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How to Choose Your Roast Profile

The year is 2021, there are currently seven hundred and fifty two different roast profiles. Ninety nine percent of people have no idea what any of them mean, but they sure sound hipster. We have American, or full city, or cinnamon roast. What do they mean.... no body knows. Well that's not entirely true. We'll go over the basics of what roasting does to your coffee, the profiles that are sub-categories of the four biggies: Light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasts. 


The Basics
Coffees' are harvested as a fruit, de-husked, fermented, and dried. When they get to the roasters in each country, they are usually a green coffee beans. The beans are soft and a little squishy. Coffee is then roasted at high temperatures, to "replicate a ripening" of the coffee, and to caramelize the cellulose. Coffee during the roasting expands, and during the expansion of the coffee will have a pop sound. Most coffees have up to two cracks 

During this process, coffee loses a majority of it's water. Most green coffees are contain 10-12% water range, during the roasting process they will reduce down to 2-3% water. Coffee has some of the strongest cell walls in the plant kingdom. The roasting process will change the rigid cell wall into a rubbery one. This happens since the high heat changes the water in the green coffee into a gas forcing the volume of the coffee to expand while the density is reduced. Lastly the longer the coffee is roasted the more the oils in the beans are drawn from the core of the beans to the surface.

Light Roasts 

Light roasts are common roasted to an internal temperature of 350-400. Light roasts are often taken to the first crack. Roasters will use this as the indicator that the green coffee has reached a light roast. 

Since light roast spend the least overall time under heat, they will usually retain the most flavors unique to the green coffee. Often light roasts retain more of the original acidity, sweetness, and intricacies of the beans. Often specialty coffees are roasted as a light roast since it'll bring out more of the original flavors and uniqueness of the coffee. Our Kenya is roasted a light-medium roast and brings out quite the unique sweetness. 

Common names for a light roast are as Light City Roast, New England Roast, or Cinnamon Roast

Medium Roasts

Medium roasts are taken to a slightly higher temperature than a light roast. Who'd have guessed that?! Medium roasts are taken right before the second crack, somewhere around 410 to 430 degrees. The coffee still usually doesn't have an oily surface that you'd find on a dark roast, but 

These roasts usually will roast out some of the acidity of the light roasts, but don't quite have the caramelization, and charcoal flavors of the darker roasts. Medium roasts are the most preferred roasts in the United States for their balance between the bright fruity flavors of a light roast, and the caramel, earthy flavors attributed to a dark roast. 

Common names for medium American Roast, Breakfast Roast, or High

Our Ethiopia is a perfect example of a balanced coffee. We highly recommend this sweet and chocolatey coffee. 

Medium- Dark

Medium-Dark roasts are becoming more and more common in the United States. 44% of coffee drinkers drink a dark roast daily. These medium-darks roasts are taken close to 440-460 degrees and are in the middle of the second crack. This lower temperature than a full dark roast retains a touch of the sweetness of the medium roasts, while retaining much of the earthy flavors of the dark roast. Our Honduras a prime example of a medium-dark roast that bridges this gap. 

Common names for Medium-Dark Roasts are City Roast or Full City Roast. Albeit a Full City Roast is roasted darker than a city roast. 


Dark Roast 

Lastly but absolutely not least is the dark roast. This is the most commonly drank home coffee roast on the market. The reason why so many roasters will use a dark roast is that the flavor profiles tend to be the most uniform across all coffees. Whether it's a Robusta or Arabica coffee varietal, or it's from Brazil, India, or Indonesia, the flavor profiles are quite similar. Caramel, nutty, earthy, bold, and smoky. To be classified as a dark roast the internal temperature of the coffee must reach a 465 degrees. This usually happens at the tail end of the second crack.  

Many espresso's are roasted to a dark roast, since the expansion of the coffee, when brewed under pressure produces a delightful crema. Dark Roasts in espresso both look fantastic and bring a bold flavor commonly placed with espresso. Try our Six Bean Blend, for a great example of a dark roast that brews a delightful espresso. 

Some of the common roast names for Dark Roast are: French Roast, Italian Roast, New Orleans Roast, Continental Roast, or Espresso Roast.


Whether you choose a light roast or dark roast, each of them are unique to each other. This was written in generalities and there are always some odd balls in each roast profile. Hopefully this acts as a guide for you to determine what coffee roast you'd prefer.