To quote a cantankerous old man in line ahead of me, "I remember when coffee used to be just coffee!"
He was grumbling about the "fancy" coffee drinks the barista prepared ahead of us, but I wonder if he knew how complex "just coffee" actually is. From the origin and climate of the beans to the expert care of the roaster, "just coffee" is anything but. Every cup of coffee produced has a unique signature based on many factors, with one of the most misunderstood being the profile of different roasts. Does a dark roast have more caffeine? Are light roasts undercooked? Which one do I order to look smarter in front of my boss?
To answer the last question first, you should order whichever cup of coffee you like the most. Coffee is such a diverse beverage that you can know plenty about any roast and look like a genius. When it comes to different roasts, there's three main categories, each with unique attributes. It's just a matter of which one suits you best.
Don't let the name fool you; light roasts pack a punch. The beans are exposed to less heat, generally only being roasted until "first crack." This keeps the bean's natural flavor profile intact, leaving you with a bright, multifaceted flavor as complex as any glass of wine, that some may describe as earthy, floral or citrus-y. Light roasts are more acidic and have a higher caffeine content than darker roasted counterparts.
- Medium Roast
Considered an American classic, Medium Roasts are, well, a happy medium. They exhibit less of the bright, powerful flavor profiles of lightly roasted beans as they've tamed with more heat to resemble the robust flavor more associated with dark roasts.
- Dark Roast
This might be the most misunderstood of the different roasts. Dark roasts are less "strong" in the sense that the caffeine is partially burnt off during roasting. Some may think dark roast means burnt coffee, but in the right hands, the flavor embodies bold, chocolatey or caramelized notes, ideal for cold brewed coffee.
Different roasts give coffee a versatility rarely found anywhere else. You can experiment to find a favorite, even pair different roasts with savory or sweet breakfasts for a unique morning ritual. No matter your palate, there's definitely a cup of coffee that will feel custom brewed for your taste. Visit us to learn more about which roast is right for you!