Life is great; you should stay awake for it. If you love to get everything out of life, then why not get everything out of your cup of coffee?
Coffee enthusiasts know a good cup when they taste it. And a good cup comes down to the way the coffee is roasted. So what exactly is behind your favorite, delicious roast?
These are the best coffee roasts and how to find the perfect one for your taste.
Coffee Roasting Basics
Coffee roasting is the process of heating raw coffee beans until they reach an internal temperature and color. This process is what makes the different types of roasts you're probably familiar with.
In general, there are four levels of roast, each with sublevels underneath of them. Light, medium, dark, and darkest roasts all have distinct flavors and qualities. The sub roasts underneath the main categories refer to the degree of that particular roast.
Light roasts maintain the coffee bean's natural flavors the best and thus is preferred by many in the coffee community. They tend to have a brighter flavor profile with notes of acidity and a mellow body.
If the source of the bean is important to you, light roasts highlight the unique flavor of all the varieties of coffee. Light roasts are often called Light or Half City and Cinnamon Roast.
A step above light roasts is the medium roast. This roast features a coffee bean that's medium brown in color and no oil on the surface. Medium roast coffees have a more balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity profile.
In a medium roast, the bean's unique flavor is still present, but it not as strong as the light roasts. At this stage, the beans begin developing a sweetness to them. Medium roasts are referred to as American Roast.
Once the bean has been roasting for a bit longer, reaching an internal temperature between 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit, they become a dark roast. This brings out chocolate, nutty, and caramel flavors from the bean.
Dark roast coffees don't maintain many of the original characteristics of the bean, opting instead for the flavors listed above. A dark roast is also called a Full City and Vienna Roast.
The darkest roasts take roasting coffee to the extreme. The feature of this roast is beans that are so dark; they're pretty much black. They also have a very oily surface.
This roast has no characteristics of their origin bean and can take on a burnt taste to the coffee. The darkest roasts are often called Italian or French Roast.
How to Choose the Best Coffee Roasts
Now knowing the basics of roasting, it's time to find out how to pick the right roast. This is where it gets hands-on. The fun part is that you'll get to try a bunch of coffee to figure out which one you prefer.
Finding your preferred roast comes down to taste preferences. But there are some ways you can narrow that down.
Know the Different Roast Levels
Remember light, medium, dark, and darkest. All coffee falls in one of these three categories and can have variations of the roast level within them.
Light roasts are popular because the natural flavor of the bean is more apparent. Coffee specialists love medium roasts the most because you can taste the origin of the bean and some caramelized flavor.
Dark roasts aren't used as much because, at this level, the tastes begin to lose some variety and uniqueness. Specialty coffee roasters never roast their coffee to the darkest roasts.
The first step to choosing the right roast is knowing what taste you want from the bean. Do you want a lot of the original taste? A mix of the original taste and caramelization or a little origin taste and a lot of caramelization?
Know Your Beans
For commercial coffee, there are two broad categories of beans, Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica beans grow at high altitudes and in tropical climates around the equator. Some countries arabica is grown are Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, and Rwanda. Brazil produces the most arabica beans in the world.
There are also varieties of arabica, including Typica, Gesha, Jamaican Blue Mountain, Mocca, and Villalobos. Arabica beans tend to be sweeter with pleasant acidity.
Robusta, on the other hand, grows at lower altitudes and a little further away from the equator. Robusta coffee is grown in the Eastern Hemisphere, typically in African countries, Indonesia, and India.
Robusta coffee is stronger and harsher in taste, often with a nutty aftertaste. This often makes robusta the inferior choice for coffee lovers as it tends to have a reputation of being of lower quality.
Knowing this key difference will go a long way in helping you find your perfect cup. Of course, you can dive deeper and make distinctions between varieties and origin countries. But choosing a side in the arabica versus robusta debate will take you far.
Know How Much Caffeine You Want
If there's a certain level of caffeine you're after in your cup, the roast level will be important to you. Contrary to popular belief, dark roast coffees have lower levels of caffeine.
So if you want the most caffeine you can get in a coffee, go with a light roast. If you don't want a ton, a dark roast is for you. And a happy middle ground would be a medium roast.
Finding your perfect roast will take some trial and error. But if you use these three tips, you'll be one step closer to your signature cup of coffee.
Coffee That Travels
All parts of the world have their hand in coffee some way. Whether it's where the beans or sourced from or the traditional way a country prepare it. A worldly coffee shouldn't be stuck at home on the kitchen counter.
If you're looking for a coffee that complements your adventurous side, look no further. You love a road trip through the desert or exploring a new city. Don't you want to be present for it?
Our coffee produces the best coffee roasts. So for delicious coffee that travels just as much as you do, check out our selection of pour overs and beans.