Friday, October 12, 2007

Coffee Roasting Levels

I get many questions about the different levels of roasting coffee beans. Well, I love coffee so much that very quickly I start talking about at least a dozen different levels of roasted coffee beans. People start looking at me like if I am a coffee geek. Yes, I think that it may be true in some ways but, it made me realize that people just want to have a basic and simple idea of the different roasting levels. So, here it goes...

The images below show the basic levels of roasting coffee beans. Please, read the description of each level and think about what is your preferred one!

There are several other levels in between these but, as I mentioned before, I do not want to complicate your life. My preferred levels are City Roast and Vienna Roast depending on the type and size of the beans and how you will drink the coffee.

Green Coffee Beans - These are the beans ready to be roasted. This is how we buy them. As soon as you make your order we will take our green coffee beans and roast the to the desired level.

Yellow Tan - These beans have been in the roaster for approximately 8 minutes. Most of the moisture is gone. They are starting to roast at a faster rate. These beans are not ready to be used for brewing coffee.

Light Roast - These beans are starting to "crack." Yes, just like pop corn! At this stage the coffee roasting process could be stopped and the coffee could be brewed. It will generate a very light brew, not very tasteful. It will be just like brewing "coffee tea."

City Roast - Oh! This is my preferred roasting level for most coffee beans. The beans are done with their first crack and almost ready to start cracking again for a final second crack. At this level the coffee flavor and aroma are balanced and very complex. Not too strong, not to light, just right. I recommend this level if you like to drink your coffee with no cream, sugar, or anything else. Just plain coffee.

Vienna Roast - Another of my favorites!. This roasting level occurs about a minute after the second crack starts. This is a great roast level for small beans. Small beans (16 mm or less) are usually harder that big coffee beans (17 mm or more). Also this level is good if you like your coffee with milk, cream or any other flavor. I would also recommend it if you like strong plain coffee.

French Roast- This is the most common espresso roast level. This roasting level occurs about a approximately 3 minutes after the second crack starts. The roast master got to be very careful at this point because the beans are getting too hot and could be spoiled very easy. It is very good level to brew flavored and/or iced coffee. It has a very strong but simple flavor. Personally, I don't like it that much but if you like iced or any flavored coffee I fully recommend it.

Charcoal! - Well, this is not really a coffee roasting level. No roast master will ever spoil coffee beans this way. As a matter of fact, if the beans get to this level he or she must call 911!

Now enjoy your coffee!


1 comment:

Paula Bonnie said...

Ah yes learning the levels of coffee roasts. When I began as a home roaster the names and levels were a bit of a mystery. Yup set off the smoke alarm several times. Of course in my home that is as easy as lighting a few candles if one is not careful. LOL. Now I roast mostly at City or City + (a.k.a. Vienna or Full City). I do not go to the darker roasts, I feel it kills the wonderful after notes, and I have never hit charcoal stage. Hope I never do, giggle.