In one of my previous post I talked about choosing the best Espresso machine for you and your business. While having a good machine is important for making the best brew, what tops that is the beans themselves. Any café owner will tell you that the quality of the beans they use is what makes their product special. However, this can be a bit trickier than you may think. Coffee beans come is a variety of roasts; from Light roast all the way to Dark. The type you choose can influence the outcome in your cup. This is whole roasted coffee beans I’m talking about of course. Aside from that, there is pre-grounded beans, which is something else separately. Then there’s instant coffee; which in my opinion is not coffee at all, and should not even exist. If you or anyone you know drinks ‘instant coffee’, then…well, I don’t know. I just have less faith in humanity, I guess.
But back to the point. What I am going to let you guys in on today is 4 different types of whole roasted coffee. But first, let’s get an idea of what roasting actually does to coffee beans.
Coffee beans or seeds are originally bland. They aren’t brown, but a very light green color and don’t have a strong smell. They kind of look like blanched peanuts. It is the roasting process that gives the beans their color, scent and flavor. According to what temperature you’re roasting your beans at will determine if they will be light, medium or dark. It’s your preference really. I found some instructions on how to roast the beans yourself, if you’re interested in doing that. I got it off another web-page, which I’ll be leaving a link to.
- To reach light roast (also called New England, Half-City, or Cinnamon), roast your beans just past the first crack. That’s an internal temperature of 356 to 401 F.
- For medium roast coffee (also called City, Regular, or American), continue for a few more minutes until just before the second crack. The internal temperature should be 410 to 428 F.
- If you prefer medium-dark roast coffee (also called Viennese, Continental, Fully City, Light French, or Light Espresso), stop roasting during or right after the second crack. You should see oils on the beans and reach an internal temperature of 437 to 446 F.
- For dark roast coffee (also called French, Espresso, Turkish, Italian, Dark French, or Heavy), continue roasting for a few minutes after the second crack. You should see plenty of oil on the beans and reach a temperature between 464 and 482 F.
Sorry for the temperatures being in Fahrenheit. >_<
The 4 Types of Coffee Roasts:
- Light Roast
Light roasted coffee beans spend less time in the oven, or roaster, or whatever you might use. The process with them tends to stop after the first crack in the beans appear. Heat tends to draw out the caffeine in the beans. What this means is lighter roasts have more caffeine than their darker brethren. They also have a higher level of acidity to their taste, which is somewhat akin to citrus.
I actually don’t recall having light roast as of late. I mostly go for a medium or darker roast. Maybe I should go back and try this one. Also, this might the choice for you if you want to get that extra kick of caffeine in the morning.
- Medium Roast
Actually, it’s the one that most coffee shops use around the world. The color of a medium roasted coffee bean is slightly darker than the light roast, but not by much. There is more of a balance between flavors as the acidity is lower.
For those of you who are new to the coffee-junkie life, this might be what you want start off with.
- Medium-Dark Roast
This is the gold right here. The MD (medium-dark) roast has even less acidity and an even fuller, richer flavor. You can tell them apart by their looks. MD roasts have a darker color and a slightly oily sheen to them. Because they’re roasted at a higher temperature, the oils that are in the bean comes to the surface.
- Dark Roast
Have you ever gotten a fresh espresso at your local coffee joint, taken a sip, and just melted from the inside out with pleasure? Yeah, that’s what dark roasted coffee will do to you. The flavor that you get here is just rich and bold and buttery. The reason for this is the longer roasting process. More time in the heat means that the natural sugars in the coffee beans become caramelized, giving them a sweeter taste. This is a trade off since dark roasted coffee have even less caffeine than the other roasts. That might be ok with you if what you’re after is the flavor. I’m actually down with that.
So there you have it peeps. The four variations of coffee roasts. Of course, there are more than just these four. Each country, shop and individual will have their own way of doing things. There are some special roasts that I really want to share with you guys. I will be sharing that next time I bring up the topic of coffee.