6 Types of Coffee Roasts | What You Need To Know

types of coffee roasts

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So, you’re now considering home roasting your own coffee beans. If you’re already a coffee aficionado and want to bring something new into the mix, then we’ve got you covered. I’ll show you the six types of coffee roasts that can be made at home.

It’s really not as complicated as it sounds.

That’s why I recommend reading the following article, which will show you how to distinguish and appreciate six types of roasts.

What Is Coffee Roasting?

Before discovering the types of roasts, you should know what roasting is.

Roasting coffee beans is basically the process to remove the least amount of water from green coffee beans.

You can purchase green coffee beans at your local supermarket or online, and they will come in a vacuum-sealed package.

They will look like seeds and will have a shiny surface to them too.

There are two ways of roasting coffee beans: one is by using a hot-air oven and the other is to use a drum roaster.

In the United States, the most popular method of roasting coffee beans is done by heating them in a hot-air oven.

In this type of roaster, the beans are heated with warm air at temperatures that can reach up to 500°F (260°C).

The average time it takes for green coffee beans to be roasted in an oven is about 14-17 minutes.

If you’re using a drum roaster which was once used by commercial establishments for large batches, then your roast will take approximately 7 minutes since you can roast more beans at once compared to an oven.

Coffee roasters have been used since the 18th century.

In this day and age, green coffee beans can be purchased online or from a local retailer.

If you live near a commercial establishment that roasts their own coffee, then you can visit them and buy a kilogram of green coffee beans from them.

I suggest you buy fresh green coffee beans because they will not give off any odors, although they may turn a little yellowish upon purchase.

It’s best to store green coffee beans in an airtight container away from light and moisture.

You’ll be surprised at how long green coffee beans would maintain their freshness until you decide to roast them.

What Are The Types of Coffee Roasts?

In this section, we’ll see the six types of coffee roasting.

Each roast will give off a certain taste and texture that you can use to describe the type of roast you have.

1. Light Roast

A light roast is also known as a “city” or “American” roast.

A light roast has a smooth body but is not quite strong enough to suit most people’s taste buds.

It would be so if it’s prepared with hot water, but if you’re using cold water, then it will have a lighter flavor.

The color of the beans at light roast is mostly brown, which is also its namesake.

This type of roast is the most popular amongst home coffee roasters because it is not that difficult to make.

If you like thinner coffee, then this is the best roast for you.

2. Medium-Light Roast

Medium-light roasts are very popular with those who prefer iced coffees over hot ones since iced coffees are usually topped with ice cubes to lower the temperature.

The color of beans at this roast type will be brownish or with some red hues to them depending on how long you roast them.

This roast type is not as popular as the light roast, but if you like your coffee with a little bit of body and still smooth to taste, then this is the right roast for you.

3. Medium Roast

A medium roasting type will give you a stronger flavor than the light and medium-light roasting types.

The beans will have a redder color and they will be slightly oily to touch. At this stage, it is best that you use hot water to brew your coffee.

It won’t be that strong if you’re using cold water though since the flavors are already “broken down” by now

You can then add sugar and cream to give it a sweeter taste.

4. Medium-Dark Roast

Medium-dark roasts of coffee can be described as having a bittersweet and chocolatey taste to them, which you will surely enjoy.

This roast type is also very popular amongst coffee connoisseurs who like their coffee with a touch of cream and sugar flavor, but not too strong on the sweetness side.

The beans will have a darker color like chocolate brown and even some red hues to them.

5. Dark Roast

If you like your coffee really strong, then dark roast coffee is the best option for you.

This roast type makes up about 30% of all coffee sold in American cafes.

Dark roast has a bitter taste to it, giving off strong flavors of chocolate and/or nuts.

The beans will have turned into charcoal color after roasting, still retaining their shape, unlike the other types which become flat once roasted.

You can then brew your dark roast with hot or cold water depending on your preference.

If you’re using cold water, then it’s best to add whole milk instead of cream since cream will separate when mixed with coffee that has been brewed using cold water.

6. Blonde Roast

This roast type is also known as “Italian” or “French Roast”.

The beans will be golden to golden brown in color, usually giving off a nutty aroma and taste.

