Different Coffee Roasts – A Simple Guide To Learn Coffee Basics

Almost everyone we know loves coffee, or at least likes it enough to drink it from time to time. The hardcore coffee drinkers will know the differences between all the types of coffee, but for those who aren’t really sure, this article is for you.

We will be going over the different roasts of coffee, what they’re good for and what they are paired well with if you enjoy snacks with your coffee. For coffee reviews and more, check out our updates daily!

Different Coffee Roasts:

1. What Does Light Roast Coffee Mean?


Light Roast Coffee


Some people think that the lighter the roast, the less caffeine there is, but it actually has a higher amount of caffeine. The taste is more mild and grainy, versus getting more bitter as you get further into the darker roasts.

Light roast is lighter in color with no oil showing at the surface because of the roasting time. The longer the coffee roasts, the darker it is and the more oil will come to the surface.

Lightly roasted beans are slightly more acidic and are roasted until “first crack”, which is a term used to measure when to stop roasting the bean for each type of roast.

When the beans crack, they expand in size, so when it cracks once, they are taken out. When beans crack twice, then you have a medium roasted bean and so on.

Pairs well with: fruity/floral desserts, pastries, fruity chocolates, crème Brule, eggs, Thai foods, etc.

2. What Does Medium Roast Coffee Mean?


medium roast coffee


Medium brown in color, this roast loses the grainy taste of the light roast and becomes more balanced all around. It’s less acidic with more flavor and a stronger aroma, but with less caffeine than light roast.

This bean is taken out of the roaster right before the second crack, and is commonly called American Roast or Breakfast Roast. There is still no oil on the surface of the beans.

Pairs well with: milk chocolate, muffins, caramelized foods, toasted nuts, cereal, etc.

3. What Does Medium Dark Roast Coffee Mean?


medium dark roast coffee


This roast is a darker brown with some oil starting to show on the surface and is more full-bodied than the light and medium roasts.

They are roasted until the beginning or middle of the second crack, and they may acquire a more spicier taste. You may see them named Full-City Roast or Vienna Roast in the grocery store.

Pairs well with: pecan pie, carrot cake, omelets, Chinese food, spiced chocolates, etc.

4. What Does Dark Roast Coffee Mean?


dark roast coffee


These beans are very dark brown in color, almost black, and have oil on the surface, looking more shiny. It can have a smoky or bitter burnt taste with less caffeine than the others, and is roasted until the end of the second crack.

You will see it as French Roast, Italian Roast or Espresso Roast in the store.

When you see “Espresso” coffee in the store, it is not a different kind of bean. It’s dark roasted beans ground up much finer than regular beans.

The company prefers that you make it in an espresso machine, quickly brewed for optimal flavor.

Pairs well with: creamy desserts like cheesecake or tiramisu, dark chocolate, brownies, chocolate cake, meat entrees, etc.