Navigating the variety of coffee beans and roasts can be overwhelming, but it is also an enjoyable journey to discover which coffee will delight your palate. There are many factors that influence the final flavor compounds including brewing methods and personal preference.
The main flavor contributing elements are sweetness, acidity, aromas and mouth feel (body). The “roast level” refers to the degree of heat applied to the beans during the roasting process.
While it’s common to see a cup of coffee with milk in the morning, try ordering one without and notice how much better you can taste the subtle flavors that make up your brew. It’s also a great way to see what different roasts have to offer, especially if you’re an avid daily drinker who may not explore as many flavor profiles on their own.
Typically, light roasts have a lighter brown color and lack oil on the surface of the beans. They have a crisp acidity and mellow body and can display brighter notes of fruit or floral. The processing method of the coffee (Natural, Washed, Honeyed) also plays a large role in what you can expect from light roasts.
This level of roasting also tends to highlight the flavors and unique characteristics of a coffee’s origin more than darker roasts can.
Medium roasts have a smooth, well-rounded flavor and are less acidic than light roasted beans. They also retain more of the original bean’s natural flavors and coffee notes but have been mellowed by the longer roasting process. The mellowness can come at the expense of some delicate, fruity flavors.
Another aspect of this level of roast is that it can contain a little more caffeine than light. One scoop of coffee will produce about 70 mg of caffeine in most people, so you may want to be careful how much you order if you’re planning on getting a lot of energy from your cup.
In general, this roast can be a solid pick for your daily cup because it’s easy to find and has an enjoyable profile for most palates. It’s a popular choice for those who are new to coffee because it’s often milder than dark roasts, but it can still provide a complex and full-flavored experience. Look for a roast that is fair trade, organic, or non-GMO to get the most out of your experience.
The middle of the road in terms of coffee roasts, medium beans are mellow with a well-rounded body and balanced flavors. This is a great option for anyone who wants to enjoy more interesting and nuanced flavors but doesn’t want too much caffeine in their cup. You can find a great variety of delicious and unique coffee flavors at this level, from bright citrus to creamy nuttiness. A blend that has a balanced and crowd-pleasing mix of Guatemalan and Colombian beans, is an example of a fantastic medium roast coffee that is sure to please the masses.
Generally speaking, medium roasts are also the sweetest roasts, balancing the acidity of lighter roasts and the toastiness of darker ones. They will often showcase flavors of brown sugar and caramel as they are roasted to perfection, as well as traditional coffee notes like nutty and chocolatey flavor profiles. This is also the ideal roast for people who are new to coffee and want a smooth, balanced cup that doesn’t have any astringent or bitterness qualities.
When choosing a good medium roast, it is important to consider the origin of the beans as this will also play a significant role in their final flavor and quality. Look for a coffee that is sourced from a renowned coffee growing region and consider looking for certifications such as Fair Trade or Organic. These will ensure that the beans were grown ethically and that the farmers have been paid a fair price for their produce.
Another consideration is the type of brewing method you prefer to use, as different brewing methods will bring out the flavors of the coffee differently. For instance, a French Press or pour-over will result in a lighter brew that will highlight the natural fruity and floral aspects of the beans, while a drip brewing method will result in a richer, more balanced coffee that is more reminiscent of a traditional diner style cup.
In the darkest roasts, beans are heated to varying degrees and for specific lengths of time. The resulting coffee is full-bodied and can have a rich, deep flavor and much less acidity. The flavors are more concentrated and can take on hints of caramel, smokey tobacco or clove-like spice.
At this point, the quality of the beans becomes less important as you move further into the darkness, because any nuances the original bean may have will likely be overwhelmed by the roasting process. This list of Coffee Roasters based in Singapore can help you learn more about coffee and roasts.
A dark roast can be very oily and tends to work best in a Moka pot, espresso machine or French press. Because of this, a medium to coarse grind is typically required. Dark roasts can be a bit bitter, so we recommend brewing at lower temperatures and using a larger volume of water.
Coffee beans that are roasted to this level will often be called half city, cinnamon roast or American roast. This roast takes the beans past the first crack but not all the way to a second, which can be easily observed by watching for small bubbles popping up on the surface of the coffee as it’s being roasted. This is also the point at which the oils on the beans start to break out and saturate the brew, which contributes to a rich, thick flavor.
Dark roasted coffee has been traditionally used to hide low-quality, off-putting notes in the bean and to make up for low-quality beans that simply wouldn’t roast well at a lighter roast. Fortunately, coffee quality has been on the rise, and roasters are finding new ways to highlight the amazing complexity of high-quality single origin beans at a wide variety of roast levels.
While we all grew up hearing that dark roasted coffee has the most caffeine, this is actually a myth. Whether a light or dark roast, 50g of coffee will have roughly the same amount of caffeine. Caffeine content is determined by how dense the beans are, which varies between varieties of beans and their roasting level. This is also why different types of roasts may taste slightly differently, even if they’re the same type of bean!
You’re walking down the coffee aisle at your local grocery store, and you see a few bags labeled as espresso. While it is true that espresso beans are roasted longer and at higher temperatures than regular coffee beans, the label doesn’t refer to the type of bean, but rather how the beans were used. The fact is, any kind of coffee can be used to make espresso. The difference is in the way the beans are ground, pressed, and the water forced through at high pressure.
When choosing your espresso beans, consider your preferences for flavor, aroma, and body. The type of roast will influence these qualities as well as the caffeine content. You should also consider the source of your beans. The region the beans come from and the climate, altitude, and soil quality will also affect how the coffee will taste.
Coffee beans grow on trees and must go through several processes before they are ready to be brewed. They begin in a raw state, and the process of roasting changes their shape, size, and color. It also makes them less bitter and more flavorful. Once the beans are roasted, they must rest for 12 to 36 hours to degass, which allows the various chemicals in the beans to separate from each other. This is when the flavors of the beans are formed.
The most common types of coffee beans are Arabica and Robusta, both from the coffee plant. The difference between these is that Arabica beans have a milder flavor while Robusta has a more harsh and bitter taste. The majority of the coffee consumed in the United States is made from Arabica beans.
The best beans to use for espresso are not necessarily the darkest or the lightest, but those with the right balance of body and aroma. Typically, these are a mixture of 80% Robusta and 20% Arabica beans. The classic espresso roast is dark, which gives it a heavy body and roasted aromas. It is important to choose fresh-roasted, top-quality beans to ensure that you will get the best tasting cup of espresso possible.