Generally speaking there are three main roast levels: Light, Medium and Dark. Sometimes roasters add medium-dark. Overall, there is no Minimal standardization of roast levels across the coffee industry. This make coffee roasters to create their own names and definitions for their different roast levels. Today to answer the question about what are the coffee roast levels? We will focus on the 3 mains coffee roast levels: Light, Medium and Dark.
Different levels of coffee roast:
Light roast as its name says is lightly roasted. It is done in the least amount of time. Internal temperature is from 356°F – 401°F, right after the first crack occurs. As the beans are lightly roasted they tend to not have the oils on them. Something you should know is ‘The longer the bean is roasted the more the heat pulls out the caffeine and the acidity’. That means light roasted beans have the most caffeine and the most acidity. Therefore, You can easily recognize the origin flavors of the bean when it is lightly roasted because the flavors that come from the roasting process often are not that prominent. Thus, many people find it please on their palate.
The Meduim roast: This roast level keeps less of the origin flavor and a little more body to it than a light roast when brewed. Here we still don’t have any coffee oils on the surface. Most of the time the temperature is around 425 F/220 C, and the smell of roast will be more pronounced. This roast is more common than light roast in, and is better tasting. So you know Medium is the most common roast and the most balanced as well.
Dark Roast: It is a dark brown color and often has an oily surface. It reaches 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit in the roaster .These coffees have a low acidity, heavy body, and tend to reveal deeper, darker flavors. Dark roasts are designed to mask low-quality flavors (like leathery, musty notes), dark roast hide most of the flavor.
Specialty coffee roasters rarely have more than 1 or 2 dark roast offerings. Ideally the suggestion is to try a light and a dark coffee side-by-side to really taste the difference.
Why does the roasting process matter?
Green coffee to change in taste and flavor need to be roasted. The roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavor of coffee, it brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. Green beans can be kept longer without losing its quality or taste. A green bean has none of the characteristics of a roasted bean — it’s soft and spongy to the bite and smells grassy.
Coffee roasting breaks down the bean cell structures and pulls out the moisture in them so that they can be ground. You know, the difference between top-notch coffee and amazing coffee comes from the quality of the coffee beans and the roasting techniques.
The roasting process is just as important as the way the coffee is grown.
How to choose the right roast for you
We have explained the different types of roast for you to know which coffee beans to buy.
Light Roast is For those that prefer a ‘tea-like’ delicate flavor profile. Depending on your region sometimes they go by different names: Light City, Half City, Cinnamon, Blonde or New England.
When the beans are light or medium roast you should not see oils on the surface when looking at them.
Medium roast is more pronounced flavor than a light roast, and it tends to be the most popular roast of all! They may be called: American, City, Breakfast.
Dark roast is Starbucks’ signature. it is good with a latte or cappuccino, or with a little cream and/or sugar to take the edge off. They can be easily identified by their extremely oily surface , also known as Italian, Viennese, French and Espresso.
Ultimately taste, palate are different. know and understand the main difference on coffee roast, understand the region, roasted matter and find the the roast that you enjoy the most and try to stick with as it varies depending to coffee, roasters and regions.