Roasting coffee is a combination of art and science. It’s also a creative outlet for those searching for the perfect cup of coffee, like Shawn Montella, owner of Coast Roast, a coffee roasting facility in Long Beach, Mississippi.
Nestled inside a historic bank that survived Hurricane Katrina, you’ll find Bankhouse Coffee, the storefront for Coast Roast. Cool and cozy, this community coffee house is a busy mecca where locals and tourists can enjoy a great brew.
Montella refers to Bankhouse Coffee as “the mothership” of the enterprise. Right outside, you’ll find the warehouse where Coast Roast coffees come alive. His coffee varieties are a favorite in the Coastal Mississippi region but also sold to restaurants throughout the states, appearing in Texas, Florida, and even New York.
It’s all in the roast…
Now in his 20th year of coffee bean roasting, Montella has certainly learned a thing or two about perfecting custom brews. Generous in flavor and spirit, Coast Roast coffees reflect their master roaster’s personality well. Montella often donates his time to help other entrepreneurs learn from his mistakes.
Coffee bean roasting is a complex process that requires a dedicated craftsman. Balancing the needs of the farmers, customers and coffee involves all of the senses, including a sixth-coffee-sense that develops only after years of research and experimenting.
Montella roasts his coffee beans using a unique 100-year-old machine with turn of the century grinders fused with modern technologies. It’s truly a one-of-a-kind unit that’s delightful to see in action.
How long do coffee beans take to roast?
Coast Roast sources from Columbia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Honduras and Costa Rica for the majority of their custom blends. Beans are either sized or not sized. Sized coffee beans give the roaster more control over the look and consistency of the roast. When they are not sized, there may be inconsistent flavor, color and the crop of coffee may have nuisances that are difficult to duplicate.
Each bean crop takes different amounts of time to roast. This is where part of the art of roasting coffee beans comes into play. A roaster must rely on their eyes, nose, ears and expertise.
If you listen to a coffee roasting machine, you’ll hear the whirring and shuffling of beans. Each bean is a shade of green prior to roasting.
After a bit, you’ll start to notice cracking sounds as the molecular structure begins to change. This is know as the “first crack.” When the beans are through the first crack, they’ll turn medium brown, more resembling the color of coffee bean we consumers are accustomed to.
At this stage, the beans smell a bit like baking bread and will produce a mild coffee flavor, if pulled. Those who like a bit more kick to their coffee, leave the beans in through the “second crack”. This is when the oils inside the beans start moving to the surface. The beans turn dark brown and the scent of the roasting permeates the air with rich coffee goodness.
Espressos generally take the longest. When left in to roast longer, they turn black and pick up an oily sheen.
Coffee at Coast Roast
While the process seems simplistic, there are plenty more factors that go into creating a perfect brew. Precision timing on roasting, resting time for the beans to meld flavors, grind, and brewing method all affect the way the coffee tastes by the time you pour it into your cup.
Montella believes ultimately, the ideal is to give customers a great experience and excellent roast. Coast Roast absolutely exceeds its mission, delivering a rich variety of brews suited for all coffee lovers’ tastes. The care in which they are crafted shines through in each cup!
At Bankhouse Coffee, you’ll find everything from flavored coffees to traditional espresso. There’s even New Orleans-style coffee with chicory and fresh brewed teas to enjoy.
When you stop in, but sure to try the Bankhouse Coffee Shooter. It’s an espresso pull infused with a hint of dark brown sugar and a drizzle of half and half. A pure shot of coffee bliss!