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How Well Do You Know Your Roasts?

How well do you know your coffee roasts? Do you know the difference in flavour between a medium city and an Italian dark roast? Here we’ve put together a little guide from light to dark (and what they really mean).


Light Roasts

These are tan in colour with a light body, high acidity and little oil on the surface of the roasted beans. Light roasts tend to contain fruity and cinnamon undertones, retaining more of the origin flavours and caffeine in comparison to a dark roast. The flavour is also influenced by the conditions of where the beans were grown, taking into account factors like appropriate soil and climate conditions to help produce quality green beans. When beans are roasted, the beans often crack and expand in size, normally at a temperature of 205oC. This is known as the “first crack” and light roasts are not generally roasted beyond that point. Some common coffee categories are Light City, Half City and Cinnamon Roast.


Medium Roasts

Medium roasts are medium brown in colour, with more body than a light roast but similarly, containing little oil. Here, medium roasts create the perfect balance between acidity, flavour and body, developing flavours of roasted nuts, chocolate, caramel and vanilla. Caffeine levels begin to decrease and this is due to the roasting process becoming longer. Here, the roasting process concludes between the end of the “first crack” and the start of the “second crack”. Medium roasts are particular popular within the industry as they blend extremely well with milk. You’ll find medium city or high city roasts within this category.


Dark Roasts

These tend to be shades of dark brown to black in colour with a shiny, oily surface. Dark roasts have notably lower levels of acidity and caffeine levels, but high levels of bitterness. In comparison to light roasts, it generally looses its origin flavours whilst developing flavours of dark bitter chocolate, liquorice or notes of black pepper. Dark roasts are great for consumers looking for a real kick, without worrying too much about the delicate flavours of coffee. Dark roasts are roasted until the end of the second crack or beyond. French roast, Italian roast, espresso roast and continental roast are roast profiles associated with dark roasts.


So there we have it, a summary of the coffee roast profiles you need to help you on your coffee roasting journey. Ultimately, it’s all about the aroma, tastes and flavours that your customers prefer but it’s important to educate them about the variety of coffee that’s out there.


Check out our coffee range here or send a message to Kevin, our head roaster, who’ll be happy to answer any of your coffee roasting questions: