10 Different Types of Coffee Roasts and Their Features

Coffee roasting is an art form that can make or break your favourite brew’s taste. Coffee roasts aren’t just about the taste either. The scent of a freshly roasted cup of coffee is one of the main reasons this beverage is so popular. However, not every coffee roast is created equal. In the specialty coffee shops around your neighbourhood, you’ll find different types of coffee roasts that vary in colour, taste, and levels of caffeine.

Coffee beans go through three main stages of roasting to produce a range of flavours. These are light, medium and dark roast. Your preferred cup of coffee, therefore, depends on the roasting a coffee bean is subjected to. Light roast contains the least caffeine, while dark roast has the least concentration of caffeine. The balance is in the medium roast, the most popular among the three.

Here are ten different types of coffee roasts that you might like to try:

Type #1: Unroasted Green Coffee Beans

These types of coffee roasts are made using basic coffee beans right after they have been harvested. How long they maintain their full flavour is a question that still has varying answers, but the consensus appear to be that green coffee beans are good for 6-18 months. This coffee roast is stored at 22°C/72°F.

Type #2: Mechanically Dried Green Coffee Beans

Although this type of coffee roast is technically unroasted, drying occurs at the first crack. This is after all the moisture has been removed. The crack sound signifies when to stop roasting.

Should you go with the unwashed drying process that’s popular with this type of coffee roast, and which involves laying out the beans in the sun to dry, you can avoid temperatures that cause cracking.

However, unless you actually eat the coffee bean, you can’t tell the difference. These types of coffee roasts are stored at temperatures of 165°C/329°F.

Type #3: Cinnamon Coffee Roasts

The cinnamon roast is considered a light roast, actually the lightest. It’s roasted at temperatures of 196°C/385°F. With a cinnamon coffee roast, the acidity doesn’t necessarily burn off. This prevents the sweetness from fully coming forward. You will get grassy and grainy flavour notes and a sour taste.

These types of coffee roasts have the highest caffeine content. Coffee beans get their first crack in the roasting process, and it stops at that point.

Type #4: Light Coffee Roasts

This is the typical light coffee roast. As browning starts to show, the complexity in acidic flavours tends to show through more. At this point, the caffeine content is still high.

If you’re an experienced coffee taster and you’ve had the chance to taste a wide variety of coffees, you can pick up the original flavour notes in a light roast coffee. A light roast is also known as the first crack since it marks the initial stage of expansion and cracking.

With light roasts, a bean’s surface isn’t supposed to be oily. If it is, you’ll end up with a different type of coffee roast.

Type #5: American Coffee Roasts

This is a traditional type of coffee roast usually classified as a medium roast. The beans roast to a medium brown, which is a result of the caramelization occurring within the bean after exposure to heat. At this point, the bean doesn’t show any oils on its surface.

This roast level is categorized under the first crack. It brews a flavourful, complex, and less acidic cup of coffee. At this stage, some of the original flavour notes begin to fade.

Type #6: City Coffee Roasts

This is a medium roast in which beans reach the first crack, resulting in dry, medium-brown beans. At this stage, the coffee emits full flavours, but with a roast flavour.

The natural coffee bean oils begin to surface, giving parts of the beans a slick look. The acidity is so complex at this stage that it starts to overcome the roast flavour. Many coffeehouses prefer this type of coffee.

Type #7: Vienna Coffee Roasts

These types of coffee roasts are defined as medium-roasted coffee. The beans have a light, oily look. At this juncture, the roast flavour overwhelms the acidity, giving the coffee roast a bittersweet caramel taste.

Type #8: Full City Coffee Roasts

This coffee roast is commonly mistaken for a dark roast, perhaps because it matures past the first crack and stops just before reaching the second crack.

It’s essential to know the difference to avoid bundling various flavours together. This is a medium-dark roast accompanied by oils that appear spotty. At this point, the roast flavour is evident, and some characteristics of green coffee, such as acidity, start to disappear. This roast is mainly used to prepare espresso.

Type #9: French Coffee Roasts

The French roast matures after the second crack. The beans are shiny because the oils have seeped to the surface. At this level, caffeine is lower, aromas and flavours are lost, and there is less acidity. Besides, the roast flavour is enriched with burnt tones.

Beans are less dense. These types of coffee roasts require more beans to extract the remaining flavours. Coffee brewed with this roast has a chocolate colour.

Type #10: Italian Coffee Roasts

At this level of roasting, the coffee beans are virtually black. They appear to be extremely shiny because the oils have already burnt out. This dark roast has the lowest caffeine content. Coffee brews from this roast have a distinctly bitter flavour. The acidity is eliminated while the density of the beans is low. The body is thinly flavoured.

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