Making Sense (or Not Making Sense) of Words for Roast Color « Coffee Review

Coffee July 12, 2010 11:23 pm

Making Sense (or Not Making Sense) of Words for Roast Color « Coffee Review.

A good read about bean color and roasting

I know dark roasts are very popular.  For some reason we live in a world where dark roasts have become more attractive to consumers.  Don’t get me wrong, I love a good dark roast, but there is something to be said for a nice medium roast and the flavors they produce.

This is probably a bold statement, but if one were to roast the same exact beans…one batch to a dark the other to a medium, the flavors would be astoundingly different, and I think a lot of people would be surprised as to their roast preference if a blind taste-test were to be given.  Keep in mind that while roasting, the inner compounds which make up the flavor-making aspects to the beans are at their peak between a medium light to medium dark roast.  If you take the bean past this the result is a totally different tasting bean/brew.  That is not to say that one roast is better than the other.  Some will prefer the medium to medium-dark, others prefer their beans very dark.

We live in a world where many cafes and roasters are finding it easier to produce a more consistent product at the darker spectrum of the roast.  Many consumers want consistency.  If they order a particular roast they want that roast to taste the same each time they purchase the product.  The challenge for cafes and roasters is that the mid to mid-dark roasts will not necessarily maintain a consistency in flavor from batch to batch.  Why is this?  Every batch of beans is different.  They are either harvested at different times, had less or more variables of one factor or another and every facet of these variables can change the flavor.   The flavor-making compounds found in a bean are at their peak during these lighter/medium roasts, but tend to neutralize and disappear the darker the roast.   To a certain extent, many places sacrifice flavor for consistency.  As a roaster, if flavor consistency is your goal, then darker roasts are probably going to be a preference.  With Arcadia, we prefer taking into consideration a number of factors, but ultimately flavor will win over consistency.  This is why we initially roast small batches and cup it  to determine how a batch will be best roasted.  We may obtain that same bean type 2 months later and many of the flavor factors may make it better at a different roast, be it light, medium or dark.

I have not gone into the “technical” terms of roast levels, but the link to the blogged article is a great explanation of popular roast terminology.   I wanted to keep this entry plain English and easy to read.

Thank you for reading!

Anthony @ ACR

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