Guide to Common Coffee Roasts

Did you know that coffee beans are usually stored when they’re green? They’re stored this way in order to maintain freshness and quality prior to roasting. It’s the roasting that brings out the aroma and taste you love.

Coffee Beans Roasting

Roasting uses high temperatures in order to bring about the chemical changes necessary to produce the desired taste when brewed. Roasts can be divided into four main categories. These are light, medium, medium-dark and dark. A bit of trivia you may not realize is that it’s the light roasts that actually have a higher concentration of caffeine than the darker ones. This guide to common coffee roasts will give you a basic understanding of each category and the types of coffee in each.

Light Roasts

This type of roast usually yields a milder, more subtle flavor. The outer surface is dry due to the fact that the roasting process is not long enough to break the bean down. Sometimes the flavor can be a bit sour, and such beans will be used in less expensive coffee blends. Common names for lightly roasted coffees include Cinnamon, Light, Half City and New England.

Medium Roasts

A bit stronger in flavor with a medium brown color, these roasts yield a bean that also has a dry surface. A bright, crisp and fully developed flavor is offered by medium roasts. A favorite of many U.S. coffee drinkers, you’ll find American roast in this category. Breakfast, Regular, City and Medium also fall into this group.

Medium-Dark Roasts

These roasts have a slightly oily surface and dark in color. They have a rich body and a sweet taste. You’ll find Full City, Continental, Viennese and Light Espresso among medium-dark roasts.

Dark Roasts

The final roast category is generally bittersweet in flavor with a black, shiny appearance. Low in acidity, these roasts have a broad variety from dark all the way to charred, losing acidity as darkness increases. Common names are French, Italian, Neapolitan and Spanish.

If you’re an experienced coffee drinker, you may know which roast is your preference. Those new to the beverage may wish to explore. Because there are so many varieties in types of coffee roasts, it’s always a good idea to try something new.

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