You'll commonly see bags of coffee ready for purchase to have a 'Roast Type:...' label on them. Typically, this is one of three: light roast, medium roast or dark roast. But what does this mean when it comes to the taste of coffee? Let's explore...
Remember, all coffee starts as 'green coffee', whilst it might not always look green in colour, it's called this to distinguish the coffee as unroasted. Coffee from farms is purchased this way.
pictured above: green coffee from our supplier
Light roast is coffee roasted at a lower temperature than medium or dark. This means the green beans (fresh unroasted coffee) have been roasted for a shorter time and at a lower roasting temperature compared to darker roasts. This shorter period means the beans do not darken as much, or release their oils. This is most common for filter brewing methods, as it keeps more of the delicate complex flavours of the coffee, which are then extracted through filter methods such as pour overs and Aeropress brewing.
Next we have medium roast. This type of roast occurs when beans are heated at a higher temperature, and for a longer period than light roasted beans. With more heating, comes a slight reduction in the delicate notes of the coffee. However most of the unique flavours of the bean are still well preserved. Roasting at this higher temperature also enriches a deeper more caramel flavour to the beans which can help enhance the sweetness of the beans. The beans will appear to have a crack in them and will appear darker in colour. Beans of this roast type are popular amongst all brewing methods, including espresso.
Finally, we have dark roast. Which, you guessed it, occurs when beans are roasted at the higher temperatures for much longer than light or medium roasts. This creates a much darker appearance, often causing the oils of the coffee to be displayed on the bean. The darker roast may limit the fruity delicate flavours of the coffee, but it showcases new flavours of caramel, chocolate and nutty notes. Dark roasts are commonly used for espresso as this method compliments the flavours the best, we especially love this with milk in drinks such as flat whites or cappuccinos (the chocolate on top really emphasises this).
Be Aware of Roasts
It's important to be aware of the roast type when you purchase new coffee. We recommend ensuring that the coffee you buy for filter coffees is roasted for filter coffee (usually a light or medium roast) , and the same goes for espresso. Always check with your barista if you're unsure as this will help you get the best flavours out of your coffee.