The Different Roast Levels of Coffee
Before roasting, the green coffee beans have a grassy smell and hardly any taste. It is the coffee roasting process that transforms these raw beans into the distinctively aromatic, flavorful bean that we recognize as coffee. The degree to which coffee beans are roasted plays an important role in determining the taste of the coffee. Other factors like, the coffee origin, the growing conditions, the processing method, the grind, and the brewing method will also affect the taste of coffee. But the roast level provides a rough understanding of the taste you can expect.
The most common way to describe coffee roast levels is by the color of the roasted beans, which normally ranges from light to dark. This happens because coffee beans absorb heat in the roasting process, which results in their color becoming darker.
Light roasts are light brown in color, with a light body and no oil on the surface of the beans. The origin flavors of the bean are retained to a greater extent than in darker roasted coffees. These roasts also retain most of the caffeine from the coffee bean.
Medium roast coffees are medium brown in color with more body than light roasts. They have no oil on the bean surfaces. However, medium roasts have a more balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity. Caffeine is decreased, but there is more caffeine than in darker roasts.
Medium-Dark Roasts have a richer, darker color with some oil visible on the surface of the beans. This roast has a heavy body in comparison with the lighter or medium roasts.
Dark Roast coffees are dark brown in color or sometimes almost black. They have a polish of oil on the surface, which is usually evident in the cup when the dark roast coffee is brewed. The coffee’s original flavors are hidden by the flavors of the roasting process. The coffee will generally have a bitter and smoky taste. The amount of caffeine is also very minimal.