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Know Your Roasts: Identifying Types of Coffee Roasts

Coffee roasting is a chemical process, which could actually be considered an art form. It takes extensive experience to be able to instantly know the difference between perfectly roasted coffee and tainted coffee. The purpose of coffee roasting is to bring out the aroma and flavor hidden inside the coffee beans. Roasted coffee beans are crunchy to the bite, and are ready to be ground and brewed. The extent to which coffee beans are roasted determines the coffee’s flavor. There are different kinds of roasts, and that can be confusing if you are not a roasting aficionado. That’s why we’re giving you a little introductory lesson on the types of coffee roasts. A coffee roast falls into one of four different categories based on its color. These are light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Within these categories, there are some common roasts.

Light Roasts

For milder coffee varieties, light roasts are generally preferred. They are characteristically light brown in color, and there is no oil on the surface of these beans. In a light roast, the difference between different origins is at its most distinct, and the unique qualities of each bean (Ethiopian vs. Guatemalan vs. Indonesian, etc.) are most evident. Light roasts have a toasted grain taste and pronounced acidity.

The light roasts that fall into this category are Light City, Half City, Cinnamon, and New England roasts.

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Medium Roasts

Typically preferred in the United States, the medium roasts are medium brown in color and have a stronger flavor than the light roasts. Unlike the light roasts, some of the coffee’s oils may be visible on the beans. At this roast level, the coffee’s qualities create a balance of bitterness, acidity, and fullness. The common medium roasts are called City, American, and Breakfast.

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Medium-Dark Roasts

Medium-dark roasts have a rich, dark color with some oil on the surface, and have a slight bittersweet aftertaste. The most common type of medium-dark roast is called FullCity.

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Dark Roasts

Dark roasts are very dark brown, almost chocolate in color, and oils are clearly visible on the beans. The darker the roasts, the less acidity will be in the coffee. There are several common roasts that fall into this category—High, Continental, New Orleans, European, Espresso, Viennese, Italian, and French.

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These various roasting levels are really a matter of personal preference, as each level produces different qualities in the coffee. Knowing whether you prefer light, medium, or dark roasts, can help you decide what sorts of coffees you might like, and CoffeeAM has all types of roasts to satisfy your personal taste.
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