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Coffee bean school

Get to Know Your Coffee

Roasting coffee beans affects not only the flavor of the brewed cup, but also its caffeine content. Generally, roasts are classified into four colors: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Contrary to popular belief, the strongest flavor does not equate to the highest concentration of caffeine. In fact, it’s quite the opposite; light roasts are known for having a slightly higher content than their darker counterparts. For this reason, it’s important to understand what roast color you prefer before selecting your brew. Depending on where you live, there could be common roasts associated with each of these categories – making it a good idea to find out more information in order to make an informed purchase.

Roast Curve Chart

Light roasts

Light brown in color, this roast is generally preferred for milder coffee varieties. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface

  • Light City
  • Half City
  • Cinnamon

Medium roasts

This roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.

  • City
  • American
  • Breakfast

Medium dark roasts

Rich, dark color, this roast has some oil on the surface and with a slight bittersweet aftertaste.

  • Full City

Dark roasts

This roast produces shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage.  Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to charred, and the names are often used interchangeably — be sure to check your beans before you buy them!

  • Continental
  • European
  • Espresso
  • Italian
  • French