As the green beans enter the roaster, they contain roughly 12% water. This moisture must be dried off before the beans can begin the process of releasing all of the wonderful flavors and aromas locked inside. With the roaster set at 400*F, the first 4-6 minutes are spent drying off this moisture and raising the bean temperature. The end of the drying phase is signaled by a color change in the beans from it's raw, jade green color to a pale yellow, as well as by a grassy or bread like aroma. Once the beans are dried, they begin to undergo many physical and chemical changes which result in the beans swelling in size as well as the forming of the numerous flavor compounds we so enjoy. When the beans reach a temperature of around 390*F, remaining moisture at the cellular level turns to steam and begins escaping from the beans resulting in a series of audible snaps and pops known as First Crack. This is quite noticeable and sounds a lot like a loud bowl of Rice Krispies inside the roaster. Our beans are now at the Blonde Roast level, the first drinkable stage of the roast process. The Blonde Roast color is a very light brown color. At this stage, while the coffees flavors of origin are present, the acidity level is quite high giving the coffee a tart, lemony taste. This roast level is the preferred roast of Scandinavian countries and has become fashionable in some American coffee shops as well. First Crack typically lasts for 1.5-2 minutes at which time we reach the Light Roast level. Bean temperature has reached 410*F and the color is now a light golden brown. While the acidity level is still quite high, it has become somewhat muted allowing more of the beans coffee flavors to come to the forefront. Caffeine levels in these lighter roasts are higher than in darker roasts as well. The body, or mouthfeel of the coffee is still very light at this stage. Other common names for a Light Roast are: Cinnamon and Light City. There is a brief period between the end of First Crack and the start of Second Crack which lasts for a minute or two. Dropping the roast during this time will result in a Medium Roast. The beans are now medium brown in color. The acidity level has come down and the body has increased resulting in a more balanced coffee. Origin flavors are still present and no roast flavors from the roasting process itself are noticeable. Other names for a Medium Roast are: City Roast, American Roast, and Regular Roast. As the bean temperature reaches 435*F-445*F, they enter what's referred to as Second Crack. This is another audible stage but is quite a bit softer sounding. The snaps are the sound of the actual cell structure of the bean itself cracking and popping as oils inside the bean begin making their way to the surface. Ending the roast just prior to or at the beginning of Second Crack results in a Medium Dark Roast. The color is a rich, dark brown and there will be some small oil spots on the beans. The acidity level is quite low now and the body will be heavy with an almost creamy mouthfeel. The flavors and aromas of the roasting bean itself will be mixed with the origin flavors and some of the more subtle flavors of the bean will be masked. Other common names for a Medium Dark roast are: Full City Roast, and Vienna Roast. From the middle of Second Crack to it's end is Dark Roast territory. Bean color is now very dark brown to black and the bean surface is completely covered in oil. The coffees origin flavors are all but gone now, replaced by the roasted,almost burnt flavors of the roasted bean. Caffeine levels are now somewhat lower. Other names for Dark Roast are: French Roast, and Italian Roast. Taking the roast beyond this point results in the beans being totally black in color. At this stage the beans are basically burnt and when brewed will taste burnt as well. The common names for this roast level are: Charcoal, and garden compost.