It’s a common overwhelming feeling in the grocery store’s coffee aisle—City, French, Viennese, Cinnamon, and many more to choose from! Hundreds of varieties and nearly as many types of roasts – how do you get out of this predicament? Here’s our two cents on roasting varieties for you!
Through the roasting process, coffee beans unlock a lot of aroma and flavor. The methods of the roasting process entirely control those outcomes, such as the body, acidity, and flavor. This handy coffee roasting guide will focus on 4 types of roasts and their aroma, appearance, and flavor profiles. So let’s dive in!!
- Major Roasts Types And Prominent Subgroups
- Coffee Roasting Temperature Chart
- Different Roast Styles, Different Coffee Flavors
- The Very Special Espresso Roast
- Roasting Coffee Beans At Home
Major Roasts Types And Prominent Subgroups
Unroasted or green beans have a highly acidic taste and complex flavors like nutty, flowery, smoky, and caramel. It’s a raw form of the coffee bean. The bitterness and acidity of green coffee beans are due to their high acid content.
This is why beans have to be roasted to cut down on the acidity level. But in this case, it doesn’t get that treatment. The brew from this coffee provides woody, acidic, and unpleasant flavors.
Green coffee is consumed to lower blood sugar levels and block fat buildup. It also seems to help fight high blood pressure for some people.
When coffee beans are roasted for the least amount of time, it’s called “light roasting”. In general, the 385°F–401°F temperature range is ideal for light roasting. It stops right after the first crack occurs. Light roast doesn’t have the oils but has the most caffeine and the most acidity. The acidity in light roasts has a pleasing citrusy tone.
It’s called cinnamon roast due to the roasted light brown bean color that’s dropped from the roaster very early in its first crack. This roast is often very acidic with low sweetness and a floral aroma. It also has a very light and delicate mouthfeel with “grassy” and “peanutty” flavor notes.
New England Roast:
When a light roast follows a 401°F (205°C) temperature, it’s called the New England Roast. It’s a mid-1st crack roast. This roasting is famous for cupping purposes as the beans’ origin can be really tasted at this level.
Internal temperatures for medium roasted beans range between 410°F and 428°F. This is an “after the 1st crack” range. This roast offers more body and less acidity than light roasting. The roast is considered to have balanced flavor notes. Some examples of medium roasts are House Blend, American, City, and Breakfast Roast.
It achieves a rich, medium brown color that has no presence of natural oils on the surface. It’s the traditional roasting style of American java. It’s flavorful, complex, and each individual origin will have its most distinct flavors. For example, Kenyan will be bold and snappy, Sumatran will be deep, nutty, and earthy, and Guatemalan will be bright and crisp.
One of the most popular roasts, particularly among Nordic and third-wave specialty roasters. It’s roasted in the final stages of the first crack. It produces a balanced, light-bodied, and highly acidic brew. As it faces more roasting time, it develops richer, floral, and sweeter wine-like flavor notes.
Dark roasted beans are dark brown, even close to black in color. It’s characterized by the drawn-out oil on the surface and offers a strong, full-bodied coffee. The original bean characters do get entirely roasted out and take on a very bold and smoky taste.
Full City Roast:
With a distinct deep brown color and an oil-heavy bean surface, the Full City Roast further intensifies the unique identity of the coffee. It’s a dark-roasted coffee, so it offers a rich flavor without bitterness. The extended roasting makes it a lightweight coffee as it can lose up to 25% of water within the bean.
It has a slightly deeper color with small spots of oil on the bean’s surface. This greater presence of oil gives Vienna roast its distinguishable, intense taste. It brings out more flavors than American roasted beans. It’s the most difficult roast level to achieve.
With a darker roast than Vienna, and more oil on the bean, French Roast brings coffee to the apex of its flavor. It’s a deep, robust flavor and has more subtle flavors veiled under the dark roasted smokiness.
It’s a very deep, dark brown roast. In this roasting style, the beans pass the 2nd crack. It has a shiny surface from its oils. Brew coffee from this roasting will have very little of the natural characteristics, especially acidic notes. The brew will range from bittersweet to charred in taste.
Coffee Roasting Temperature Chart
|Unroasted||Green Beans||72°F (22°C)||Good for 12–18 months |
|Drying Phase||329°F (165°C)||Moisture content evaporates |
signifying the first crack.
|Light Roast||Cinnamon Roast||385°F (196°C)||Underdeveloped Sweetness,|
prominent toasted grain,
Sharp acidity prominent,
|Very Light Brown||High|
|New England Roast||401°F (205°C)||Preferred roast for specialty roasters, |
Highlights origin characteristics,
|Moderate Light Brown|
|Medium Roast||American Roast||410°F (210°C)||Acidity is slightly muted, |
Origin character still preserved.
|Medium Light Brown||Medium|
|City Roast||426°F (219°C)||Common for most specialty coffee. |
Good for tasting origin character,
Noticeable roast character.
|Dark Roast||Full City Roast||437°F (225°C)||Dry to tiny droplets or faint patches of oil, Prominent roast character the second crack begins, Fully developed body.||Medium-Dark Brown||Low|
|Vienna Roast||446°F (230°C)||Light surface oil, More bittersweet, Acidity muted, Middle of the second crack, Origin characteristics eclipsed.||Moderate Dark Brown|
|French Roast||464°F (240°C)||Shiny with oil, Deep caramel undertones, Acidity diminished, End of the second crack, Dominant roast character, Little of the inherent aroma or flavors remain.||Dark Brown||Very Low|
|Italian Roast||473°F (245°C)||Burnt tones become more distinct, |
Acidity nearly eliminated, Thin body.
|Nearly Black and Shiny|
Different Roast Styles, Different Coffee Flavors
No obvious roast flavors.
|Medium||Dry||Caramelized sugars, |
Some roast flavor imposed.
|Dark||Shiny||Prominent bittersweet flavors, |
Evident aromas and flavors of roast,
Little origin character.
