Coffee Roast Guide
Coffee roasting is not only a skill but also an art, there are many steps to the equation to perfect and bring out the unique aroma and flavors of the beans. There are typically three major components to coffee roasting, the unroasted coffee beans (60%), the roasting (30%) and finally the cooling down (10%). Having these components in mind, roasting will cause chemical changes to take place in the beans. After roasting, the beans will turn from their original green into a darker brown color and will have different flavors and aromas, they can be acidic, bitter, fruity, and so on. Temperature is an integral part to roasting, and without knowing how to control the heat or the timing of the process, it can either make or break the batch.
Roast coffee is generally split into three color categories, light roast, medium roast, and dark roast. Each roast differs drastically and finding the roast that best matches your tastebuds is all a personal choice.
These beans are light brown in color as they have been roasted for a shorter period. They are usually put into the cooling sieve after the first crack of the bean appear. The oils of the beans are still inside as they haven’t been roasted for a long time for the oils to release. Lighter roasts bring out more floral and fruit notes of the beans. These beans generally have higher acidity levels, a fruity smell and a toasty, grain-like smell.
Medium roast beans are an in-between of brown and dark brown, they are usually put into the cooling sieve after the second crack of the bean appears. The oils in the beans are still inside the bean for this roast as well. The longer roast gives the beans a more balanced flavor, with less acidity compared to the light roast. There is also a blend of sweet taste in the beans, a chocolate and nutty flavor is accentuated in a medium roast.
These beans are roasted the longest out of the three types. The beans have a dark brown to almost black color with a shiny coating because the oils have come out. Compared to the other two which have more of a matte coating. The flavors left after the roasting process are bold with a bittersweet taste and hint of acidity
Caffeine level relates to roast level, although each tree for coffee beans will vary for the caffeine found, the roasting process will also directly affect it. Thus, the dark roast will generally have less caffeine than the light and medium roasts.
There are also a lot of variations in taste depending on where the beans come from and other components within the roasting. All of these will change the flavor and aroma of the beans. However, knowing the basic types of coffee roasts can help you choose the type of coffee that you want. It can give an idea of what the coffee may generally taste like depending on the roast degree and help guide your pick. There is no perfect coffee roast as each person has their own personal preference.