Ever wandered down the coffee aisle at a local grocery store and came across a selection of different coffee types? You see Italian roast, French roast, espresso roast… But what do these coffee labels have to do with your coffee? How does it impact its taste?

Importance of Coffee Roast

Each coffee type tastes different from the others. Some you may find light and fruity, while others may taste nutty and dark. The reason why these coffee types taste differently is determined by how intensely the beans have been roasted. To help you better understand coffee roasts, here are some of the common types you’ll see in the market.

Light Roast Coffee

Light roast coffee has a light brown color and has no oil on the surface of the beans. These beans typically create coffee drinks that have crisp acidity and bright flavors. If you use beans that are well grown and properly roasted, you can make a variety of flavors with different aromas and aftertastes. Most light roasts produce fruity and floral coffees.

During the roasting process, light roasted coffee reaches an internal temperature of about 170-200 degrees Celsius. They barely reach the first crack, which is the moment when the beans begin to reach the edibility stage. It happens when the beans’ vapors start to break through the outer wall, creating a cracking sound.

Medium Roast Coffee

Medium roast beans have a medium acidity and body. This level of roasting still preserves many of the unique flavors of the bean’s origin. However, you can also taste caramel sweetness due to longer roast. In addition to a much darker appearance, medium roasting also results to a balanced and sweeter taste. While the bright notes may be eliminated, it replaces it with balance.

Medium roast is also a common choice for many specialty coffee brands since they are more appealing to the average coffee drinkers. Moreover, these beans retain the coffee’s natural flavor even if they are less acidic and less intense than light roast. The roasting process at this level reaches 200-220 degrees Celsius, going beyond first crack.

Dark Roast Coffee

Lastly, dark roasted beans have oily surface. It creates coffee that has heavy body, low acidity, and deeper flavors. This level does not retain much of their origin’s characteristics but they remain flavorful. Most dark roasted beans have nutty and chocolatey flavor, making it appealing to a wider number of coffee drinkers. This is also the reason why dark roast is more preferred. The roasting process removes the not so desirable flavors in coffee it produces, creating a more approachable one. Dark roasting reaches from 220 to 240 degrees Celsius, reaching (sometimes going beyond) the second crack.


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