Chances are you are an avid coffee drinker. According to the National Coffee Associations 2013 online survey, 83% of people in the US drink coffee with an average of 3 cups per day. That’s a lot of coffee! With so many ways and styles to drink it, there is something for everyone.
It’s no wonder coffee is such a coveted item. Nothing compares to the aroma of a freshly brewed cup of Joe, the ritual of that first sip in the morning, the luxury of an energy and antioxidant boost.
Coffee beans come in several roast options which most people understand the taste difference of, but nothing about the roasting process. Also, many people incorrectly assume the deeper and bolder the flavor, the more caffeine. In fact, it’s actually the opposite! The lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine content.
Within each type of roast, there are several subtypes that have been roasted for varying amount of time and are signified with different names. This is likely why you may have a light roast coffee at one shop, then try the light roast at another store and they taste completely different.
Light Roast Coffee
A light roast has a milder flavor than other roasts but the highest caffeine content. There is no oil on the surface of the beans because they aren’t roasted long enough for the oils to break through. Light City, Half City, Cinnamon Roast, and New England Roast are all variations of light roasts. The only difference between them is how long they were roasted which creates subtle differences in flavor.
A medium roast is also known as an American Roast because it is preferred in the US. It has been roasted slightly longer than a light roast but not long enough for the oils to break the surface. The flavor is slightly stronger and bolder than that of a light roast. Other names for the medium roast include Regular Roast, City Roast, and Breakfast Roast.
Medium Dark Roasts
Medium dark roasts have been roasted just long enough for the oils of the bean to break the surface. It is slightly darker and bolder than a medium roast, but it also has a slight bite of bitterness to it. Names of medium dark roasts include Full-City Roast, After Dinner Roast, and Vienna Roast (this one is sometimes characterized as a dark roast, see below.)
Dark roasts have the most pronounced bitter flavor and strongest aroma. The beans are coated with the shiny oils that have broken through the surface. Interestingly, dark roasts also have the lowest acid content of all types of roasts. Dark roasts come in varying degrees signified by their name. Examples include French Roast, Italian Roast, Espresso Roast, Continental Roast, New Orleans Roast, and Spanish Roast.