Roasting Roundup

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Roasting Roundup

IsleWalking through a supermarket coffee isle can be a confusing experience for many people. The intoxicating coffee smells make you swoon with desire. But how do you choose a coffee?

Are the over the top flavored smells you encounter really the best indicator of what you will like? Or is there a better way to narrow your choices? How the coffee is roasted can play a big part in how it tastes, and seems like the logical point to start.

Unroasted coffee beans start out green and through the roasting process they gradually change color. Depending on how long the beans are roasted they go through a series of “cracks” as the internal temperature of the bean begins to rise.

Coffee Roast Guide

Cinnamon - Light brown, almost tan in color. This roast is generally sour and acidic. Some people have described it as tasting like toasted grain.

American - Medium light brown. Many commercially available canned coffees have an American roast. This is also commonly used with robusta beans (less flavor than arabica beans but more caffeine).

City - Medium brown. City roast is obtained just after the first crack of the roasting process, at this stage the beans are still dry and lacking any surface oil.

At this point in the roasting process the aroma of the beans starts to really come out. It smells like you would expect roasted coffee to smell like.

City+ - Marginally darker than the City roast. A City+ roast is obtained during the period between the first and second crack of the bean as it is being roasted.

Full City - Here we get into a medium dark brown color. Fully city roast beans will have a slight amount of surface oil. It is at this point the beans start to get into a bittersweet roast character.

Full City+ - Ever so slightly darker brown than Full city. Here the beans are beginning to have a glossy appearance. The beans may now be considered to be “dark roast”. We have reached a good point to start making espresso!

Vienna / Light French - At this point the beans are dark brown. Surface oil has become much more apparent and the beans have a more pronounced bittersweet/caramel taste. The beans start to have a smokey flavor.

French - Dark brown. Oily. Starting to get a burned undertones, and is frequently used what should be no surprise — French Presses.

Italian - Very dark brown. Very oily. Low acidity for those coffee drinkers sensitive to coffee acidity this might be a good choice. Significantly more burnt undertones.

Spanish Dark brown/Almost Black - Very shiny. I have read that the Spanish roast has charcoal undertones.

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