How Roast Level Affects the Cup

Various Roast Levels of Coffee Beans

Drinking coffee is a very personal experience, and people often have strong opinions about what they like, and do not like. A few different factors often affect these preferences: blend, bean origin, brew method, and roast level. Roast level, or how light or dark the coffee is roasted, is what I’d like to touch on today. Personally, I prefer a light roast coffee, so let’s start there.

Light Roast: The Natural Coffee Taste

Light roast coffees retain most, if not all of their naturally occurring flavors and aromas. They tend to be brighter—more acidic and fruity. For example, one of my favorite coffees is a washed Ethiopian Yergacheffe. This coffee is bright, citrusy and has a delicate body—with strong notes of lemon, orange and lime. The natural flavors are so delicate and delicious, that I think it would be a shame to dark roast a coffee like this.

Medium Roast: In The Middle

Moving from a light roast to a medium roast, we begin to dull that brightness, or acidity, in coffee. Medium roast coffees are often sweeter, and a little bit fuller bodied. You’ll notice this in Cameron’s Kona and Roastmaster’s blends.

Once you take beans from medium to medium-dark, you begin to impart more roast-driven tastes into the final cup. Again, acidity becomes even more muted, while sweetness and hints of smokiness begin to set in. The finish really starts to mellow out, and becomes smoother.

Dark Roast: The Dark Side

When you move to the dark side—the dark roast, or very dark roast—acidity all but disappears. Notice a pattern here? Sweetness turns bittersweet, and a taste of smokiness, or even char develops in the coffee. These flavors are imparted by the roaster—they were not there when the coffee went into the machine to be roasted. A good dark roast should never become bitter—it should still have a nice, full body and smooth finish.

At Cameron’s, we love tinkering around in the roasting room to find the perfect roast for each bean we source. We’re confident that whether you’re into light or dark, delicate or bold, we’ve got a roast-level to suit your mood.

Which type of roast is your favorite? Tell us below!

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