Coffee roasting grades: what are the differences in coffee roasting?

Roasting results in fragrant grains in shades of brown. The differences between the shades are the degrees of roasting. How do you use them to determine the taste of coffee and how to choose the right type of roast?

50 shades of roasted coffee. What do they mean?

Roasted coffee is coffee beans that have been treated by the roasting process. A simple equation applies: quality green coffee + ideal temperature + optimal time = perfectly roasted coffee. During the time the beans spend in the heat of the roaster, they turn a shade of brown. It is not always the same brown as the next roast. The range ofshades of roasted coffee is the roasting grades.

There are 3, 10, 16 or perhaps 50 degrees of coffee roasting? In theory, each roaster can create their own roasting chart with as many grades as they need. Practically, the following ranges of coffee roasting degrees are used:

NCA °C SCA Agtron
"Light Cinnamon" 196 very light 81-90
*1. "crack"
Light "Cinnamon/Light City" 200 light 71-80
"New England/Half City" 205 medium light 61-70
Medium "American/City" 210 medium (medium) 51-60
"City +" 219
"Full City" 225 medium dark 41-50
*2. crack
Dark "Viennese" 230 dark 31-40
"French" 240
"Italian" 245 extra dark 0-30

*The 1st and 2nd crack are the times when the audible crackle of the grains appears during roasting. To determine the degree of roasting, the coffee industry uses an optometric instrument such as the Agtron.

In addition to these names, in the coffee world you will also see roast grades named Neapolitan, Spanish, New Orleans, Breakfast, Nordic, Scandinavian, European, High, Continental ..

Coffee colour, temperature and roasting grades

The roasting temperature is the main determinant of how much the coffee roasts, i.e. browns. As you can see from the table of roasting degrees above. Each gradeis defined, among other things, by reaching a certain temperature limit. For coffee to taste good, it is roasted at target temperatures between approx. 200-230°C. This corresponds roughly to the time from 1st to 2nd crack.

At temperatures below 200°C, i.e. before the 1st crack, the coffee is mostly straw-likewith a vegetal aroma without developing flavours. Conversely, temperatures above 230°C and also the time after the 2nd crack will mean black oily beans whose flavour potential has been burnt pretty much to the ground.

Degree of roasting: light

Coffees roasted light (light or light) are brighter and more delicate in flavour. The beans are dry and cinnamon to light brown. This roasting preserves the natural taste of the coffee as such, bringing out the 'terroir', the type of processing and the characteristics of the variety. Fruit, flowers and a tea-like light body are typical. Light roasting is preferred, especially for the preparation of filter coffee.

Roasting level: medium

Fuller brown beans without an oily surface, which have a balanced and rounded flavour profile. Medium roast coffee retains the natural flavour potential of each bean, but also complements it with bitter roast and caramel flavours. Medium roast is often found in coffees suitable for espresso with a refreshing sweet-sour-bitter taste.

Roast grade: dark

Dark brown in colour, extra dark roasting can produce beans that are black with an oily surface and lack acidity. They have a heavy body and deeper chocolateflavours. The uniqueness is masked by roasted notes, bitterness and sometimes a smoky flavour. This style of roasting is mainly used for the original Italian espresso.

How to choose the right roast grade

With us, it's simple. You can see the specific roast grades marked in dots for each coffee in the shop. The scale is from 1 to 5, where 1point would be for a light roast and 5 points would be for a dark roast.

A good guide to choosing a coffee is also the recommended preparation: filter or espresso. Coffees intended for espresso are usually medium to medium dark. If a filter preparation is recommended, then the roast level is likely to be low, it is a light to medium light roast.

Do you know that coffee with a recommended espresso preparation can be used for filter preparation and vice versa. Feel free to try it, it works and sometimes the flavors of darker roast coffee prepared in a drip coffee maker can overwhelm you. Just be careful of the specific recipe of preparation. The one you use for light roasting may not fit the darker beans.

Darker coffees will be extracted faster under the same conditions, so lowering the water temperature when filter brewing darker roasted coffees may be just right. Conversely, espresso from light roast coffee may require raising the temperature of the coffee maker's boiler.

Want coffee roasted to your liking? Fresh, select and straight from the roaster. Here you can choose!

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