Roast Guide

Roasting is a heat process that turns green coffee beans into the fragrant, light to dark brown beans we know and love!

 Roasting Coffee

Why roast?

Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. Beans are stored green, a state in which they can be kept without loss of quality or taste. A green bean has none of the characteristics of a roasted bean -- it’s soft and spongy to the bite and smells grassy. 

Roasting causes chemical changes to take place as the beans are rapidly brought to very high temperatures. When they reach the peak of perfection, they are quickly cooled to stop the process. Roasted beans smell like coffee and weigh less because the moisture has been roasted out. They are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed.

Once roasted, however, they should be used as quickly as possible before the fresh roast flavor begins to diminish!

Know your roasts

Most roasters have specialized names for their favoured roasts and there is very little industry standardization. This can cause some confusion when you’re buying, but in general, roasts fall into one of four color categories — light, medium, medium-dark and dark.  

Many consumers assume that the strong, rich flavor of darker roasts indicates a higher level of caffeine, but the truth is that light roasts actually have a slightly higher concentration.

The perfect roast is a personal choice that is sometimes influenced by national preference or geographic location. Within the four colour categories, you are likely to find common roasts as listed below.



Light roasts

Light brown in color, this roast is generally preferred for milder coffee varieties. There will be no oil on the surface of these beans because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the outside.

  • Light City
  • Half City
  • Cinnamon- Light cinnamon brown colour; pronounced nut-like flavor, and the highest point of coffee acidity.

Medium roasts

This roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States.

  • City- Dark brown with no traces of oil on the surface; full development of coffee flavour (caramel to chocolate-like with some hints of dark roast flavour) and some loss of coffee acidity. The “Full City Roast” is slightly darker with more tang.
  • American- Even chestnut brown; has a pronounced caramel-like flavour, with no trace of dark roast flavour.
  • Breakfast

Medium dark roasts

Rich, dark color, this roast has some oil on the surface and a slight bittersweet aftertaste.

  • Full City

Dark roasts

This roast produces shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage.  Dark roast coffees run from slightly dark to charred, and the names are often used interchangeably — be sure to check your beans before you buy them!

  • Continental/New Orleans/French- Very dark brown with large amounts of oil on the bean’s surface; a bitter taste and pungent aromatics dominate flavour.
  • European
  • Espresso- Designed for espresso machines, it is a dark roast similar to a Full City Roast.
  • Viennese- Dark brown with small amounts of oil on the bean’s surface; noticeable dark roast flavour.
  • Italian- Black colour with large amounts of oil on the bean’s surface; pronounced burnt flavour that is pungent (strong) and bitter.



*This information was sourced using the following webpages! Check them out for yourselfJ + a cool video just for fun.