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What is the Difference Between Light and Medium Roast Coffee?

Do different coffee roasts bewilder you? Light, medium, dark, medium-light, medium-dark, does this all sound too overwhelming? Worry not! Here is a beginner’s guide for you to learn the basics of coffee roast categories.

Coffee beans are very different in color, texture, aroma, and taste before they are roasted. They are green and possess a grass-like smell with no taste – per se. However, the process of roasting takes them to a whole different level of deliciousness that everyone is a fan of.

The Roasting Process

Two different coffee varieties roasted at the same temperature do not guarantee similar flavors. There are a bunch of other factors that play a role in determining how your brew will turn out. These include the age of the beans, the grind, the processing technique, the method of brewing, etc. But the type of roast definitely builds a certain degree of taste that you can use as a baseline to know what to expect.

The color of the roasted beans is the most convenient way to categorize the beans. Roasting at higher temperatures leads to coffee beans with darker shades of brown. This happens because coffee beans have a tendency to absorb heat during the process of roasting which changes their color.

Light Roasts

The first one is the light roast in the coffee roast category. Light roast coffee beans are light brown in shade and have no oil on its surface. Coffee beans release oil only under high temperatures, which then stays on their surface. Their taste resembles that of toasted grains, much like their original taste.

To make a light roast, the coffee beans are roasted to an internal temperature of 205 degrees Celsius. At this particular temperature, the beans are known to crack a little. This popping or cracking makes them expand and this form of the beans is called the first crack. So, your light roast is the batch that is not heated beyond the first crack.

These days, a light roast is not just a light roast in terms of the naming. It has gone all fancy with names like Cinnamon roast, Light City, New England Roast, Half City and whatnot. No wonder the coffee aisle is usually a big mess.

Medium Roasts

The color of the medium roast beans is a little on the darker side as compared to the light roast. They also do not have any oil on their surface like the light roast. But they do lack the grain-like taste that comes with a light roast. The medium roast has comparatively more acidity and strong flavor.

As for the heating temperature, these beans are subjected to a temperature range of 210-220 degrees Celsius. This is the temperature that exists between the culmination of the first crack and just before the starting of the second crack. You can see some medium roasts being called as Regular roast, Breakfast roast, American roast, etc.

So now that you are acquainted with the valuable information about coffee roasts, it’s time to brag some. Make sure you share your knowledge in your next coffee table debate with your buddies.