Know Everything About Types of Coffee Beans & Roasts
When we’re young, that’s all that we know of this drink that everyone seems to love – that it’s just coffee. In the last few years, globalisation and the information boom have brought the news and the trends of the world to us. We became aware of the arabica, robusta, dark roast, medium roast, light roast, and whatnot! However, what are these types of coffee beans? Why are they being roasted? Do they taste better, the same, or worse? Let’s look at some of the most popular types of coffee beans, why they’re roasted, and what they taste like.
Types of Coffee Beans and Coffee Roasts
Types of Coffee Beans
This is the most common type of coffee bean found in most parts of the world. These are grown at lower altitudes and are easier to grow. Their cultivation is easier than growing the Arabica variant. and they also need less strict growing conditions. It has a high caffeine content and a slightly bitter taste. Coffee companies used Robusta beans to make instant coffee powder.
Arabica coffee beans are more prized as they require strict cultivation conditions. They need specific moisture, soil quality, temperature, tending, etc. It is also grown at higher altitudes. Arabica beans have a distinct rich flavour and are sweeter in taste. These are the beans that are sold in expensive coffee houses and cafes.
Liberica is the lesser-known coffee bean variety grown by the farmers of Liberia. In the last few decades, its cultivation has also spread to parts of Southeast Asia. Liberica has a robust and sturdy plant that is less susceptible to leaf rusting. It is also relatively easier to grow compared to Arabica. Due to its woody, smoky, taste and limited flavour profile, this bean has not gained much popularity over the years.
The Process of Coffee Roasting
To understand the popular types of coffee beans and their roasts, one must first understand what coffee roasting is and why it is done. Roasting is the process that comes after coffee processing and before it is packaged or brewed. It is done in order to give it the characteristic flavour of coffee. While there are roasteries and coffee companies that do it on a large scale, many coffee lovers also roast coffee at their homes.
When harvested, coffee is in the form of green beans. In the process of roasting, coffee undergoes changes in its chemical composition. Specialized machines are used for roasting coffee – both in a commercial setup or a home setup. These usually include a rotating container that gets heated evenly by a heat source like LPG.
During roasting, coffee beans undergo chemical and physical changes. The water content inside the beans starts to vaporise. The beans expand in size due to the building pressure inside them. After a certain amount of time and at higher temperatures, even the sugars in coffee begin to react to the heat. This caramelizing of sugar is what gives certain coffees a distinct caramelized flavour. The longer the coffee beans are roasted, the darker and more bitter they get. At higher temperatures, the acidity of the coffee starts to break and it starts releasing oils.
Types of Coffee Roasts
Light Roast Coffee
This type of roast retains the maximum original flavour of the green beans. You can still taste a grassy, fruity, berry-like flavour and you can tell the origins of the coffee as well.
Light-roasted coffee is roasted for the least amount of time till you hear the first ‘crack’ from the beans. Because it is burned the least, it contains the maximum caffeine content and higher acidity. People who like their coffee sweet and fruity can try this one. The pour-over or cold-brew method is the best way to enjoy this type of roast.
Types of Light Roast Coffee: Cinnamon roast, New England, Half-City, American Roast
Medium Roast to Medium-Dark Roast Coffee
This type of coffee roast is achieved after the first crack of the beans and before the ‘second crack’. In this range, coffee beans can reach a temperature of around 420 degrees Fahrenheit. At these temperatures, the chemical nature of the coffee begins to change. The acidity reduces and a roasted, almond-like, chocolaty and nutty flavour starts is introduced. It has a more ‘full-bodied’ taste as compared to the light roast.
As the coffee beans are nearing the second crack, or during, and shortly after, they achieve a medium-dark roast. This type of roast has a great balance of aroma, flavour, acidity, and smokiness. Light espresso or light French is an example of this type of roast.
The best way to enjoy this roast is by using a Moka pot, the espresso method, or drip coffee (percolated coffee). The medium roast coffee has a rich aroma and a fine balance of flavour and acidity.
Types of Medium Roasts: Full City, City Roast, Regular Roast, Vienna Roast, Light French, Light Espresso
Dark Roast coffee
The dark roast is the one that roasters get after the ‘second crack’ has been achieved. The internal temperature inside the beans reaches the range of 465-480 degrees Fahrenheit. At this temperature, the beans retain little to no flavour of their origin.
The dark roasted coffee is visibly dark and buttery in colour. This type of roast has an oily surface because the oils and sugar inside the beans begin to caramelize and cover the surface. This type of roast has a bitter, smoky flavour and the least amount of acidity. This roast is especially quite popular in European countries like France and Italy. That’s why, the darkest roasts have names like the Italian roast, French roast, etc. Dark Roast Coffee has a long-lasting flavour over the tongue, which is what is loved by coffee lovers across the world.
Types of Dark Roasts: Spanish, Italian, French, Espresso Roast, High Roast
We hope you liked our blog on Types of Coffee Beans and the types of coffee roasts. Next time you visit a fancy cafe, you know exactly what you want to order and try! Here’s another blog on the most popular types of coffee that you can try.
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