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Which Coffee Roast Is Right for Me

Read time: 4 mins
Which Coffee Roast Is Right for Me
Ethan O. Oct 24, 2019

Finding the right coffee for your palate can be daunting. The flavor of coffee changes depending on what type (varietal) of coffee cherry it comes from, what region it's from, how it's processed, how it's roasted, how it's ground, and how it's brewed! However, roast profiles can create similar characteristics and tastes even though they may be very different coffee beans.

Fresh Roasted Coffee offer over 70 different varieties of coffee in different roast levels. These levels are light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Each roast level allows for different characteristics of that coffee to show through. Our highly skilled team of roasters chooses the best coffee roast for the specific coffee to bring out the best flavor profile that coffee can offer. This allows us to give our customers perfectly roasted coffee at an unbeatable price.

Light Roast

A bed of Fog Kicker coffee beans.

Light roast coffee is pale brown in color and has no oil on the surface of the beans. This kind of roast preserves more of the coffee's natural flavors and highlights the beans' natural acidity, mellow body, and bright floral or fruit flavors. This roast allows the coffee's origin, quality, and unique characteristics to shine through. The roasts at the light end of the spectrum, which may also be referred to as Cinnamon, New England, or Half-City roasts, produce a wide variety of aromas, flavors, and aftertastes.

The most common flavor notes found with lighter roast coffees are fruity and floral. This roast style highlights the origin more than any other roast style.

This roast is recommended if you are looking to taste the full complexity of what the coffee bean itself has to offer. The lighter body and tasting notes make for a sophisticated and elaborate coffee cup of coffee that allows you to taste all of what that coffee has to offer.

Some of our favorites of the light roast coffees include FRC Light Roast Blend, Brazil Fazenda Santa Luzia, and Organic Ethiopian Sidamo.

Medium Roast

Bed of Anniversary Blend coffee beans.

Medium roast, also known as High, American, or City Roasts are brown in color and depending on the roast and the bean may show some oil on their surface. This roast still preserves some of the natural flavors as well as developing some flavors from the roasting itself. This combination allows for a more balanced and well-rounded cup. A medium roast will result in some of the brighter and more acidic notes being lost but incorporates some of the toasty, caramelized notes from roasting, which provides a more balanced cup of coffee.

The most common tasting notes of medium roast coffees are spices, nuts, and chocolate. Medium roasts typically make for the smoothest and most traditional tasting experience.

The most preferred roasts in America fall into this range, and we recommend this roast if you are looking for a more conventional-tasting coffee. This roast offers the best of light roast and dark roast coffees in a single cup, pulling components from both the roast as well as the bean itself.

Our some of the best medium roast coffees include Drago Espresso Roast and Organic Guatemalan Huehuetenango.

Medium-Dark Roast

Bed of Kenya-AA coffee beans.

A shade darker than medium roasts are the medium-dark roast, which may be referred to as Full City or Vienna Roasts. Medium-dark roast coffee is dark brown in color and generally exhibits some oil on the surface of the beans. This roast has characteristics of the roasting process but still has hints of origin flavors. These coffees tend to have a bolder body

Common flavors found in these medium-dark roasts are dark chocolate and walnut. The tasting experience is often described as bittersweet and full.

Try this roast if you are looking for a bolder taste excursion but don't want the bitterness often found in the darkest roasts. This roast level offers a perfect middle ground and results in a full-bodied, bold (but not too bold) cup.

Try our medium-dark roast coffees Coffiend artisan blend and Kenya AA.

Dark Roast

Bed of Black Knight coffee beans.

Dark roast might also be referred to as Full City+, French Roast, or Italian Roast coffee and can be very dark brown to black in color, normally having an oily surface on the bean. The darkest roasts leave less of the bean's original characteristics with the coffee flavor dominated by the roast. The darker, deeper tasting notes often result in a bold body with no acidity.

Common flavor notes found in dark roast coffee include bittersweet chocolate and brown sugar. These make for a bold tasting experience. Dark roasts work well with dairy or non-dairy additions as the robust body cuts through these flavors while still maintaining its classic coffee taste. This roast is recommended for those looking for a strong, full-bodied coffee as well as those who enjoy making coffee-based drinks.

Favorites for this roast include Black Knight artisan blend and Organic Dark Mexican.

Roasts for Espresso

Our clients often ask which roast works best for a specific preparation method such as espresso. While espresso blends purchased in the grocery store are often very dark roasts, the truth is that any coffee and any roast can be used in any preparation method.

For espresso, we would recommend our Tiger Nebula Artisan Blend..

So which roast is right for you? It could be any of them! Your tastes may change as you gain familiarity with different coffees. In the morning, you might find that you like a dark South American roast with a dash of cream, while in the afternoon, a lightly roasted African coffee might hit the spot. Many people find that their taste evolves as they experience different kinds of coffee and different preparation methods. In any case, there's no correct answer. The right coffee for you is the one you like best.


  • PM
    Paride Monti

    Very informative, thanks

  • G

    Great job explaining the roast.. Question, what about unroasted? In which roast tends to have higher caffeine levels or does it work that way?

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    Team FRC

    Generally speaking, the darker the coffee, the less caffeine will be present. This varies to some extent based on the origin and varietal of the coffee, but generally speaking, lighter roasts have slightly more caffeine than dark roasts. Regarding unroasted coffee, we do not recommend consuming unroasted coffee. It’s just not tasty. At all.

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