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How Roasting Affects the Taste of Coffee

There are a lot of factors that determine the taste of coffee, from the condition of the soil in the region where it was grown to the storage conditions of roasted and ground beans.

5-Minute Crafts decided to find out if the flavor of the coffee depends on the roast type, and how to choose the one you’ll like the most.

Why coffee beans are roasted

Let’s find out why coffee is roasted in the first place.

Unroasted coffee beans are stored raw — they might spend quite a long time in this condition and not lose their flavor or quality. Raw beans are soft, have a spongy structure, and smell like grass. And the coffee flavor we all know only appears after roasting. This process uncovers a bouquet of flavors and tastes that coffee drinkers love. Roasting causes chemical changes, as the beans are quickly heated to high temperatures. When roasting peaks, the beans are quickly cooled down. Roasted beans are lighter because there’s no water in them. After roasting, the beans should be used as quickly as possible before all the flavor disappears.

Light roast

The most popular types of roasting are light, medium, and dark.

Light roasting lasts until the first crunch of the beans is heard. The temperature reaches 350º to 410º. Oil doesn’t appear on its surface. There’s a popular misconception that light roasts contain less caffeine, but it’s not true because it’s the caffeine that evaporates from the beans during roasting. So, the shorter the roasting time, the more caffeine the beans still have.

Light-roasted beans have a citrus color, a clear coffee taste, and a bright fresh flavor. Most of the time, such a roast allows us to feel the difference between the types of coffee grown in different regions or in different farms in the same regions. The acidity of such coffee is high.

Medium roast

A medium roast is when coffee was roasted after the first crunching sound but not until the second one. The color is brown and the surface is rarely oily. A medium roast keeps the unique flavor found in lightly roasted beans but also has a sweet caramel flavor. Longer roasting caramelizes the sugar inside the beans, creating sweetness, more like caramel or honey. The acidity is medium.

Dark roast

Beans become dark brown after such roasting and oily too. The beans are fried until the second crunching sound. The taste of such coffee is less unique but it’s richer — more like dark chocolate and spices. The acidity is low.

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