South Devon Roasters Ltd, Owen's

Company background

Since 2010, has been roasting 100% Organic and Fairtrade coffee and is the only dedicated roaster in the South West. Through perfecting the technique in this dedicated roastery, the freshness and flavour of the beans lead to the award-winning coffee.
Working with businesses that care about fresh, sustainable produce and serving loyal customers, Owens are recognised as the South West’s trusted coffee roasters. 

What did they want?

Imaging and elemental analysis on coffee beans from all intermediate processes of the roasting to identify any structural and compositional changes that may occur through the whole process. The aim is to better understand the impact of temperature and time control over the roasted beans, in order to improve the processing and the quality of final production. 

Agreed analysis plan

  • Imaging and elemental analysis on eight beans, one from each stage of the roasting process.
  • Cross-section imaging on a raw bean and a fully roasted bean (stage one and eight of the roasting process).


Surface imaging and elemental analysis have been carried out on eight beans that have undergone different lengths of roasting. 
  • Large area imaging produced mappings of three beans, and since the mosaic images are taken at the same magnification across those beans, their sizes can be compared directly. 
  • Compositionally, the carbon content increases whereas the oxygen content decreases as the bean progresses through the roasting process. 
Ion beam milling for preparing cross-sections was performed on a raw and fully roasted bean. Pores are found in both beans but appear larger in the fully roasted bean. 
raw bean milling

Company feedback

“It was lovely working with the PEMC team on the project, which gave us useful insights into what happens to the microstructure of a coffee bean as it progresses through our roasting process. This information will be invaluable in ensuring that we continue to optimise our roasting process.”
Lorraine Bridden (Director at Owens)