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Roasting levels – One of the steps that can determine the taste of coffee is roasting. Indeed, besides roasting, other stages of coffee processing also affects the taste of the coffee itself, but roasting brings the aroma and taste notes of the coffee beans into the cup. One of the most important parts of this process is coffee roasting! While there are several roast levels to choose from, the three most common are light roasts, medium roasts and dark roasts.

Coffee roasting is usually done by coffee roasters who do have expertise in this field. However, initially roasting coffee can even be done by yourself at home with simple equipment. Of course, there will be differences in taste because of the factors that affect roasting will be easier to determining when using a machine that is suitable for use.

Why is it important to know about roasting levels?

Well, as mentioned earlier, roasting is a stage that will determine the cup profile of the coffee beans. It is important for us to know the roasting level of the coffee beans that we are going to consume. Of course, to suit our tastes and maybe even our needs.

So, let’s dig in abut this common roasting levels we all need to know!

select coffee beans for roasters

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What Is Coffee Roasting?

According to Wikipedia the roasting process is what produces the characteristic flavor of coffee by causing the green coffee beans to change in taste. Unroasted beans contain similar if not higher levels of acids, protein, sugars, and caffeine as those that have been roasted, but lack the taste of roasted coffee beans due to the Maillard and other chemical reactions that occur during roasting.

Roasting coffee is the process of roasting green beans coffee or raw coffee beans to a certain level of maturity. The coffee roasting process aims to create the original taste or character of the coffee beans. Coffee beans that are not roasted will have a bitter taste when brewed. The roasted seeds are ready for consumption after the first crack, usually characterized by a sweet aroma due to the caramelization process in the beans.

coffee sampling

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How Important Is The Coffee Roasting Process?

We certainly cannot enjoy a cup of coffee with coffee beans that we pick directly from the tree. That is why the coffee processing process is very long. And it also states that each of these processing processes is important to ensure the coffee we drink is safe and of course high quality. The coffee roasting process is no exception.

Quoted from the kopitree.co.id, it is said that, before roasting, the beans are green and have a soft texture, with a fresh, natural aroma of a plantation. The coffee roasting process aims to turn these raw coffee beans into the distinctive, crunchy aroma that we know as coffee.

And every coffee connoisseur has a different dosage and even composition, to make a cup of coffee more meaningful to them. Two variations of coffee, from different countries of origin or grown in different environments, tend to taste very different, even using the same roasting methods and techniques.

How About Roasting Levels?

Do you know? The roasting process and the roasting level actually play a big role in influencing the taste of your coffee.

Quoting majalah.ottencoffee.co.id, knowing the various levels of roasting in coffee is as important as knowing what single origin you are going to buy for brewing later. Roasting level, brewing method and single origin are 3 important factors that will determine the characteristics of the coffee that will come out when brewed. There are several types of roasting levels, the most common being are light roasts, medium roast, and dark roasts.

roasting coffee

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Roasting Level #1: Light Roast

Light roasts are generally easy to spot because they are lighter in color (the lightest brown version) and there is no visible oil sheen on the surface of the coffee beans. This is because ‘light roasted’ coffee beans tend to roast for shorter periods of time – and sometimes at low temperatures.

Quoting kopitree.co.id, it is mentioned that, the light roasting process generally uses an internal temperature of 180 ° C – 205 ° C. At a temperature of around 205 ° C the beans will crack and will expand their size. This is referred to as the first crack. So a light roast is a bean that roasts in a relatively short time so that it opens the first crack.

light roast

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Roasting Level #2: Medium Roast

As the name suggests, medium roasts are the intermediate conditions between light roasts and dark roasts. Medium roasts produce a slightly brownish color and don’t have oil on the surface of the beans. However, the surface of medium roasts is slightly smoother than light roasts.

