Coffee Roast Levels
As we all know that the journey of Roasting coffee begins with the seeds of the flowering Coffee plant. And, the main advantage of this is that no properties of these roasted coffee beans can be found in these green beans. When these green beans are roasted, they go through a lot of chemical changes as they are cooked to very high and very exact temperatures in a closely controlled environment. After they attain the desired coffee roast level, they are then swiftly cooled. Roasting coffee is an art, a science, and a talent that takes years of effort and expertise to master.
The Roasting Process:
Although the modern world has transformed the coffee-roasting process through technological advancements in roasting equipment, which added automated features to monitor and regulate each stage. However, previous to the availability of this advanced equipment, the traditional coffee roasting process required talent in both sight and hearing to discern when to halt the operation. Here’s an example of how master roasters employ both of these abilities:
The color and texture of roasted coffee beans are both altered by sight. These visual indications can aid in determining how far along the beans are in the roasting process. Roasters with a lot of experience use their eyes to figure out where a coffee bean is in the coffee roasting process.
- Lightly roasted coffees seem slightly brown with no oil on the surface.
- Darkly roasted coffees appear dark brown and gleaming.
Coffee beans make two distinct cracking noises while roasting. These cracks represent critical steps in the roasting process.
- Medium and light roasts, for example, are finished between the first and second cracks.
- Dark roasts are finished after the second crack.
After enough moisture in the coffee bean evaporates, causing the bean to expand and crack.
- The first crack appears at about 385 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the first clue that a light roast is about to commence.
- After the oils in the coffee bean travel toward the surface, the second break develops between 435 and 437 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the start of the dark roasting process.
As a coffee buyer and consumer, though, understanding the various coffee roast levels and determining the one you want can take much less time if you know all the basics about it. Light, medium, dark, and darker than dark are the four coffee roast levels available.
Level 1| Light Roast:
Light roasts are chosen by the majority of the coffee community because of their perfect preservation of the inherent smells and flavors of the coffee bean. They have more pronounced flavor characteristics than darker roasts. The color of lightly roasted coffee is light brown. These beans reach temperatures of 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, just reaching the first-crack stage. The final coffee brew is light and sweet, with fruity acidity and ample opportunities for the customer to appreciate the magic of cherry harvesting.
Light roasts are often referred to by roasters as:
- Light City
- Half City
Level 2| Medium Roast:
Usually, the medium roasts trade the brightness of a light roast for a sweet caramelization generated by a longer roast duration. The acidity and sparkling flavors inherent in light-roast coffees are likewise reduced by the prolonged roast duration. The color of medium roasted coffee is slightly darker than that of lightly roasted coffee. Its primary purpose is to make espresso drinks. These beans are usually dry and do not appear oily. They frequently pass the first-crack stage when heated to temperatures between 400 and 430 degrees Fahrenheit, but seldom fully reach the second crack.
Medium roasts will have a higher level of development, resulting in a considerably larger spectrum of flavors and aromas influencing the green beans’ original character. Medium roasts have flavors like chocolate, brown sugar, buttery pastry, and caramels. Medium-dark roasts are slightly darker than medium roasts and may have characteristics such as cocoa sweetness, a large body, and a long aftertaste.
Various degrees of medium roasts are commonly referred to by roasters as:
Level 3| Dark Roast:
Dark roasted coffee is a lustrous black color with a high level of bitterness. The effect of the coffee roasting process overpowers the coffee’s original qualities. At this point, the roast’s flavor takes the place of the coffee bean’s original scents and flavors. This results in a flavor profile that is robust, heavier, and low in acidity. At temperatures between 430 and 450 degrees Fahrenheit, these beans generally reach the second-crack stage, giving them an oily, dark brown appearance. The deeper the roast, the less noticeable the original coffee flavor, resulting in brewed coffee with low acidity and a rounded texture.
Various degrees of dark roasts are commonly referred to by roasters as:
- Full City
Level 4| Darker than Dark Roast:
These beans are heavy in oil, have a glossy look, and have an ashy flavor. This coffee roast level is not used in specialty coffee shops. Coffees such as New Orleans, Italian, French, and continental use beans that have been roasted so darkly that no trace of the coffee’s natural flavor remains.
How to Choose the Right Roasting Level:
The coffee roast level has a significant impact on its flavor and aroma. Choosing a light roast, on the other hand, does not guarantee that you will always enjoy the coffee’s inherent qualities. Here are some pointers to consider when selecting the right roast for your coffee:
- Choose a medium or medium-dark roast if you prefer coffee with less acidity and fewer sparkling aromas.
- A light roast will bring out the brightest and most strong naturally existing taste nuances in your coffee.
- Dark roasts are a crowd-pleaser, so don’t be afraid to try them.
Consider a medium-roasted blend of multiple sources for imbalanced coffees. Combining distinct flavor notes with a medium roast’s toasty flavor may just be the best you had.
Although, coffee roast levels aren’t the only thing to consider when choosing a coffee to brew every day. It also depends on personal choice. If you prefer your coffee black, light and medium roasts are ideal. But, keep in mind, that the lighter the coffee roast level, the more the beans’ origin characteristics will come through in the brew.