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Coffee Roasting Basics: What Coffee Drinkers Need to Know

Coffee Roasting Basics: What Coffee Drinkers Need to Know

Exploring the world's different coffees is a hobby for many, including us! It brings people together and helps to create memorable moments, while enjoying a great hand-crafted roast. 

Coffee roasting dates back centuries, and has become an art, and a science. Elevation, temperature, soil, trees, and many other environmental factors facilitate the health and type of coffee bean that is grown.

Coffee farmers in high altitudes across the world grow and nurture the best-tasting beans from their region, picking them at the optimal time and preparing them to be distributed worldwide. What them becomes of the beans then is truly amazing. 

The best Roastmasters are coffee geniuses and deliver the fabulous-tasting coffees in local coffee shops around the world, on retail shelves, and online. We've learned a lot about the art and science of coffee roasting from Cambio's 5th Generation Roastmaster, who has extensive knowledge and experience in combining tastes and features of beans from different countries to create the absolute best taste.

Cambio founders Kevin and Ann have also visited coffee farms in South and Central America to learn about the coffee farmers, their beans and the beautiful coffee-growing world they live in. 

Let's talk about some of the most common words when it comes to coffee, and how that impacts the taste in familiar roasts.  

Coffee Beans

The coffee beans you choose refers to the actual coffee roast you buy. The roast can be a "single-origin," meaning the beans come from one origin, like Colombia. Or it can be a blend, which is often used to create the best balance of taste, like Cambio's "French Roast," which comes from Central America and Africa. 


Roasting the bean involves exposing them to a carefully-managed cooking process. One of the keys to roasting is to manage the temperature and roasting time to ensure that the Agtron measurements are constant throughout the batch. Roasting too fast results in a higher PH, or acid level, and great measures are taken to manage the amount of PH in coffee. 


Acidity, or PH, has a lot to do with the origin as well as the coffee roast. Many people prefer lower acidity in their coffee while for others, it doesn't affect them at all. Typically, when coffee is grown at higher altitudes over 6,000 feet, like in South America, the molecules in the bean "tighten" and in the roasting process, the sugars don’t develop as muchWhen coffee is grown in lower elevations, the molecules in the beans aren’t as tight and they make sugars, resulting in less of a "bite." 

Cambio has different levels of PH in their coffees. Our lowest-acid coffees are Special Dark, French Roast and our House Blend.


In elevations above 10,000 feet, there is the least amount of atmospheric pressure, so the molecules in the coffee bean are the tightest. These beans tend to have less chocolate notes and are “brighter” because they have less sugars after roasting. This can be found in roasts like French Roasts, Italian Roasts and Cambio's Special Dark Blend. 

Cambio's Roasts

Donut Blend 

This bean is from South America, typically Colombia or Brazil. It's a light-roasted blend with the perfect mellow flavor and a crisp, clean aftertaste. Our Donut Blend is a mild, easy-to-drink roast with low acidity -- a great morning wake-up brew. 


Our decaf is actually a medium-light roast also from South America, using Colombian or Brazilian blends. For the decaf process, our Roastmaster selects the coffees at origin and uses a non-chemical decaffeination process, very similar to Swiss Water, where the beans are soaked to remove the caffeine without the use of chemicals. Using this process, 99.8% of the caffeine is removed. 

House Blend

Our House Blend is a two-bean blend -- 70% is from high-altitude South American coffee beans and 30% from Kenya (Africa), to add the flowery and ripe fruit notes. This blend is totally refreshing and really “bright."


Sumatran is a dark, origin coffee. These beans are grown in a low altitude on the island of Sumatra with constant ocean and Pacific Trade winds. It tends to be more decadent, or a dessert-type flavor, with higher sugar and more caramel and chocolate notes at the end. Its flavor comes from the volcanic minerals in the soil, combined with the winds, rain and sunshine. 


Lighter roasts like our Hazelnut enjoy a creamy texture. Cambio's Hazelnut is actually is a "Hazelnut cream" blend with South American beans, primarily from Colombia and Brazil, to take advantage of their coffee notes. It has a lovely, silky nuance that makes it popular. 


Our Colombian is another single-origin roast and is "triple hand-picked," which means that each coffee plant is picked three separate times when the beans are perfectly ripe. Beans from Colombia have the traditional flavor that bring many Americans to say, "Now that's coffee." Higher-quality coffees are in countries that have more hand labor picking – the labor is making a better cup of coffee in the end.

French Roast

This dark roast is roasted to a perfect dark brown bean and has delicious burnt undertones. Cambio's French Roast is made from South American and African Arabican beans that can’t be roasted any darker. It's a wonderful bold cup that's flavorful, shiny with oil and has a diminished acidity. 

Special Dark

This popular blend was created for those who prefer a bold, dark cup of coffee -- a "go to" for those who like a dark, bold roast. This Sumatran and Central American roast has more peppery notes, with tremendous body from the beautiful South American beans. 

There are thousands of different-tasting coffees and everyone's pallet is different. If you don't know exactly what type of roast you like, we suggest starting with a medium roast, like our House Blend

If you'd like a free sampler 3-pack of Cambio's light, medium and dark roast coffees, please contact us