
While achieving high-quality roasts may not implicitly require these tech plug-ins, they can make the process easier.
Roasting software also offers an opportunity for more transparency with producers, giving helpful feedback that will help improve their practice.
Another area where technology can help improve the roasting experience is the advancements in packaging. Roasters can now use 100% eco-friendly packaging without compromising quality.
Maintaining the freshness of the roast coffee is as important as maintaining consistency throughout the roast process.
At MTPak Coffee, we understand the hard work that goes into roasting coffee and are dedicated to ensuring roasters are able to provide customers with high-quality, perfectly preserved products.
We offer roasters and coffee shops a range of 100% recyclable coffee packaging options that can be custom-printed to your business specifications.
Choose from renewable materials such as kraft paper, rice paper, or multilayer LDPE packaging with an environmentally friendly PLA lining, all of which minimise waste and contribute to a circular economy.
More so, we give you complete control over the design process by allowing you to build your own coffee bags. Our design team is available to help you create the ideal coffee packaging.
Plus, we are able to custom-print coffee bags using innovative digital printing technology, with a quick turnaround time of 40-hours and 24-hour shipping time.