Coffee Roasts Guide: A Perfect Espresso- Everything You Need to Know

Coffee Roasts Guide: A Perfect Espresso- Everything You Need to Know

It’s really useless to fight over which coffee machines can make the best cup if you don’t stop and consider what coffee you’re using in that machine. To make the right coffee decision, you need to be very clear about the coffee roast you need for the brewing method you will ultimately use.

Reading: Best coffee roast for espresso

If you want to make an espresso, for example, the roast of the coffee is the most important variable in the flavor, aroma, body, and ultimately the taste of the coffee in your cup.

Most coffee drinkers need a coffee roasting guide to understand how the beans go from being light and fluffy on a branch to what ends up in your cup. Understanding the basics of coffee roasting will help you make the right choice for which brew method to use.

what’s in a name?

Previously, a particular roast was identified by a geographic area associated with it, for example, Italian, French, City, or New England. because a geographic area was, in many cases, associated with a very specific brewing style, and the name given to coffee roasts aligned with the brewing method of that locality. for example, you might assume that an “Italian roast” was developed to make espresso, the popular Italian brewing method.

However, over time and as our coffee cultures merge, the terminology associated with coffee roasts has really become skewed. Add the fact that marketers are looking to use language to entice consumers through the use of adjectives and seductive language, and it’s getting harder to really know what kind of roasted coffee is in the bag.

choice of grains for a perfect espresso

Now you’ve taken the time to research the machines and found the perfect one. the next step is knowing how to make the perfect espresso. There are three things to consider to achieve the perfect espresso: the bean, the roast, and the brew.

Before we continue, it is important to clarify that there is no such thing as an espresso bean. espresso refers to the method of preparation. there are only coffee beans.

what distinguishes coffee beans is their roasting. coffee bean roasts can range from light to dark. beans that are roasted in a medium to medium-dark range are best suited for making espresso.

graphic of coffee roasts

consider the origin of the coffee bean

Like any chef, starting with high-quality ingredients will always result in a superior dish. chefs also want to know where their products come from, this is also true for coffee. where the grain comes from: the country, climate and altitude all play a role in the final product and taste.

You should also know that there are two general types of beans: arabica and robusta. each has an important role in the flavor of the coffee. robusta grows at lower elevations and are notable for their caffeine and harsh flavor notes. the high density of oils in robusta is also what contributes to the crema of an espresso.

Arabica species, on the other hand, grow at higher elevations. There is much more arabica available than robusta, but only 1 to 2 percent of the world’s arabica production is of premium quality, providing the flavors and aromas espresso drinkers expect.

the characteristics that beans from various parts of the world bring to a coffee, along with the contributions of both robusta and arabica, are the elements that contribute to the rich and complex final flavor of the espresso.

While single-origin roasts are great for certain brewing methods, the richness of an espresso is achieved when varieties of beans are blended. That is why the ideal roasts for espresso are blends or “miscela” as the Italians say. this Italian barista explains it well.

consider the roasting of the coffee bean

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Did you know that coffee beans start out green? fresh coffee beans are green, moist, and have an earthy aroma. it is the roasting process that gives them their dark color and flavor.

Through the roasting process, coffee beans become those crisp little beans whose aroma, when brewed, gets us out of bed in the morning. Before you can begin to properly determine what flavor profile you like, you need to arm yourself with a basic understanding of coffee roasts and how they affect the final flavor in your cup.

This guide to coffee roasts is a great place to start.

light toasted

The color of the beans can tell you a lot about their roast level. lighter roasts are heated for a shorter period of time than darker roasts. they end up appearing in the palest shade of brown of all the roasts.

Coffee beans begin to reach their final roasted shape around 350°f – 400°f. this is called the “first crack,” indicating when the moisture being drawn from the beans is signaled by their first cracks. light roasts generally don’t heat past those first few cracks.

will be the driest beans with little or no visible oil on the surface of the beans. they have a more earthy flavor. Because the roasting process removes the caffeine, light roasts pack the most powerful punch in that department.

The lightest roasted beans are also the most acidic. In the coffee world, acidity does not refer to pH balance or what is perceived as a “sour” taste like lemon. rather, acidity is how close the bean is to its natural green or fruity state. the more a bean is roasted, the further it is from its “natural” state, therefore losing its acidity.

While any roast can be used in any brewing method, using a light roast to make an espresso will produce a disappointing result. an espresso made with a light roast will produce a flat coffee without the richness and velvety finish associated with espresso.

medium toast

Beans that are considered “medium roast” are heated to 410°f – 430°f. after the first set of cracks, medium roasts are heated until the “second crack” is reached.

they tend to be a little darker brown. the flavor and color of the coffee will be slightly fuller than lighter roasts.

The beans will still have no visible oil on their surface, but the flavor will be slightly less acidic than lighter roasts. they will have a more balanced flavor and contain slightly less caffeine than their lighter counterparts.

medium roast is an appropriate roast to start experimenting with in search of your perfect espresso.

medium-dark roast

See also: 10 Best Dark Roast Coffee Brands 2022 – Top Picks & Reviews

Beans that are roasted slightly longer than “second crack” will show a deep, dark color with some oil visible on the surface. roast temperature is about 25°f higher than medium roasts.

These beans have a roasting period that goes from the beginning of the second crack to the middle of the second crack.

When roasting medium-dark roast, the aromas of the beans will be very indicative of the flavor. flavors can range from sweet and sour to spicy, to chocolate or caramel depending on the age of the beans and their origin.

Medium-dark roasts will develop in the body. Body is used to describe the physical properties of the beverage and is associated with feelings of fullness, roundness, richness, and density.

Italian baristas insist that medium or medium dark roasts are perfect for making espresso.

dark roasts

The dark roasted beans have a shiny, oily exterior. They will be dark to almost black in color. These beans are heated in the higher range, over 100°F above light roasts. they will roast to the end of the second crack or longer.

its flavors can be more smoky, fuller, almost burnt. dark roast blends should only be used in French presses and more standard brewing methods if you are a true coffee aficionado. for most people, the flavor is too intense.

Watch this video to better understand the coffee roasting process.

how coffee roasting can affect your espresso machine

Keep in mind that the roast of the beans you choose not only influences the flavor of your coffee, but can also impact your machine. over-roasted beans are oily and leave a greasy residue on all machine components such as the bean hopper and brew unit. Over time, this oily residue will become sticky and gummy, which can cause damage. If you’ve been using overly roasted or oily or very dark roasted beans, be sure to clean the components to ensure your machine produces a great espresso. You should also consider if the roast you’re using is actually too dark.

A sticky brew unit which is a result of using oily coffee beans

Having a guide explain what coffee roasts are supposed to taste like is nothing compared to the experience of tasting the coffee yourself. Whether you drink coffee every day or just casually enjoy an espresso, knowing what kind of beans you’re getting makes you stronger.

You should know what to expect when you order a cup of coffee. high-end coffee shops will now ask you if you want their light or dark roast. Understanding coffee roasts is the starting point for developing your personal coffee preferences.

Once you learn about coffee roasts, you can start exploring various brewing methods. the trick is to find the roast that suits the brewing method. When you find the perfect match, it is truly a match made in heaven, you will experience the magic and satisfaction of a delicious cup of coffee or espresso.

Now that you’ve read our guide to coffee roasts, contact us if you want to familiarize yourself with the tools to prepare the perfect cup of espresso.

See also: 10 Best Coffee Urns 2022 – Top Picks, Reviews & Guide


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