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What Are The 4 Coffee Roast Types?

If you are new to the world of coffee, then you might get overwhelmed with different varieties of this beverage as well as types of coffee roasts. So, why do people roast their own coffee? There are several main reasons behind this fact and right now, we are going to discuss all of them.

Roasting releases the fragrance and taste that are trapped inside green coffee beans. Beans are preserved in green form, which allows them to be stored without losing quality or taste. Green beans have none of the qualities of roasted beans – they are mushy and do not smell very pleasant. As the beans are quickly heated to extremely high temperatures during roasting, chemical changes occur – As a result, roasted beans smell like coffee and weigh lighter since the moisture has been removed during the roasting process. They have a crisp bite to them and are ready to be brewed. However, it is important to keep in mind that once roasted, they should be consumed as soon as possible before the fresh roast flavor fades.

For some people, roasting might look pretty easy but in fact, it might take years of trying and experimenting to be able to become an experienced roaster. Most roasters have unique names for their favorite roasts, and there is no specific standard for the industry. This might be confusing for some but in general, coffee roasts are classified into four color categories: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark.

Light Roast Coffee – Bright Acidity

Light roast coffee is called light for a reason – it requires the shortest period of time for roasting. After the first crack, lightly roasted beans should have an internal temperature of around 400 °F. Remember that if they are not roasted at a high enough temperature, they will not be oily.

The heat takes out more caffeine and acidity the longer a bean is roasted. This means that light roast coffee has the greatest amount of acidity and caffeine. Because the roasting process is shorter compared to others, some chemical changes inside the bean are prevented. That’s why light roasts might have a distinct flavor character. As the tastes that originate from the roasting process are generally not strong, the bean’s origin characteristics are more identifiable in light roasts. The acidity in light roasts is sometimes accompanied by a lemon or citrus flavor, which some people tend to enjoy. This roast is light brown in color and is generally used for mild coffees.

Medium Roast Coffee – Deeper Flavor

Another coffee roast that you might come across is medium roast coffee. So, these beans feel dry from the first glance but they have a considerably sweeter flavor profile. To be more specific, the longer roasting period brings out more aromas in the beans while producing less acidity than the first crack type. The body is fuller, but the taste profile is more condensed. However, it is important to note that there is nothing wrong with condensed flavor. Medium roasts are ideal for individuals who want a noticeable bitterness in their coffee. This roast, according to many, offers the ideal combination of fragrance, tastes, and acidity. In fact, most Americans consider this one of the best coffee roasts.

In terms of appearance, the beans are medium brown, with a powerful smell but no oil on the surface. Compared to light roast, this one requires a temperature of around 430°F, and the beans lose around 10% of their weight throughout the process. Simultaneously, pyrolysis (this is a thermal breakdown caused by roasting) alters the chemical makeup of the beans and is partially responsible for the greater flavor.

Medium-Dark Roast Coffee – Stronger Bitterness

The main difference in coffee roasts is their roasting time. For instance, medium-dark roasts need more time (several minutes longer) compared to the medium. A Medium-Dark Roast has a substantial body and a spicy flavor, with a bittersweet tang, caramel, and milk chocolate notes. It has less acidity than the two types of roast that we have already mentioned earlier in our article.

It will be no surprise to say that medium-dark roast coffee looks pretty dark with a thin layer of oil on the surface. When it comes to flavor, the lengthy roasting eliminates any acidity and allows the majority of the beans’ fragrances to shine through. All in all, the tastes are rich and complex, with a bittersweet aftertaste. Some may consider the medium-dark body to be a little bit heavy but to find out if it suits your preferences, it is the best idea to taste it yourself.

When it comes to the temperature, medium-dark roasted beans may go up to 450°F. This occurs either during or shortly after the second crack.

Dark Roast Coffee – For Black Coffee Lovers

Among different types of coffee roasts, a dark roast is something you can identify from miles away. The beans are black, glossy, and greasy, hinting at their distinct taste character. If you want your coffee with a lot of bitterness, then this is the roast for you. Apart from the bitterness, with dark roast coffee, it is possible to discover the flavors that are rich and a little spicey. As the coffee seeps down your throat, you may detect hints of oiliness.

Dark roasts are generally not acidic, and as we have already mentioned once in our article, the darker the beans, with less acidity they come. We would like to warn our readers that they might come across Espresso or French branded as a dark roast. However, French beans may fall into the double roast category, with nearly scorched beans. Also, depending on your preferences, espresso may be produced from both dark and medium-dark roasts.

It is also important to keep in mind that the sugars and oils in coffee beans will burn if they are roasted for longer than a French roast. Dark roasts are pretty common in Europe, (for instance Italian roasts) and that’s the main reason why dark roasts sometimes acquire European names.

Frequently Asked Questions on Coffee Roast Types

What is the most popular coffee roast?

Which is better light or dark roast coffee?

How do I choose a coffee roast?

What coffee roast is least bitter?

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