You coffee drinkers have probably noticed that many coffee retailers label or market their different coffees with different roast degree (e.g. Dark, Medium, Light roast). And, you may have already decided upon a favorite roast ‘style’ , based on your tasting experiences. Well, to help visually correlate what you may have already observed with different coffee roasts, a presenter at a recent Coffee conference shared the following chart; it’s a simplified way to understand how roast degree changes the sensory impact of a given coffee bean to the drinker:
For those of you who are geeky about coffee like me, no big surprise, eh? Fruit-driven flavors come with less roasting, and as you roast to a higher degree (which is a literal term…a hotter finishing temperature…which also happens to give the bean darker appearance), the artifacts of the roasting process start to take over.
As you consider this effect on your daily coffee, do keep in mind that the roast degree is only ONE variable that affects a coffee’s flavor profile/aroma . Of course, there are others that interplay as well, and they all combine to differentiate one given coffee to another; examples:
- Coffee origin
- Coffee species (Arabica, Robusta, Liberica, etc)
- Coffee processing method used by the producer/farmer
- Green age (how long was the bean around from farm to roast)
- Roast age (from roast to you brewing it)
- Brewing (everything from hardware, to technique)
Personally, i’m a fan of coffees roasted a bit lighter (but not full-on hipster-light) for non-espresso brewing methods, and just a bit on the heavier side (but not Italian/French roast) for Espresso machine.
How about you? Does roast degree ever come into your coffee selection process?