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Coffee - Roasting Varieties

Coffee Roasting Levels and Flavor Profiles

The roasting process is critical in developing the complex flavors locked inside the coffee bean. By adjusting the degree of roasting, unique aromatic and taste experiences can be created. Here are some of the most common roast levels:

Light Roast

  • Baked at lower temperatures for a shorter time
  • Preserves more of the bean’s original character
  • Flavor tends to be lighter, simple, with more acidity
  • Caffeine content is higher
  • Popular for specialty lighter roasts like Colombian
  • Can lack body or taste under-developed if roasted too lightly

Medium Roast

  • Moderate roasting temperature and time
  • Balances flavor and acidity
  • Richer, sweeter aroma but some origin character remains
  • Widely popular default roast level
  • Works well for most bean varieties and brew methods
  • Provides a versatile, crowd-pleasing flavor

Dark Roast

  • Roasted at very high heat for longer
  • Deep brown color and oil drawn out
  • Robust, bittersweet flavor with less acidity
  • Origin characteristics mostly obscured
  • Used for espresso, darker coffee styles
  • Can taste burnt or bitter if over-roasted
  • Lower caffeine content

Specialty Roasts

  • Unique flavors created through special techniques:

    • Vienna Roast - Light tan and moderately light bodied. The lightest of the dark roasts. The coffee is roasted to the point where and the oils just begin to be brought to the surface of the bean.

    • Italian Roast - Almost black and intensely bitter, robust. A very dark roast Roasted until the natural oils are brought to the surface. Italian roast comes from the dark roasting style which is common in Italy (coffees in Northern Italy are lighter). Ideal for home espresso machines.

    • French Roast - Very dark brown, smoky and acidic. Roasted to a dark reddish brown color creating a shiny coat of oil on the surface of the bean. This roast is used for making light espresso, for blending with other roasts and as an extra strong after dinner coffee.

    • Espresso Roast This darkest of roasts uses 100% Colombian beans, roasted to a very dark brown/black with a shiny coat of oil on the bean. Used almost exclusively in brewing espresso and making cappuccino.

    • New Orleans Roast - Dark with chocolate undertones

The degree of roasting brings out radically different sensory experiences from the same beans. Coffee connoisseurs can choose a roast profile suited to their tastes and the coffee origin.