The medium roasting process usually uses a temperature of 210 ° C to 220 ° C entering the phase between the end of the first crack but not yet entering the beginning of the second crack. Many coffee lovers enjoy it as it provides the perfect balance between acidity, taste, etc. This also makes medium roasts quite popular.

medium roast

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Roasting Level #3: Dark Roast

A dark roast can be said to be the opposite of a light roast. Quoted from roastycoffee.com explained that dark roasts usually have coffee beans that are dark brown-almost black in color, and roasting for a long time also has a higher temperature.

Quoted from kopitree.co.id, it is also mentioned that, in order to reach the dark roast level, the coffee beans are roasted to a temperature of 240 ° C around the end of the second crack or so. Dark roasts rarely roast above 250 ° C because they will cause the beans to become thin and the taste will be characterized by a tar and charcoal flavor.

Do you know? Usually coffee that is in this dark roast level looks very shiny because the oil or oil (coffee) it contains is released quite a lot due to the long roasting process.

dark roast

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The Difference Between Roasting Levels

Before we talk about the differences in 3 most common roasting levels, we need to tell you that medium roasts are not popular without reason. Medium roasts are in the middle between light and dark roasts are a ‘balance’ between the two regarding body, taste, and even acidity.

Quoted from majalah.ottencoffee.co.id mentioned that coffee who is roasted on a medium level tends to have a more intense taste than light, but still not as strong as a dark roast. Since it is able to deliver the right flavor and composition, it’s no wonder that this level of roasting is quite popular among many roasters.

So, we’re going to compare two of them. Light roast vs dark roast!

cup of coffee

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Body and Complexity

Body on the characteristics of coffee refers to the physical properties or it can also be said to be texture. Such as watery, smooth, heavy, thick or general mouthfeel. Light roasts will usually have physical characteristics, a brighter color and a lighter body. This is because the coffee beans are not roasted for a long time so that the sugar content in the coffee beans is not caramelized.

On the other hand, dark roasts will have physical characteristics with a deeper color and stronger taste. Many coffee fans enjoy dark roast coffee because its body is deeper and thicker, making dark roasts richer in taste. In addition because of the longer roasting time and the higher temperature, dark roasts have more body because of the caramelization of the sugar content in the coffee beans.

taste notes mandheling coffee

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Taste Notes

Quoted from roastycoffee.com said that, the longer the coffee is roasted, the more coffee taste will come out due to caramelization. This also causes dark roasts to have a stronger taste than light roasts. Because light roasts are not roasted for a long time and at high temperatures, the taste that comes out of light roasts tends to be like the taste of coffee beans.

The light roast has a fresh, seedy taste like the seeds just harvested from the plantation. Light roasts retain the original flavor from which the coffee beans come from, rather than dark roasts. That’s why, light roasts often reflect the taste of the original coffee and the quality of the coffee itself. 

Do you know? Quoting roastycoffee.com, it is said that light roasts are the choices of many roasters to measure the quality of coffee. This is because light roasts are more complex regarding taste, from fruity, citrus, sweet flavors and even floral notes.

Dark roasts tend to have a smoky taste, are more brown and have a slightly more bitter taste than light roasts. Quoted from kopitree.co.id, the original taste of coffee itself has been lost due to the roasting process on dark roasts. The coffee will have a bitter taste and will have a slight smoky or burnt taste.

washed coffee flavour

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Dark roasts certainly have a lower acidity level considering the long roasting process with high temperatures. So of course, coffee with dark roast beans is safer and easier for all people to consume. Quoted from roastycoffee.com, research that has been done has revealed that the coffee roasting process creates compounds that have the potential to help reduce stomach acid production in the body. So, dark roast coffee is certainly safe for the stomach!

Apart from acidity, the caffeine content also needs to be considered. The caffeine content in light roasts is higher than dark roasts due to the influence of processing time and temperature when roasting. The longer the roasting process, the less caffeine content will be. That is why, if you consume coffee for caffeine intake, light roasts are more suitable for you because they have a higher caffeine content.

CV. Buah Berdikari is an active coffee trading and exporting company that is based in North Sumatera, Indonesia. Our domain of expertise lays on sourcing Arabica green beans from North Sumatera and Aceh origins. We will help you finding the perfect fits for your coffee needs.

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