Coffee, that wonderful conduit for caffeine as well as keeping us warm on chilly days, had been around for centuries. Today it is a big business from mega chains (a Starbucks on almost every corner) to “mom and pop” places (Jitters in La Mesa, California). From one bunch of coffee beans, you can get a wide variety of flavors – it is all on how the beans are roasted. This article gives the eight most popular roasts that one can find at your local coffee house or grocery store (Source: Coffee Terms [www.coffeeterms.com]):
1. American Roast: this roast is also known as an after dinner blend and intended to be enjoyed with desserts to help cut down on the desserts sweetness. This roast tends to be a darker roast with low acidity.
2. American Roast: This is a light/medium road. Further this roast is traditionally used with coffee beans in North America and is still the most common choice today. There are two modifications of this roast: City Roast: which tends to lean towards a light brown; and Full City Roast: which tends to be dark brown with an oily drops/sheen and is also known as a “Brown Roast”.
3. Cinnamon Roast: A very light roast that ends up dry. Most people feel that it is under-roasted. This roast will have a weak and grainy aroma while having a sour taste. This roast is used mostly with Peaberries (aka Caracoli – these are coffee beans that are just a single bean within the fruit. Only about five percent of all coffee produced will have this happen during growth) as they are handled differently during roasting.
4. Dark Roast: The roast will be dark brown to almost black in color. This roast is more pungent in aroma and has less acidity than other roasts. The spectrum includes light dark which will have the maximum flavor and aroma while the full dark has no acidity, but has a distinct “burnt” flavor.
5. French Roast: It is the darkest of the dark roast while still being palatable. It tends to very oily and is almost black without falling towards the burnt flavor. Even though is a dark roast, it tends to be light bodied with a pungent roasted flavor.
6. Italian Roast: Another dark roasted coffee with a very dark brown color and oily surface. It is often confused with French Roast though it tends to have a bolder flavor and aroma.
7. Medium Roast: This roast is medium brown in color and having a dry surface. It is similar to American Roast, though it is slightly darker and slightly more pronounced in flavor. This is another roast that tends to be popular in North America.
8. Vienna Roast: This roast is the lightest of the dark roasts and more widely known as Fully City or Full Flavor holding the characteristics of the dark brown color and oily sheen as well as the full flavor.
It should be noted that when beans are under-roasted the coffee will be light in color or colorless and have an astringent taste while beans that have been over-roasted will have a bitter taste as well as a charcoal flavor. But, no matter how you prefer your coffee, it is all about the bean and its roast.