The flavor of this roast type is usually strong and bold as well as sweet and nutty.

This kind of coffee is best for those who like the stronger coffee type.

You can also describe different roasts by using other adjectives such as light, medium, medium-light and dark.

Other ways you can describe these types of roasts is by using words like full-body, thin body, or flat-out too heavy for its own good.

If you want to be more specific with your coffee roasting, then use the different roast types and the different adjectives to describe them.

You can also add in your own adjectives if you want to.

Types of Coffee Roasts & Their Roast Profiles

Roast profiles are the times when roasting coffee beans in a roaster.

For example, an “American Roast” is when the coffee bean is roasted for 8-12 minutes in a hot-air oven, also known as a drum or batch roaster.

When you’re using a kitchen stove and want to roast your own coffee beans and not buy already roasted ones from the store.

Then you need to use your judgment and estimate the time it takes for your specific drum or batch roaster to complete its roast cycle.

Since you’re doing the roasting yourself, it is your judgment that will determine if your coffee beans are roasted enough.

If you’re not sure, then just roast them a little more to be on the safe side.

The longer you roast your beans, the stronger their flavor would be and the darker its color will turn out.

A medium roast in a home kitchen is when you roast your beans in a drum or batch roaster for about 12-14 minutes.

Also known as a “full city” or “American” roast, medium roasts have been used by coffee shops and commercial establishments for their espresso-based drinks.

It has a smooth taste to it but with a little bit of character compared to lighter roasts.

For instance, if you’re using cold water to brew your coffee then this roast profile is perfect for you.

If you’re using hot water, then it would be better for you to use one of the lighter roasts so it won’t be too bitter.

All in all, if you like bolder flavors in your coffee, then medium roast is for you.

If there’s one word that describes light roast best, it would be “bright”.

This type of roast gives off a smooth flavor with almost no other taste added into the mix.

It will have a slightly darker color compared to other types of roasts because the beans are roasted for shorter periods of time.

If you’re looking for a brew that has a strong taste, then dark roast is one of the best roasts to go with.

In fact, dark roast coffee is so popular in American cafes because it is usually the final stage in making an espresso-based drink.

Darker roasted coffee beans have been used in making this type of beverage because they have more bitterness compared to lightly roasted coffee beans.

If you’re looking for a strong coffee with a bit of a sweet flavor, then the only kind of roast that will give you just that would be blonde or French roast.

Beans at this level were usually used in Europe since they have been roasted for long hours to produce thick and creamy drinks.

It is said that the French called the darker roasted coffee beans as “cafe au lait”, meaning “coffee with milk”.

If you’re using hot water to brew your coffee beans, then it is best to use a lighter roast.

If you’re using cold water, then it would be better for you to use a darker roast.

*Note: There are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if you’re using hot water to brew your coffee beans which are already dark roasted, then it will still taste good but with less bitterness.

Roast type is one of the most important factors that will affect your brewing performance at home or in your favorite cafe.

If you want a good cup of coffee with a nice bold flavor, then you must identify which roast type suits your flavor preference.

If you want to brew your coffee using the French Press method, then opt for a light roast.

This way, your coffee will have a stronger flavor once brewed as opposed to dark roasted beans.

If you want to brew an espresso-based drink at home using the drip coffee brewer or percolator, then go for a dark roast since they have been used in producing this kind of brew.

Coffee roasts are not just classified by their color but also by how much it is caramelized or developed during roasting.

You can also use adjectives like smooth, nutty, bitter or crisp in order to describe the different roasts.

There are those who want to analyze the different kinds of roasts they have available to them, as well as the intensity of the flavor they want their coffee to have.

In order for you to know what type of roast profile would be best for you, there are some things you need to consider first.

These factors include the amount of time brewed, how roasted it is, and how long it has been stored.

Other Types of Coffee Roasts

Before some of you start to roll your eyes using the above roast types, what you’ll need to know is that there are some coffee roasters who mix up these roast types to concoct new coffee recipes.

Yes, you read that right.

If you want to make some coffee available in all places of the world, then it’s best to use different roast types for each geographic location.

Here are the different recipes used by commercial establishments for their coffees:

Full City Roast – A full city roast has medium-dark roasted beans which are then mixed with lighter roasted beans.

