Coffee Blends: The Roasting Difference

We’ve all been there: staring at coffee labels, wondering which roast type we should get—the light, the medium, or the dark roast. You’ve heard about each one before, but what is the actual difference, aside from the color?

First, keep in mind that the roast level and the flavor of the coffee are two different aspects. The roast helps determine the flavor, but it’s not solely responsible for it. Other characteristics, such as the origin of the beans, the age of the coffee; and how it’s processed, ground, and brewed will also affect the taste. However, you can expect the roast level to be a good guideline of how the flavor will taste.

In the beginning of the roasting process, all fresh coffee beans start as soft and green. As the beans absorb heat, their color becomes darker and both the caffeine and acidity levels begin to decrease. The longer the beans roast, the darker they get.  And the darker they get, the shinier they become—for as the beans heat up, natural oils come to the surface, giving them a glossy look.

So what does all of that mean? If you are looking for a brighter, tangier blend of coffee, you should go with a lighter roast (think “city” or “breakfast” blends). If you like a smooth, mellow, but distinguished taste, medium roast is probably your best choice (as it is for most Americans). If you’re one who likes bitter, velvety, and somewhat malty flavors, dark roasts are your best option. Dark roasts are also more common in European countries, which is why many times you’ll see coffee labeled “French Roast” or “Italian Roast” for darker blends.

What will be your next roast of choice? Contact your Canteen rep today to order your favorite coffee roast or a little bit of each!

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