Coffee “Beans” as they’re known colloquially are actually not beans at all. They’re retrieved from the center of a coffee cherry and is actually the seed of the coffee plant. A fresh coffee “bean” would look nothing like the live saving little brown wonders you’ve come to depend on; they’re actually small, green, spongy little bulbs that have a somewhat grassy smell to them and they taste nothing like you morning latte at this point. It’s only once we put these coffee beans through the roasting process that we begin to release the natural aromas and flavors that have made this one of the most widely consumed items in the world. Once the beans begin to approach the light roast level, things begin to move very quickly. Master roasters must monitor the beans constantly as the difference between a light and a medium roast is separated by just a couple of minutes, and a handful of degrees.
Ultimately your roast of choice is a personal decision but there are a couple of distinctions between the different roast levels that give them their unique characteristics. Light roasts can generally be thought of as having a “purer” coffee taste, or preserving what the raw bean would taste like. This is the preferred roast type for coffee beans that are very aromatic, light, and fresh tasting. As the roasts get darker you can think of it as the flavours of the roasting process overtaking the flavors of the coffee bean. At higher temperatures the coffee bean’s essential oils start to break out through the bean’s skin, giving it a richer taste. The darkest roasts begin to pick up a smokey flavor not unlike how a wine or whiskey absorbs the smokiness and flavors of the woods they’re stored in. Dark roasts also tend to have a little less caffeine than a lighter roast as the caffeine is burned off in the roasting process.
Hopefully, this guide will help you make your decision about your preferred roast type. Better yet! Maybe you already knew your preferred type and we were able to shed some light on why it’s your preferred version. Either way, the world of coffee is a vast ocean of flavors and aromas; and we encourage our readers to go out and experience as many of them as they can.