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Types of coffee roasts

Legend has it that a goatherd named Kaldi discovered coffee when, taking his goats to the slopes of Abyssinia, he noticed that they behaved in an energetic way after consuming a red fruit that they found in the bushes. Kaldi took some of the cherries to the abbot of the Chehodet monastery, who cooked them and obtained a drink so bitter that he had no choice but to throw it into the fire. When the cherries landed on the hot coals they were roasted and the beans inside the fruits released a delicious aroma.
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This tale describes the roasting of coffee, which enhances its flavors and aromatic notes. Green coffee beans must be subjected to high temperatures to bring out the best attributes of the coffee.

In this procedure, the beans undergo several changes: their volume increases by 100 percent, they becomes lighter due to the loss of moisture, there is a reduction of their caffeine levels and acid components, whereas fats increase slightly.

It is worth clarifying that the flavors and tasting notes you find in a cup of coffee are also the product of the region the bean comes from, the soil it was planted in, the processing method (natural, washed, honey) and the brewing method selected.

There are four basic types of roast: light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. No one of them is better than the other. Roast degree depends on factors such as consumption habits (some people prefer light roasting for the acidic flavor it lends the coffee, others prefer dark roasting, which is more bitter), as well as what it is intended for (a roast tasting, a roast for consumption in the hospitality industry). Different roast levels also suit different types of coffee extraction.

The 4 roast levels

There is a recommended roast level for each extraction method you may choose to brew your coffee.

Light roast: The bean is cinnamon-colored, without any oil on its surface. It has pronounced acidity and its origin flavors, such as floral, fruity and herbal aromas, are highlighted. The caffeine content is high. Ideal for filter coffee machines.

Medium roast: Provides a balance between acidity, sweetness and aroma. There is no oil on the beans’ surface. The bean color is slightly darker and it retains its caffeine content. Thanks to the fact that it provides balanced flavors, this type of roasting is used in specialty coffees tastings, in order to determine their quality. Suitable for both filter coffee machines and espresso machines.

Medium-dark roast: It is characterized by an intense brown tone, low acidity, with chocolate notes and a high caffeine content. A little oil is visible on the surface of the bean. The caramelization of the sugars brings out nutty, caramel and chocolate flavors.

Dark roast: The beans are darker, almost black. The oils present on their surface give them a sheen. They generally have a bitter, spicy flavor, but a good dark roast can also reveal chocolate or cocoa notes. The acidity level is lower, as is the caffeine content. It is a good choice of roast for espresso machines.

Green coffee needs to be roasted so that the substances that delight our senses, such as the aroma and flavors, can develop. The physical changes that the bean undergoes during the roasting process are the start of the journey that leads to the pleasurable universe of an excellent cup of coffee.