The ratio depends on how the business owner wants his coffee beans roasted.

American City Roast – A city roast will have dark roasted beans which are mixed with lighter roasted beans.

Again, the ratio is not fixed so the business owner might use a more or less amount of darker and lighter roasts.

French City Roast – Some businesses use this roast to give off a stronger flavor of the coffee.

The ratio is different depending on how strong the flavor and body you want your coffee to have.

French Roast – This roast type has dark roasted beans mixed with lighter ones.

The darker beans are used when you’re brewing coffee using cold water, while lighter ones are used when brewing coffee using hot water.

Single City Roast – This is another roast type that you won’t find in the coffee shops, but it’s often used by coffee roasters who want a stronger flavor in the coffee they make.

This is a single roast so there will only be dark beans present.

Viennese Roast – Some of you might recognize this roast from the rich and creamy Vienna-style pastries.

The beans on this roast type are usually added into the mix to enhance flavor and aroma. \

You can then add milk or sugar to brew it up into a delicious cup of java.

Medium Roast – This roast type will have a more balanced flavor between the various flavors present.

The dark roasted beans are added on top of an equal amount of lighter ones.

Dark Roast – This roast type has a bitter flavor to it, usually giving off strong roasted coffee bean notes.

The beans on this roast type are usually freshly ground.

You can then place an amount of this roast into a coffee grinder and make some delicious coffee mixtures for you and your loved ones.

Light Roast vs Medium Roast

Is there really a difference between these two types of coffee roasts?

Yes, there is a difference, and the differences are in the flavor and aroma of the coffee.

A light roast will usually give off a more pronounced flavor in your coffee beans while a medium roast will usually give you a more balanced taste between bitter and sweet flavors.

Because of the difference in roasts, it would be best to brew your light roasted beans using hot water to extract their full potential.

On the other hand, if you’re going to brew your medium roasted beans, then opt for cold water since this kind of roast is less acidic which allows you to extract more flavor from it.

The differences between these two types of roasts can also be seen when using a French Press or a drip coffee brewer.

Light roasted beans are not recommended to be used because the flavor will get diluted quickly since you have to use hot water.

For medium roasted beans, this kind of brewing method is also preferred because the stronger aroma will not get covered by other coffee flavors after it’s done brewing.

Dark Roast vs Light Roast

On the other hand, because of their acidic taste, dark roast coffee beans are recommended for brewing using cold water.

If you’re going to brew your dark roast beans with hot water, then you should also add some milk in it while waiting for it to brew up.

The longer your coffee steeps in hot water, then the more bitter or burnt flavors will be noticeable in your cup of java.

If you’re going to make a brewed coffee using a coffee maker, then it’s best if you use a dark roast since the flavor will be stronger and last longer.

To make a cold brew, a light roast coffee bean is recommended because it’s going to give off that strong yet balanced flavor you want from your coffee.

The advantage of using cold water is that there will be less acidity in your drink, making it perfect for those who are sensitive to the caffeine content in their java.

The Difference Between Dark Roast vs Medium Roast

There are coffee roasters who usually think that if they want their beans to taste like dark coffee, then they should roast the beans on medium heat.

This is not true because you can brew up dark roasted beans on any heat type.

If you’re going to brew them on medium heat, then the difference is only the fact that it takes a longer time to caramelize during roasting.

On a side note, if you’re going to use a light roast on a medium level, then it’s going to take a little longer time since these two have different properties.

This is because of how the beans are roasted and the chemicals released from these beans during roasting.

Final Thoughts on Types of Coffee Roasts

If you take a look at the image above, you’ll see that these roasted beans have a different color, texture and aroma.

Darker roasted beans have a darker color and a thicker look compared to lighter roasted ones.

The difference in these types of coffee beans is not huge though.

In fact, if you give it a try, then you can probably find out that the difference is not as obvious as it seems to be.

It doesn’t mean that dark roasts are stronger than medium roasts though.

It’s just that for each type of roast there will have an equal amount of acidity present in your cup of java.

The difference is in how it’s being prepared, using different types of water temperature.

It’s also nice to have a variety of roasts so you can try and experiment with them when making your own coffee blends.

Do you have any favorite types of coffee roasts?

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