Let’s talk about coffee roasts!

Whether used as an early morning pick-me-up or paired with a late-night dessert, there isn’t a more universally loved hot beverage than coffee. In fact. A recent study found that 54% of Americans over the age of 18 drink at least one cup every day. However, coffee types are different. There are many different types of coffee. With variations in color, taste, roast, and levels of caffeine all available to your dining operation with the click of a button, which can make choosing the right one difficult. This guide will help those seeking to make the best choice by explaining the coffee roasting process. In addition to some of the key differences between types of coffee roasts.

Unlike other fruits (like apples, oranges, grapefruit or strawberries), coffee isn’t something you can just pluck and consume. In order to get the caffeinated goodness from the plant to your cup, the beans need to be roasted first. While the methods vary from simple (a frying pan over an open fire can do the trick) to the expensive and complicated air roasters found at many roasters and coffee shops, there’s an art and science to getting the right roast. Mass-produced coffee, with its reliance on volume, churns out standardized coffee by relying on standardized techniques. Custom roasting, on the other hand, takes into account different bean varieties’ flavor profiles and seeks to maximize them through the roasting process.

There are, broadly speaking, four types of roasts. Whatever else you call your coffee (breakfast blend, French roast, etc.). It’s going to fall into one of the following categories.

The Types of Coffee Roasts are:


Better known as a light roast. First crack got its nickname because the beans are in the initial stage of cracking and expansion. generally in coffee roasts, the beans look dry and pale and provide a light-bodied coffee. The taste shouldn’t reveal any traces of the roasting and is somewhat more acidic.

This doesn’t mean that first crack provides an inferior flavor profile. Quite the contrary; the end result is a light, yet aromatic roast, with distinct fruity or even floral notes. With light roasts, the beans’ surface shouldn’t be oily. Otherwise, you are looking at a different type of roast.

Color-wise, this roast is light brown and is typically you can use it for mild coffee types. But remember, since it’s not roasted that long, first crack retains a lot of the original beans’ flavors. Coffee varieties that utilize light roast include Cinnamon, Half City, and City.

types of Coffee roasts - coffee beans roast


Medium roast beans still look and feel dry, but there is a much sweeter profile. To be exact, the longer coffee roasting brings more flavors to the beans and results in less acidity compared to the first crack variety. You get a fuller body, though the flavor profile tends to be more condensed.

Don’t get things wrong, a condensed flavor profile is not a bad thing. Medium roasts work great for those whose palate craves for distinct bitterness. For many, this coffee roast has the perfect balance of aroma, acidity, and flavors. In fact, this roast is the preferred type for most Americans and the varieties that utilize it include Breakfast, City, and, of course, the American.

As for the looks, the beans are medium brown, they have a stronger smell, but there is still no oil on the surface. you can obtain this roast at 428°F and the beans lose about 13% of their weight during the process. At the same time, pyrolysis (thermal decomposition as a result of roasting) affects the beans’ chemical composition and is partly responsible for the stronger flavor.


the thing that you can notice on the Medium dark is that dark brown color and some oil on the surface. When it comes to the flavor profile, the extended roasting destroys all the acidity and allows most of the beans’ aromas to come up on the top.

Overall, you can describe the flavors as deep with a touch of bittersweet aftertaste. Some would argue that the medium dark body is heavy. However, it may give a wrong negative connotation to the rich, full profile of the medium dark roast.


Second crack or dark roast is something you can recognize from a mile away. The beans are black, shiny, and quite oily, which hints at their unique flavor profile. If you are in for pronounced bitterness, this roast type might be a perfect fit.

second crack roast, dark roast

On top of the bitterness, you can taste that second crack has been roasted well. The notes are thick and a bit spicy on the tongue. You can also feel traces of oiliness as the coffee oozes down your throat. Generally, dark roasts are not acidic, and the rule of thumb is – the darker the beans, the less acidic they are.

It’s not uncommon to find French and espresso labeled as a dark roast. Be careful, though, as French might fall into the double roast category with almost charred beans. Also, espresso can be made from both dark and medium-dark roasts – it all depends on your taste.

Also known as Double Roast (French, Spanish and Turkish) takes beans to the point where they begin to smoke. As you can imagine, the taste is noticeably smoky or even charred, with little evidence of the beans’ original flavor. There’s a hint of sweetness, but less body than with a medium-dark or dark roast. It is worth noting that French roast as a term of art versus what’s on your supermarket shelf are generally two very different things (supermarket French roast is typically a darker roast, but not as dark as a true French roast).

Espresso is in something of a class by itself. The higher temperature and pressure of an espresso machine combined with the caramelization of medium-dark and darker roasts makes Full City Roast, Vienna Roast, French Roast and Italian Roast best suited to espresso. Experience comes into play with darker roasts, since the difference between caramelized and burnt can be a matter of seconds.


Coffee roasting has four or five stages. cleaning the beans , roasting them, cooling them, and sometimes grinding before packaging.

Two analogies can be helpful in understanding why the type of roast matters. the first is toast. Just like coffee, the quantity and duration of heat you apply to the bread is the distinction between something that’s gently brown, caramelized, and flavorful, and something that’s a cigarette smoking, scorched mess. Interestingly. A similar series of chemical reactions (called a Maillard Reaction) happens in both cases, as the heat causes chemical modifications to amino acids and sugars present in the compound being heated. We can also draw a close parallel between coffee and steak. The more rare the steak (or the lighter the bean), the more flavor it has. If the steak, or bean, is well-done or overdone, the amino acids and fatty acids that impart flavor are largely burnt out.

There’s a bit of irony in this, of course. Medium-dark and dark roasts are popular with coffee companies (the beans have a lower oil and moisture content, making them lighter and cheaper to ship). They have become more popular with consumers as well. Over the years, we’ve become conditioned to expect that dark, roasty, bitter flavor with “good” coffee. Little realizing that we’re getting rid of the best of the bean. If you’re in the habit of falling back on darker roasts, try something a bit lighter. the surprise is when you find that you don’t need to reach for the cream or sugar.

Images credit to: pexels and unsplash


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