The Art of Coffee Roasting

Whether you’re a full-fledged connoisseur or a relative rookie, there’s no doubt you’re particular about how you like your coffee. A lot of that has to do with the roast—the process that transforms green coffee beans into the beans you see ground up to make your coffee.

Coffee roasting is the most important factor in determining how a brewed pot of coffee is going to taste. Many large chains favor a dark roast, though trends fluctuate as more types of roasts, such as milder “blonde” roasts, come into the picture. Here’s a rundown of the three main types of coffee roasts, so you can approach your next cup as a more informed coffee consumer.

Medium Roast

Medium roasts tend to bring out the acidity in a cup of coffee. Of all the coffee roasts available, medium roasts are most often used by professional cup-testers to evaluate the quality of a certain coffee. If the cup is imperfect, its flaws will be easily detected when tasted through a medium roast. Conversely, medium roasts show off the good qualities of an exceptional cup of coffee. Darker roasts tend to mask the subtle characteristics of coffee that are very apparent in medium roasts.

Dark Roast

Unlike medium roasts, dark coffee roasts lower the acidity rate of a coffee. Richer, fuller-bodied coffees lend themselves lend themselves better to a dark roast than to medium coffee roasts. Though the subtler characteristics are removed, these kinds of coffees typically have a bolder taste regardless, and thus work well as a darker roast. Because of the lower acidity, a dark roasted cup of coffee has a taste that is smoother and richer.

French Roast

Some may think that French roasting is simply a form of dark roasting, but it is actually its own process that masks a coffee’s subtleties in exchange for a bitter aftertaste. French roasts bring to the surface of a coffee bean the soluble oil that gives it its distinctive coffee taste. Once this oil is on the surface, it oxidizes from its exposure to air, which in turn masks the subtle flavor characteristics of the coffee. This is replaced by a bitter aftertaste—not the same as a strong coffee, which has to do with the proportion of coffee to water when brewing a pot. Because of the oxidation, French roasting stales coffee beans much more quickly than other roasts.

Purchasing Different Coffee Roasts

Specializing in estate coffees that give the buyer much more information than solely the country of origin, J. Martinez & Company has been a purveyor of fine coffees and coffee products since 1988. No matter what kind of coffee you’re purchasing, we roast it exactly to the your specifications—medium, dark or French. Visit our specialty coffees page to see our current fine coffee offerings.