There is hardly a more remarkable and complex substance than coffee, the strong caffeine-rich that is loved by millions across the world since its discovery in the 16th century.  With more than eight hundred distinct flavors and aromas, coffee far surpasses every other beverage, the closest of which is wine with only two hundred different flavors. One major factor that determines the taste of a cup of coffee is the degree of roasting the coffee beans has undergone.  Luckily, there is no need for coffee lovers to become proficient at or get the grips with the different attributes of several hundreds of different coffee varieties. Even though roast names, as well as descriptions, are not systemized within the coffee industry, four major roast types are commonly known viz.: Dark, Medium-Dark, Medium, and Light.

Raw coffee beans have little to no taste when picked from coffee cherry plants, and only change their color and let its remarkable aromas and flavors and loose after it has undergone the roasting process. Before this process, however, coffee beans are green in color and are treated then dried to coffee beans. Coffee roasting profiles enable us to influence the determination of the coffee flavors as well as the existence of the aroma compounds present in coffee.

Be Acquainted With Your Roasts

As mentioned earlier, roasters have assigned dedicated names for their favorite roasts with little or no industry standardization. Roasts are divided into four different classes namely: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts.

Many coffee lovers have this erroneous belief that coffee made from dark roasts with rich and strong flavor contains a high concentration of caffeine. But the opposite is the case, as coffee made from light roast has more caffeine than its counterparts.

There is no perfect roast: it all depends not only on personal choice but geographic location as well as national preference. The roasts are worlds apart when it comes to flavors or aromas, so you will do well to ask or know about the type of roast you want to buy before purchasing it.

Let us examine the different types of coffee roasts:

Dark Roasts

This class of coffee roasts is famous for its distinct bitterness and oily/shiny surface. Dark roast coffee has less acidity and looks dark brown, although it could sometimes be black. For coffee beans to become dark roasts, they are heated to temperatures between 465oF to 485oF. As a result of this long-term roasting process, the coffee beans at this stage contain a very low caffeine content compared to the others. Coffee made from dark roasts taste smoky, bitter, and even burnt with flavors that are reminiscent of charcoal and tar. Espresso blends and other specialty coffees are made using dark roasts, some of which are called by the following names:

  • French Roast (Espresso)
  • Continental Roast
  • Italian Roast
  • Spanish Roast

Medium-Dark Roasts

Medium-dark coffee roasts have creamy and darker colors, with a soft sheen as a result of oil. Coffee beans need to be heated to temperatures ranging from 435oF to 445oF. The aromas, as well as flavors of the roasting process, become perceptible, and coffee made from medium-dark roasts taste spicy or bittersweet. Common names associated with medium-dark roasts include:

Medium roasts

Coffee beans are roasted at temperatures which range from 410oF to 430oF and become a medium brown. Although medium roasts coffee bean don’t have oil on their surfaces, coffee made from such roasts are less acidic and more balanced compared to other variety of roasts. The caffeine content in this variety of roasts is less when compared to light roasts but higher when compared to dark roasts. The familiar names of medium-dark roasts are:

  • American roast (this is the traditional roast that is commonly found in the eastern part of the United States)
  • Regular Roast
  • Breakfast Roast
  • City Roast

Light Roasts

Light roasts are easily identifiable as they can be distinguished from other varieties of roasts. Coffee beans, when roasted to the light roast range are not exposed to heat for an extended period. Instead, coffee beans are heated to temperatures ranging from 350oF to 400oF during which a small percentage of caffeine is burnt off. Light roasts have very little oil on the surface; in fact, most don’t have any oil at all. Coffee made from light roasts taste grainy, earthy, and acidic. Light roasts usually have the following names:

  • Half City
  • Light City
  • New England Roast
  • Cinnamon Roast

You now have more knowledge about the different types of coffee roasting profiles. Therefore, you are at liberty to experiment with each of them and settle for the best that suits your taste.