Roasting is an essential part of the process of making coffee. Before they’re roasted, coffee beans are light green, spongy and wet, and they smell like grass. By heating them up with techniques that take years of training and experience to accomplish, roasting chemically alters the beans in a way that brings out the rich aromas and flavors that millions of coffee drinkers around the world love so much. Flavor Even the same variety of bean yields noticeable differences in flavor depending on where it’s grown. Because of that, the color of the roasted bean itself is not the main determinant of the unique flavors of the eventual brew. Nonetheless, it’s the most convenient and most accepted way to categorize a roast, because some distinct chemical properties of the beans change predictably as they are roasted progressively darker. Four Basic Types There is no industry standard for roasting types, and some companies have developed their own in-house classifications for roasts. Generally, roasts are divided into four types: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Each type has subtypes with names that may vary depending on the producer. Light roasts, including the cinnamon subtype, are characterized by acidity, fruity smell and a taste of toasted grain. Medium roasts, including the high subtype, are distinguished by a more balanced flavor. Medium roasts contain both acidity and some bitterness, yet they are a little bit naturally sweeter than other roasts. Medium roasts are very popular in the United States. Medium-dark roasts tend to have a bittersweet aftertaste with little, if any, acidity. Subtypes are often called “city” and “full city.” Dark roasts are generally the preferred roast type in Western Europe and the American West Coast. Notable are the French and Italian roasts, as well as the New Orleans roast, all which are very bitter. Dark Versus Light Generally speaking, darker roasts yield less acidity and less caffeine in the beans. Lighter roasts, therefore, have a much more acidic flavor and alongside more caffeine. Dark roasting also causes oils to become more visible on the surface of the beans as they darken. Dark beans often crack open due to all of the moisture extraction. Contrarily, lightly roasted beans are dry and smooth. As the beans darken, the original flavors become less and less pronounced. Eventually, the roasting process overpowers the natural flavors in the bean to become burnt or even tar-like with a flavor. The type of roast preferred by each drinker comes down to a matter of personal preference. One fact remains constant: the best time to taste a coffee’s flavor occurs as soon as possible after roasting! Let us know what kind of roast you want today!