Types of Coffee Roasts
Roasting is the process that gives raw coffee beans the distinct color and flavor we are familiar with when you think of coffee. Raw coffee beans are green in color and have a grassy plant like smell. In order to extract color and flavor from these beans, we need to roast them at very high temperatures : 356 °F to 482°F. This allows the beans to change color and crack, extracting flavorful oils. Since coffee beans absorb heat, the hotter they are roasted, the darker color the beans become. Roasts go by many names. We will focus on 3 options: Light, Medium and Dark. What do all of these mean? Let's break it down.
Light roast means that the beans are not roasted for very long and at the minimum temperature to get the 1st crack. Also, beans generally have no oil on their surface This means that the beans will have a light color and mild flavor and most of the caffeine is retained. This also allows you to distinctly taste the flavor given by the beans' origin.
Medium roast means that the beans are roasted just long enough to achieve a second crack. This produces a medium color with a more balanced flavor and acidity and no oil on the outside of the beans.
Dark roast means these beans are roasted for the longest amount of time. It produces a very dark brown color with a sheen of oil on outside and a less acidic bittersweet flavor. The flavor given by the bean's origin is nearly lost and the flavor of the roast emerges. And the beans have the least amount of caffeine.
Specific roasts come down to personal preference and the time of day. You may want a high caffeine light roast to wake you up in the morning and by the afternoon you just want something more balanced like a medium roast. No matter the roast, one thing is for sure, coffee is delicious.