When it comes to roasting coffee, there are many different styles.
Each roaster operative has their own way of working and each roaster has their own technology for roasting coffee.
For instance, a drum roaster will roast coffee in a different way to a hot air roaster. The outcome will be roasted coffee, but the taste will be different.
No matter how the coffee is roasted, it will always be a shade of brown when you scoop it out of the bag and into your brew device. These shades of brown are often categorised into roast colours.
Today, we are going to explain the differences between a light roast, medium roast and dark roast coffee.
Here at Two Chimps Coffee, we roast our single origin coffees individually to suit different brewing styles. Some of our coffees are considered a light roast, whilst others are towards a medium-dark roast.
When we roast, we make sure that we stay away from bitter, burnt and oily coffee. We want to keep the natural flavours within the beans rather than turn these to unpleasant notes. With this in mind, none of our coffees would be considered a dark roast.
But what are these different roast styles and how are they different from each other? Keep reading to find out.
Let’s start with talking about lighter roasted coffees. The easiest way to tell if a bean has been roasted lighter is by its colour. The beans will be a light brown and will have an obvious matte finish. Lighter roasted coffees can have a balanced flavour and will usually have a brighter acidity, similar to that found in fruit.
To get the most from a lighter roasted coffee, we would recommend using either a paper filter brewing method, like a V60, or a Cafetiere as these methods rely mostly on gravity to brew. This low pressure allows these coffees and their delicate flavours room to shine.
Medium roasted coffees are often known as city or full city roasts.
As the roast progresses from a light roast, the natural sugars within the bean have longer to develop. This time increases the longer the coffee beans are kept in the roaster.
As you can imagine as these sugars start to develop, a sugarcane, caramel or toffee sweetness can become present. A similar effect can happen to the fruitiness, or acidity within the beans.
As the beans develop in the additional time given in the roaster, the brighter, acidic flavours can head over toward the dark side. For instance, a citrussy acidity could develop toward a dark fruit acidity instead.
Within medium roasts, you will often find flavours similar to chocolate, nut and caramel to name just a few too.
Lastly, let’s talk about darker roasted coffees, often known as French, or Italian roasts. These beans will be a very dark, rich brown or almost black in colour depending on the final level of roasting.
You will also notice they have a shiny finish as a result of the oils escaping from the coffee beans. Beans that are roasted darker will lose their original characteristics, and there will often be very little to distinguish between each origin after roasting.
The flavours left within the coffee will usually be burnt, bitter, smoky with a hint of toffee or caramel if you are lucky! As coffee roasts, some of the caffeine is roasted out too. The darker the roast, the more caffeine is lost as a rule. Don’t worry however; this is barely noticeable.
On the subject of caffeine, if you need a coffee with no caffeine at all, we would recommend our decaffeinated coffee, a sparkling water decaf which is silky smooth.
And so, there we have it. Our guide to the difference in roasting levels. Next time you have a coffee, try and guess its roast level.
Ready to buy coffee online? Head over to our shop to check out our single origin hand roasted coffees.