Roast Levels

roast levels




The coffee bean we know is actually the seed of the coffee plant cherry. After cultivating and processing, the secret flavors hidden inside the green “bean” is what coffee roasters love to explore.

A single coffee bean has more than 300 aromatic compounds trapped inside and over 650 new compounds that can be created and coaxed out by roasting the bean with passion and care. In addition, beans harvested in certain regions and varying growing conditions can yield characteristics better suited to various styles of roast.




Lighter roasts generally have a pleasant and bright acidity and retain more of the natural flavors trapped inside the bean. Beans that generally have more floral and fruity characteristics work well at this roast level. With its lighter body, lingering aftertaste, and interesting aromas, it’s a roast preferred by many specialty coffee drinkers. These roasts generally stop very soon after “first crack,” and development is on the lighter side, retaining the bean’s natural acidity and flavors.




This level extends the roast slightly longer, allowing the acidity to become fruitier and sweeter. A popular roast in the Northeast for a number of years, its body is more substantial and complex compared to the light roast. Contrary to popular belief, lighter roasts technically retain more caffeine; hence, the enthusiasm for breakfast blends.




This popular level is found throughout the United States. Sometimes referred to as City Roast, medium roasts feature aromatics are at their peak and become very complex. Natural acidity is lower than light roasts, but the flavor characteristics are still evident. Medium roasts do not reach the “second crack” and are more developed, bringing out differing flavors within the bean.




Often referred to as Full City, the beans are darker in appearance due to the sugars being more fully developed. This level is slightly sweeter than medium and dark levels. The coffee produces a heavier body and has a more pronounced feel in the mouth. Extremely versatile, this coffee can be used as a light espresso or light French roast.




Espresso is a very district brewing method and not related to any particular type of coffee bean. Many coffees roast well at for this brewing method. Espresso blends are labeled as such, as they tend to be very complex and well balanced with a heavier body, sweetness, and aftertaste. and pair well with steamed milks. These coffee blends are generally on the darker side and sometimes an oily surface is present.




These coffees go through the “second crack” and bring out more of the nutty, chocolatey, and spicy aromas. Acidity is lower, and the beans are more developed, retaining some sweetness. Dark roasts should never taste bitter.




Extending the dark roast development produces very dark and oily beans, with flat acidity. The body is still full, and sweetness is still present. More smoky tones can be tasted and may mask the other characteristics. Darker roasts still work well for espresso, for those that prefer this smokier experience. Other terms for the dark roasts include, French, Turkish, Italian, and Dark Espresso.


Check out our Blog for more on the wide range of coffee possibilities.

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