As we’ve already made it clear, the longer you roast coffee beans, the more they change. Rather than going for a long explanation, let’s look at the chart below to grasp how various roasting affects the key coffee traits: acidity, body, sweetness, character, and aroma.
The coffee brew will be highly acidic and offer original characters through light-roasted beans. As it stands, brew from medium-roasted beans has more body and sweetness than light-roasted coffee. Darker roasts offer more sweet coffee than the others.
From the graph, you can clearly see that the best roasting style is medium-dark as 3 of the 5 key traits are nearing the graph’s apex. Only acidity and character traits will be muted in this roast. That’s why medium-dark roast is widely popular and touted as the “full-flavor roast.” The medium-dark, dark, and very dark roasts are away from the lemony notes of the beans and offer a deep dark chocolatey and fruity note.
The Very Special Espresso Roast
An espresso roast is not a roast level (light, medium, or dark). It’s a way of roasting to suit espresso brewing exclusively. Espresso brewing requires pressure to extract a small, concentrated amount of coffee from the grinds. So, the espresso roasting is meant to help the coffee taste its best when brewed with an espresso machine.
Normally, with filtered coffee, extraction happens for several minutes, and the coffee drips through a filter. Espresso extraction takes only 25–40 seconds and extracts coffee flavors differently.
The normal brewing process extracts acidic and fruity flavors first, and then sweetness and bitterness. But due to the quick nature of espresso extraction, the flavors are more intense, brighter, and sourer than filtered coffee. To balance the sourness, roasters do a darker roast for espresso. Others do a slow roast to reduce acidity while preserving other key flavor notes to offer a delicate and tasty espresso.
Roasting Coffee Beans At Home
Roasting coffee at home was very common until the earlier 20th century. After that, roasted coffee commercialized vastly and the necessity became a hobby but a very popular hobby.
The history of home roasting coffee (with evidence) leads us back to the 15th century. In, Ottoman Empire and Greater Persia people used the circular, thin metal pan for home roasting. As the tool was very small, only a small amount of coffee could be roasted with those pans.
Around 1650, in Cairo, appeared metal made cylinder roaster. After that, quickly French, Dutch, and Italian variations appeared.
Why home roasting is more attractive?
- To enjoy fresh and flavorful coffee.
- To experiment with various roasting methods.
- To experiment with various types of beans (high quality or unique flavor).
- The perfection of the roasting process (mostly personal satisfaction).
- Last but not the least, to save some money. Buying green beans is less costly than buying roasted ones. The money-saving figure is around 25% – 50%.
Now, if you wanna roast your coffee home sometimes, that would be cool. Trying a new thing is always exciting.
Coffee Home Roasting Equipment
- Less costly
- Difficult to maintain perfect roasting stage
- The classic way to roast
- Slightly difficult to maintain lighter and medium roast
- Popcorn Maker
- Roasts Quickly
- Easy to use
- Home coffee roaster machine
- Very easy to use (as of build for roasting purpose only)
- Easily maintain the ‘Perfect’ roasting stage
Now, you can pick one of those. The first three (oven, stove, popcorn maker) will save your money a little bit but wouldn’t give you the desired result.
With the best home coffee roaster, you will get the perfect result you wish for. Moreover, it is not that much costly. If you wanna try another way, you can also check for perfect over, stove, or popcorn maker for home coffee roasting. But, with an automatic home roaster machine, you are all set.
What type of coffee roast is best?
Medium roasts are typically the best-balanced and traditional-tasting coffees.
Which roast of coffee is healthiest?
Dark roasted coffee is the best in terms of being healthy. They carry the most antioxidants, and they can fight against cellular damage. They’re low in acidity, which makes them the safest drinks to drink for us all.
What Exactly Is Blonde Roast?
A blonde roast is another name for a light roast. It’s lighter and more acidic than other roasts.
What roast of coffee is less bitter?
Light roasts are less bitter-tasting than dark roasts as they undergo the least amount of roasting time. With time, the bitterness increases.
What is the most popular coffee roast?
Simply put, the lighter roasted beans are more popular for their more complex flavors. Light roasts are multilayered with traces of sweetness and fruity tanginess.
Which roast of coffee has the most caffeine?
The caffeine content in light and dark roasts is the same by weight. But, when measured by the scoop, light roasts have more caffeine since the beans are denser and less roasted.
What roast is best for espresso?
Any roast can be made into espresso. But it’s often made from dark or medium roasts for the best espresso profiles.
Is Blonde Roast the strongest coffee?
In terms of bitterness and flavor, darker roasts are the winners. In terms of acidity, blonde roasts are way stronger than dark roasts.
Congratulations! Your roasting lesson is done, and you can now confidently pick coffee from the aisle. It’s all up to you now. Whatever flavor profile you like to try, go ahead. Remember, freshly roasted beans will only stay fresh for around 5 days naturally. You should also preserve them in a box or vacuum container.
Enjoy your coffee!!