How Does Roast Level Affect Coffee Profile?
If you’ve had coffee more than just a few times, you probably know which type of roast you like the most. Depending on how roasted the coffee beans are, the resulting flavors and body will vary drastically. Along with the brewing process, processing method, and origin of the beans, how the coffee is roasted is one of the biggest factors in how it will taste and feel.
One common misconception is that darker roasted coffee contains more caffeine than lighter roasts. In fact, the opposite is true. A longer roasting process extracts more of the coffee’s molecules, and this applies to caffeine.
There’s also another misconception about caffeine in coffee. People that know darker roasts have less caffeine often don’t know one little caveat: the caffeine is only lower if you are measuring by volume. True, one scoopful of dark roast will in fact have less caffeine than the same scoop of a lighter roast. However, if you measure by weight, the caffeine levels will be the same. This is because the longer roasting process extracts the different molecules in coffee proportionally. So dark roasted beans will just be lighter in general.
So if you’re looking for a bit more caffeine in your coffee, and all you have to measure is a measuring cup, lighter roasts are the way to go. But if you have a scale, feel free to go light or dark roast--the caffeine levels will be roughly the same.
Body & Texture
When it comes to the body and texture of a coffee, a lot of it is a result of how it is roasted. Light roasts tend to have a bit more mellow of a body. This doesn’t mean that they lack in flavor, just that the flavors will not be as powerful as they will with a dark roast.
As the coffee is roasted, it begins to lose acidity and gain bitterness. These traits are often confused for one another. Acidity is essentially the brightness of the flavors, or how well your taste buds are able to perceive and distinguish flavors. Bitterness, on the other hand, is more similar to how sharp the flavors are. This can be a good or bad thing depending on your preferences.
As for the texture of the actual beans, light and medium roasts are typically more solid and have no oil on the outside. Medium-dark and dark roasts have oil on the outside and tend to be more brittle. This oil is also evident once the coffee is brewed; darker roasts will have a bit more foam on top. This is where the crema in Espresso comes from. All Espresso roasts are very dark, partly to bring out more oils. These oils, and the presence of crema, are often used to reveal to the freshness of the Espresso. Read more about crema here.
As coffee beans are roasted, they slowly lose the original flavors of the coffee and begin to take on a more uniform flavor. This doesn’t mean that quality dark roasts will taste the same as cheap dark roasts, but that they will begin to adopt some of the same flavors--a quality coffee will always be better.
What this does mean is that light roasts from different regions will taste extremely different from one another, and display unique flavors from their home. On the other hand, the same coffee beans roasted longer will begin to taste a bit more similar--although they will maintain some of their original flavors.
Light roasts tend to display more fruity flavors than dark roasts. Dark roasts will tend to have more earthy, chocolatey, or caramel flavors. While these flavors will vary a lot by where the coffee was cultivated, it’s a general rule of thumb that the darker the roast, the less fruity it is. Some light roasts, like our Delicata Blend, can even show citrusy flavors.
The “light” or “dark” in the type of roast can actually be used to reference several things. First, it could mean how thick the body is. It could also be referring to the amount of time the coffee is roasted. However, the origin comes from the actual color of the bean. Light roasts are a tan color, medium roasts are a dark tan/light brown color, medium-dark roasts are a dark brown, and dark roasts are such a dark brown that they may even appear black. This can be used to identify which type of coffee you are looking at.
Medium Roasts vs. Medium-Dark Roasts
Since there is no standardization in the coffee world, there are a lot of different terms out there to describe different types of roasts. You may also hear different names for the same thing. One such thing is the “medium-dark” roast. For some, they may call this a dark roast, but in reality, a medium-dark roast does not quite go as far as most dark roasts.
Naturally, a medium-dark roast is about halfway between a medium and dark roast. This means that it will be less bitter, a little more bright, and less intense than a dark roast. It may even sometimes have some mildly fruity or spicy flavors. It tends to have a small amount of oil on the outside and is a bit more easy-drinking than its darker counterpart. Medium-dark roasts are a great option for someone who enjoys dark roasts but wants something a little bit easier to drink. Check out our Premium Medium-Dark Roast.
Here at Amora, we offer premium coffee blends for all coffee drinkers. Whether you like fruitier, lighter roasts or darker, creamier roasts, we have an option for all coffee drinkers.
Our Delicata Blend is a gently roasted blend from a combination of Central and South American beans. Balanced, fruity, creamy, and with a good body, this light roast starts with sweet lemon and finishes with a smooth, milk chocolate body.
Our Elegante Blend is a smoothly roasted blend made from Indonesian and South American beans. This medium roast features notes of chocolate, caramel, and spices. With excellent sweetness, a syrupy body, and a complex finish.
Our Vigorosi Blend is a boldly roasted blend from East African and South American beans. This medium-dark roast boasts rich notes of lemon fruitiness, dark chocolate, and caramel. It offers balanced, sweet acidity complemented by a bittersweet chocolate and nutty finish.
Our Intenso Blend is a fiercely roasted blend from Central & South American beans. Its smoky, spicy cocoa flavors has a bold, rich, decadent finish. This dark roast is for those who like it strong and forceful.
Our Espresso Blend is for those who really want it dark. This powerful blend can be brewed on its own or made into your own homemade espresso!