As you can imagine, coffee roasting is a complex art. Back when we started in the early nineties, our founders worked hard to master it, but they learned the way most coffee is roasted—at sea level—just doesn’t work here in Salt Lake. It took a while to realize why: roasting at altitude works differently… but, if you figure it out, it works deliciously.
In general, roasting beans too hot or too long results in scorched or “baked” coffee—to avoid this, you want to roast them at the lowest possible temperature for the least possible amount of time. In the higher, thinner air of our mountain valley, this is much easier. And we can achieve a smoother, more intense flavor than you could anywhere else.
Roasted at altitude.
Served down the street.
The Beans Behind it All:
Top Quality Arabica
There are two main species of coffee beans: Robusta and Arabica. Since Robusta beans are cheaper to grow, they’re often used for commercial and instant coffee. But Arabica is the good stuff: it only grows at very certain altitudes, and only in just the right conditions. But it’s worth the extra effort—these trees produce beans with an aromatic and rich flavor. That’s why most gourmet coffee, including our very own beans, comes from Arabica plants. We wouldn’t have it any other way.
FBA: Our Special Coding System
for Coffee Flavor Profiles
You already know—we’re nuts about beans. So we developed our own special system to measure the flavor, body, and acidity (FBA) of our brews. It helps us explain our different roasts to our guests, whether you’re stopping in for a hot brew or picking up a bag of beans to take home.
Just as you’d think: “flavor” describes the taste and aroma of the coffee. You might not even realize it consciously, but you notice it immediately. Flavor is a matter of preference—maybe you like sipping something mellow, or maybe you dig a deep, intense flavor.
Similarly to wine, coffee has a “mouth-feel” or body. A drink with a full body will take over the palette and have a lingering effect, while a light-bodied brew will feel clean and have no lingering feeling. A light-bodied coffee isn’t as great with cream— it’ll taste watered down. But a full-bodied coffee can taste great with cream.
Acidity is the third thing you’ll notice when you taste your coffee—it’s the tart, dry effect you feel on your tongue. A coffee with high acidity has a little bite or snap at first, then dissipates into a more dry sensation. You won’t feel this with a low-acidity brew.
Copyright 1993 • Arabica, LLC.
The Life Story of a Bean
Picking the Coffee Cherry
Every coffee bean starts its life inside a coffee cherry on the tree—about the size of a cranberry, with a sweet pulp and two little seeds (the beans!) inside. Picking these cherries is labor-intensive. Each has to be picked at the individual fruit’s ripest moment.
Harvesting the Coffee Bean
Once the coffee cherries have been picked, the outer berry pulp needs to be removed, which leaves a green coffee bean. These are sorted by size and grade, then shipped to people like us.
Roasting the Beans
Roasting is a true art form—there’s no simple recipe. It all depends on the hardness and moisture content of the bean, as well as the temperature, humidity, and altitude where it’s being roasted. It has to be supervised carefully throughout the roasting process.
Tasting the Coffee
Mmm, the fun part! We assess everything about the roast: the aroma, balance, bitterness, aftertaste, and complexity. Once we’ve made sure the taste is spot-on, we serve it up to friends like you.