A comprehensive guide to coffee roast levels and their impact on flavour

A comprehensive guide to coffee roast levels and their impact on flavour

Key Takeaways

Roast Level Flavor Profile Acidity Body
Light Fruity, floral High Light
Medium Balanced, nutty, chocolate Medium Medium
Dark Bold, smoky, bitter Low Heavy

Understanding coffee roast levels

Coffee roasting is both an art and a science. The level to which coffee beans are roasted has a huge impact on the final flavor in your cup. From light and bright to dark and bold, each roast level brings out different characteristics in the beans.

At Hamlet Wokingham, we carry a variety of coffee beans and pods at different roast levels to suit every taste preference. Let's dive into the main roast categories and how they affect taste.

Light roast coffee

Light roasted beans are a light brown color and have no oil on the surface. They are roasted until the "first crack" stage. Light roasts have a high acidity level and light body. The original flavors of the bean are retained, often resulting in fruity, floral tasting notes. Artisan Coffee Co's light roast whole beans are a great example.

Light roast coffee beans

Medium roast coffee

Medium roast beans are a medium brown color with little to no oil on the surface. The beans are roasted until just before the "second crack" stage. This level provides a balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity. Nutty, chocolatey notes are common. Check out our range of Artisan Coffee Co medium roast Nespresso compatible pods.

Medium roast coffee pods

Dark roast coffee

Dark roasted beans will be a dark brown, sometimes almost black, color. Oils will be very visible on the surface. The beans are roasted to the "second crack" stage or beyond. Much of the original flavor is overtaken by the roasting process, leading to smoky, sometimes burnt tasting notes. The body is heavy but acidity is low. Hamlet's Signature House Blend uses dark roasted beans for a bold, intense flavor.

Dark roast coffee beans

Picking the right roast level for you

With so many delicious options, how do you choose? Consider the following:

  • If you like bright, complex flavors, go for a light roast.
  • If you want a classic, balanced coffee, pick a medium roast.
  • If you prefer intense, bold flavors, dark roast is the way to go.

Of course, the best way to find your ideal roast is to sample a variety! Why not try our Ultimate Ground Coffee Collection to taste the full spectrum of roasts?

Roast levels and brewing methods

Different roasts shine with different brewing methods. Use these general guidelines:

Getting the grind right

No matter which roast you choose, using a high-quality burr grinder and grinding just before brewing will make a world of difference compared to pre-ground coffee. Pair your preferred roast with the ideal grind size for your brew method for the best results.

Roast levels around the world

Coffee roasting traditions vary around the globe. For example:

  • Scandinavian countries tend to favor very light roasts
  • Italians are known for their dark espresso roasts
  • Americans typically prefer medium to medium-dark roasts

Exploring coffees from different regions is a fascinating way to experience the full range of roast levels and flavors.

Serving your coffee right

Having the proper cups and accessories can elevate your coffee experience. For light roasts, try using Loveramics' Egg Cappuccino Cups to highlight the delicate aromas. Intense dark roasts pair well with espresso cups.

Ultimately, the "best" roast level is a matter of personal taste. We encourage you to experiment with different roasts and find what brings out the flavors you love most. Browse our full collection of coffees to get started on your tasting journey! With a little exploration, you're sure to find your perfect match.

Back to blog