Types of Coffee Roasts
Many people have a favorite roast of coffee bean. Some, like us, merely appreciate all types of coffee roasts! If you’re new to various roasts or selecting coffee based on roast level, you’ve come to the right blog post!
Knowing the roast variations is vital as the level of roast determines your coffee’s flavor! Coffee beans are labeled as “green” before they’re roasted. Green coffee beans have almost no taste and almost have a fresh cut lawn smell. It is when the beans hit the fire for roasting that they develop a pleasant aroma and take on the crispy texture of the coffee beans we love.
The types of coffee roasts will help determine the potential taste of the coffee, but there are many other factors for taste. Our focus on origin is an important distinction that affects your coffee’s flavor. Two more considerations are the level of grind and brewing method. Click to check out our blog post on different grinds of coffee and best brewing methods. Finally, a considerable factor for coffee flavor which until relatively recently was uncontrollable for many of us is how recently the coffee was roasted. H&L Coffee Co. strives to deliver coffee beans that are as freshly roasted as any on the market.
The color of the roast usually defines the coffee bean. Colors range from very light to extra dark. Darker beans tend to become oily on the surface. The color is affected by the amount of heat absorbed. Coffee beans do differ in color naturally, so judging my color is not the most accurate method, it is, however, the most straightforward method of judging roast levels.
Your preference in roast levels is entirely your own. No particular choice is better than another. Around the world, and all over the United States, various roasts are more popular than others, but you may find your tastes go against the norm in your area. This is why it’s best to try a lot of roasts, various grinds, and beans that originate from countries and farm around the world. You may just find your perfect cup of coffee!
While there are no standards set for levels of roast, you can pretty reliably count on the following factors:
Light Roast Coffee Beans
Light roast coffee beans tend to be lighter brown in color. A lightly roasted coffee bean will not have an oily or slick surface. Most lightly roasted coffee beans have more of a grain flavor with noticeable acidity. Light roasted beans retain much of their caffeine. They also have more of their green flavor which may affect the flavor profile by making it more earthy.
Coffee beans that are roasted lightly reach a temperature of around 355°F – 400°F internally. When the beans reach about 205°C, they will crack and their size expands. “First crack” is the term for this change. A light roast coffee bean is not roasted beyond the first crack.
New England Roast, Half City, and Light City are some common terms associated with light roast beans.
Medium Roast Coffee Beans
With more body than lightly roasted beans, medium roast coffee beans are darker in color. Medium roasted beans have no oil on the surface. Unlike light roast beans, medium roast beans do not have a grainy flavor; they present with more aroma and less acidity. Caffeine is decreased as compared to lighter roast; medium roasts have more caffeine than darker roasts.
Reaching temperatures between 405°F and 430°F — medium roasted coffee beans are hit these temperatures after the first crack and before the second crack.
American Roast, City Roast, and Breakfast Roast are some common terms used to represent medium roast coffee beans around the United States.
Dark Roast Coffee Beans
In dark roast coffees, the flavor of the beans plays second to the taste roasting produces. The tone of the coffee becomes bitter and smoky. In a dark roast, the level of caffeine is significantly reduced. In dark roast coffee beans, the surface of the bean is oily, and the color of the beans is that of dark chocolate, and sometimes they even turn black.
Dark roasted coffee beans reach about 464°F, which is just past the time of the second crack. Dark roasts are almost never heated beyond approximately 480°F which is beyond the second crack and results in beans tasting of charcoal and tar.
Buying dark roast beans can cause a bit of confusion due to the number of names by which this roast can be known. More well-known names of dark roasts include Espresso Roast, French Roast, New Orleans Roast, Italian Roast, and Spanish Roast. Many Espresso Blends use dark roasted beans.
Finding Your Favorite Roast
So that was it. A brief H&L Coffe Co. guide to coffee beans and types of coffee roasts. The main takeaways for finding your favorite roast might be:
- The roasting process changes the flavor of coffee beans. The higher the roasting temperature, the more the coffee will take on the taste of the roast instead of the bean.
- Lighter roasts coffee will be more acidic than darker roasts.
- Oily surfaced beans are indicative of darker roasts.
- The darker the roast the less the amount of caffeine.
- In the end, it’s all about the taste you prefer. Lighter roasts have more caffeine and taste more like the coffee beans, while darker roasts contain less caffeine and taste more of the roast. It’s up to you try various grinds, various origins, and all types of coffee roasts to find which you love best!