The Beginner’s Guide to Coffee Roasts

The world of coffee has evolved greatly over the last few years, and those that enjoy the caffeinated beverage often find there is significant choice available online regarding flavours and serving options. 

Although the origin of the coffee contributes to the taste and aroma, so too does the way the coffee beans are roasted. As such, the taste of the coffee can vary drastically depending on the roasting process used. 

Coffee beans in their natural state are green and have a grassy aroma with little to no taste. It is the roasting process that emulsifies the sugars fat and starches and gives the roasted bean its characteristic.

Although there are different names used in the coffee community for the different roasts, each has a colour category, which are light, medium, medium-dark and dark.

No one roast is better than another, so is completely subjective depending on the aroma and taste you are searching for when enjoying a cup of coffee.

Light Roasted Coffee Beans Explained

As the name suggests, light roasted coffee beans have a light body and will often retain the original flavour of the bean.

The colour of the bean is a light brown and can be considered the most natural form of coffee.

There is no oil on the surface of the coffee beans, and introduces a mellow aroma partnered with bright flavours. Those that enjoy light roasted coffee beans will need to ensure that they purchase high-quality coffee beans, as using cheaper alternatives is not a good fit for fans of light roasting.

Light roasted coffee beans also deliver more benefits including improved mood and productivity due to little change regarding the cell structure of the coffee bean.

The vast selection of coffee available means that there are many flavours and variations available, but many report floral and fruity flavours.

The light roast is normally preferred by those wanting to enjoy the healthy benefits of coffee, as well as those that like to trace the origin and structure of their coffee beans.

However, light-roasted coffee is also becoming popular among those wanting to explore what the world of coffee has to offer and can be an excellent change for those that normally consume full-bodied coffee.

Medium Roasted Coffee Beans Explained

Coffee beans that have been medium roasted are medium brown in colour and create a coffee that has more body when compared to its light roast counterpart. Medium roasted beans can also be referred to as American roasted, as it is a style of roasting that has found popularity in the United States.

Using medium roasting ensures that some characteristics of the original bean are present, while  introducing some new flavours during the roasting process.

The flavour associated with a medium roast evokes the brighter notes experienced with the light roasted option, while introducing tones of chocolate and spice.

Medium roast coffee beans are popular among those wanting to experience coffee while maintaining the antioxidant properties, while being able to enjoy a subtle body that enhances the flavour without becoming overwhelming.

Medium-Dark Roasted Coffee Beans Explained

Coffee made with medium-dark roasted coffee beans have a heavier body than lighter and medium roasts and will also be darker. There is also oil present on the surface of medium-dark roasted coffee beans.

The flavour of medium-dark roasted beans is heavily bodied, although there will be muted notes of the bean present.

The medium-dark roast is ideal for those that like their coffee with a bold taste but often omits the bitterness found with dark roasted coffee.

Dark Roasted Coffee Beans Explained

Dark roasting coffee beans were initially introduced to mask the flavour of cheap coffee beans. The roasting of the beans would alter the cells of the coffee bean to omit the bitter taste.

However, as with other coffee, roasted coffee beans have become popular, especially among those wanting to try new iterations of coffee.

Those that enjoy dark-roasted coffee beans will often consume their coffee with milk or cream, which helps add some balance to the bitter flavour present and is ideal for those that like strong-tasting coffee full of body.

How Do You Find the Right Coffee Roast?

Many find their perfect coffee roast by sampling what is available, but you can help narrow the search if you know what type of taste you are looking for regarding coffee beans.

The following is a breakdown of the type of coffee you should consider when searching for particular notes and aromas.

Chocolate and Caramel

The caramel and chocolate notes present in coffee are enhanced by the roasting experience, so those looking for nutty and cocoa-based notes are advised to attempt a medium-dark roast.

Citrus and Floral

Light and medium roasted coffee beans are the perfect way of capturing citrus and floral notes, as the process brings out the acidity to deliver a clean taste that will often be full of antioxidants.

Nuts and Spice

The nuttiness and spice can depend on the brand of coffee bean chosen, but Brazilian coffee beans have been shown to offer several notes reminiscent of toasted almonds and macadamias as well as sweet spices including cloves and cinnamon.

Fruit

Given coffee beans are seeds of a fruit, it should come as no surprise that there are plenty of fruity options regarding coffee. The lighter the roast, the more fruiter notes you will notice when experiencing coffee.

Naturally, processed coffee beans are the best when it comes to achieving fruit-based notes, as the process used ensures the sugars of the fruit are absorbed into the coffee bean.

How Difficult It Is to Find the Perfect Roast?

Even with the guidance available, some may find it difficult to find the perfect coffee bean. When choosing a roast, you need to ensure that you are using a coffee specialist, and not just focusing on the price.

Although a cheaper price can be alluring, those that enjoy coffee will often find the experience is not as pleasurable as first thought.

As such, taking some time to research different coffee suppliers will ensure you are enjoying every experience when searching for that perfect coffee roast. 



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