The Ultimate Guide to Coffee Roast Levels

1st Aug 2023

The Ultimate Guide to Coffee Roast Levels

Whether you're a beginner or an experienced coffee aficionado, there's something special about discovering a roast that hits all the right notes. From light and fruity to bold and smoky, different coffee roasts offer unique flavor profiles. In this article, we'll explore the types of roasts available, factors to consider when selecting a roast, and tips for brewing the perfect cup of joe. Let's get started! WHAT IS A COFFEE ROAST?

A "coffee roast" is shorthand for the style of recipe used when roasting green coffee beans. During roasting, heat is applied to the beans, causing them to dry out and expand in size. As the temperature rises, chemical changes occur within the bean – these reactions create unique flavors and aromas. Different roasts will produce different tastes and levels of intensity. Depending on how long you roast your beans, they can be light-bodied or full-bodied, smoky or sweet.


Light Roast: Lighter roasted coffee beans are typically light brown in color with a mild flavor and nutty aroma. They are roasted for the shortest amount of time, which means they have higher acidity and retain more of their original flavor profiles.

Medium Roast: Medium roasts are a balance between light and dark, both in color and flavor. They are brown and have more body than light roasts, with less acidity. The flavors become more complex and balanced, resulting in a smoother cup of coffee.

Medium-Dark Roast (or Full City): Slightly darker in color with some oil on the surface of the beans, medium-dark roasts have a rich, bittersweet aftertaste. This type of roast is often referred to as Full City Roast. It carries more fullness in body compared to the medium roast, but is not as intense as the dark roast.

Dark Roast: Dark roasts are the most robust and have a pronounced bitterness. The beans are very dark brown, almost black, with a shiny, oily surface. The original flavors of the beans are mostly overshadowed by the flavors of the roasting process. Common examples are French Roast, Viennese Roast, Italian Roast, and many Espresso Roasts.


When it comes to selecting a coffee roast, it’s largely a matter of personal preference. Some people prefer the light, fruity notes of a light roast, while others enjoy the bold, rich flavors of a dark roast. Fun fact-- light roasts have more caffeine. Th darker the roast the more heat has been applied thus reducing the caffeine to lower levels. Caffeine is primarily on the surface of the bean which makes it susceptible to the roasting process. Experiment with different roast levels to discover what suits your palate best.


Once you've selected your roast, here are a few tips to get the most out of your coffee brewing experience:

Freshness is key: To ensure the best flavor, buy whole beans and grind them just before brewing. Coffee beans are at their peak flavor within two weeks of being roasted.

Use the right amount of coffee: A general guideline is to use 1 to 2 tablespoons of coffee per 6 ounces of water, but adjust to taste.

Water quality matters: Coffee is mostly water, so use fresh, cold, filtered water whenever possible.

Correct brewing temperature: Ideal brewing temperature is between 195°F to 205°F. If your water is too hot or not hot enough, it can lead to under-extraction or over-extraction, respectively.

We hope this guide has enlightened you about the different coffee roasts and will help you in your journey to discover your favorite cup of joe. Keep exploring and happy brewing!