How is Coffee Roasted?

There you are, you are standing in the aisle and the roasts are a myriad of things - light, medium, dark, city, french. Initially my mind was boggled - what about you? Coffee has been overcomplicated in so many ways - roast being one of them. Well, rest assured because in this blog we are going to break down just what it all means and how you can use this information to inform your next coffee purchase.

Why Do We Roast Coffee?

When coffee beans are in their raw form, they are not only green but give off a very un-palatable flavor. Green coffee can taste grassy and often like some sort of bread. Now, while the whole bread thing might sound nice in concept...I assure you it does not taste great as a liquid. So, we roast coffee to introduce what is known as the mallard reaction and cook the coffee. Cooking the coffee gives it that all familiar flavor that many of us would recognize as coffee.

What are the Basic Types of Coffee Roasts?

Let's simplify this. With all the marketing and nuances to the side, there are really three types of roasts: Light, Medium, and Dark. 

Light Roasted Coffee
Lightly roasted coffee is just that - lightly roasted coffee. This coffee has been cooked the least amount of time. Lightly roasted coffee is the most popular type of roasted coffee in the current industry and most of your "hip" young shops will be serving mostly this roast. Contrary to popular belief, lightly roasted coffee has the most caffeine. The longer the roast, the less caffeine. Lightly roasted coffee typically hi-lights fruit and acid in your cup.
Medium Roasted Coffee

Medium roasted coffee is taken just a little bit longer than your light roast. These cups have a little less acidity to them and are more balanced given their medium roast. This is a great roast to choose if you know you are not privy to that earthy, complex dark roast; and you are also not too sure about those lighter roasts just discussed.

Dark Roasted Coffee

Dark roasted coffee is typically marketed as a "French Roast." These coffees traditionally have oil on them due to the long roast time and are much less acidic and bright as a light roast. Some comparable nuances may be smoke, wood, and earthy. Dark roast shine well prepared as an espresso and made into a milk-based drink as the darkness of the espresso cuts the milk well, whereas a light roast may not perform as well in a milk-based espresso style drink. Dark roasts are also the lowest in caffeine so may bode well as an after-dinner digestif with friends.


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