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Discover Your Perfect Coffee Roast: A Guide to Coffee Roasts and Varieties

Types of Coffee Roasts: Discover the Perfect Roast for You

Coffee lovers worldwide can attest that there’s nothing like a freshly ground cup of coffee to start the day right. But did you know that the flavor and aroma of your coffee depend on the roast level?

The roast level determines the beans’ depth of color, oiliness, texture, and flavor profile. In this article, we’ll explore the different types of coffee roasts and their characteristics, so you can find the perfect one to suit your palate!

Light Roast: The First Crack

Light Roast is the earliest level of coffee roasting, where the beans reach an internal temperature of around 356 to 401F, which is before the “first crack.” The coffee beans are light brown in color and have a fruity and floral aroma. The light roast is also referred to as “Cinnamon Roast,” “Half City Roast,” or “City Roast,” which signifies the roast type’s origin.

The light roast’s acidity level is pretty high, giving the coffee a light-bodied flavor. The caffeine content is highest in light roasts, making it the perfect choice for those who want a caffeine boost.

Light roasts are perfect for people who prefer a milder coffee flavor profile.

Medium Roast

The medium roast is the most popular coffee roast level worldwide. At around 410 to 428F, the beans reach the second stage of internal temperature rise, the “first crack,” which produces a sweeter aroma and acidic notes.

Medium roasts are characterized by medium brown color, fuller body, and a condensed flavor. The caffeine content is slightly less than light roasts, but the flavor profile is richer.

Medium roasts are often referred to as “Breakfast Roast” or “American Roast.” Overall, medium roasts are perfect if you want a balanced coffee flavor profile without any bitterness.


Dark Roast

Medium dark roast is a step beyond medium roast, with the beans reaching around 437 to 446F, producing an oily texture, deep flavors, and bittersweet aftertaste. The color of the beans is dark brown.

Medium dark roasts are often referred to as “Full city roast,” which is the coffee industry’s nomenclature for this level of roast. They are also often called “after diner” or “European” roast.

Medium dark roasts are perfect if you want a bold cup of coffee without the burnt taste of darker roasts.

Dark Roast: The Second Crack

Dark roasts are characterized by a second crack, which happens at around 464 to 482F, with the beans reaching a dark brown or black appearance. Dark roasts are typically oily, making them feel thicker in your mouth, with a spicy and bold flavor profile.

Dark roasts are perfect for espresso drinks, which blend well with milk. Dark roasts are known for their low acidity levels, which make them feel smoother to drink.

Some common names for dark roasts include “New Orleans Roast,” “Continental Roast,” or “Viennese Roast,” each of which represents a different roast level.

Characteristics of Different Coffee Roasts

Now that you know the different types of coffee roasts let’s delve deeper into their characteristics.

Light Roast

Light roasts have high acidity levels, making them feel light-bodied and have a pale color. The roast level offers fruity and floral aromas, giving you a mild coffee profile.

Light roast beans retain their original flavor, carrying the subtle notes of the coffee’s origin.

Medium Roast

Medium roasts have a fuller body, condensed flavor, and medium brown color. The roast level produces sweeter aroma notes, and the beans have a balanced flavor profile.

Medium roasts are perfect if you prefer a cup of coffee with adequate caffeine but without any bitterness.


Dark Roast

Medium dark roasts are oily, with deep flavors and bittersweet aftertaste. With a dark brown color, medium dark roasts retain the coffee’s origin while offering a broader flavor profile.

Dark Roast

Dark roasts are characterized by low acidity, thick notes, along with a spicy and bold flavor profile. They are often oily, with notes of toast and chocolate.

Dark roasts pair well with milk, making them ideal for lattes and cappuccinos.


Coffee roasting is both an art and science, with each roast type producing unique flavor and aroma profiles. We hope this article has helped you understand the different types of coffee roasts and their characteristics.

Whether you prefer light, medium, medium dark, or dark roasts, you can now choose the ideal coffee roast to suit your taste buds.

Specific Coffee Varieties for Different Roasts

If you’re a coffee enthusiast, you may find yourself wondering what specific coffee varieties are ideal for each roast type. Knowing which varieties will complement the unique flavor profile of each coffee roast can help you enhance your coffee experience.

Here’s a guide to specific coffee varieties that are perfect for each roast type.

Light Roast

Light roast coffee is synonymous with pour-over coffee brewing. Pour-over brewing requires a specific grind size, which allows for longer exposure to hot water.

The result is a milder coffee with subtle notes of origin. Mild coffee types are generally preferred for a light roast.

Some of the most common mild coffee varieties includeArabica, Kona,andBrazilian. These coffees are lighter in body, with notes of nuts, caramel, and fruits.

Arabica beans, in particular, are considered the most desirable for light roasts because they have high acidity levels, which highlight the coffee’s subtle flavors and aromas. They are grown in optimal climate conditions, such as high altitude and good soil, making them more expensive than other varieties.

Medium Roast

Medium roast is a popular roast type worldwide and is often the preferred coffee roast type for most Americans. A medium roast brings out the beans’ natural flavor and offers a balance between acidity and bitterness.

When it comes to coffee varieties for medium roast, Colombian coffee is ideal. Colombian coffee is known for its nutty and chocolatey notes with a hint of citrus.

It is versatile enough to make an excellent cold brew or a classic pour-over. Other coffee varieties that work well with medium roasts include Costa Rican and Guatemalan coffee.


Dark Roast

Medium dark roast is often called the “Full City” roast because it brings out the beans’ inherent flavors. This roast level is perfect if you want a bold coffee taste without the burnt flavor of darker roasts.

If you enjoy medium dark roast, then you might also prefer Sumatran coffee, which is known for its earthy and dark chocolate notes. Sumatran coffee is a low-acid coffee variety that works well with a medium dark roast, producing a deep and rich flavor.

Ethiopian coffee varieties like Yirgacheffe and Sidamo also pair well with medium dark roasts.

Dark Roast

Dark roasts are typically reserved for strong and bold coffee profiles. They are characterized by low acidity levels and an oily texture, making them thicker in your mouth compared to other roasts.

When it comes to coffee varieties for dark roasts, French roast, Espresso, and Vietnamese coffee are excellent choices. French roast has a smoky and bold flavor, while Espresso offers a rich and intense flavor profile.

Vietnamese coffee is unique because it is typically blended with chicory, offering a bold and slightly sweet taste with a nutty aroma.

Conclusion and Recommendations

Overall, finding the right coffee roast and variety boils down to personal taste. Still, having knowledge of specific roasts and varieties can help you fine-tune your coffee drinking experience.

For those who prefer a mild coffee profile, light roasts with mild coffee varieties like Arabica or Brazilian coffee will be perfect. Medium roast lovers will enjoy Colombian, Costa Rican, or Guatemalan coffee.

If you’re a fan of the bolder taste of medium dark roasts, then Sumatran or Ethiopian coffee is the way to go. Those who love the strong and bold flavor of dark roasts should explore French roast, Espresso, and Vietnamese coffee.

If you’re passionate about coffee and want to explore different roast types, you may also consider home coffee roasters. With a home coffee roaster, you can create a roast type and coffee variety tailored to your palate, allowing you to make the perfect cup of coffee every time.

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