When crafting a roast, there really is no such thing as the "best" roast. There is a palette of choices that blend together to form which roast is perfect for the moment, the most important being your own personal taste preferences. Some factors to consider are what time of day you intend on drinking, what type of food you will be eating it with, whether you want it hot or cold brew or even which method you plan on brewing with it. But again, your own personal taste preferences is the best compass for your cup!
also called American or Cinnamon Roast
Lightly roasted; dry and light bodied with little brightness, and low acidity. The roast temperature is kept low enough to preserve sugar content and aroma, as such light roasts are often used for cupping and professional tasting.
Medium Light Roast
also called City or Breakfast Roast
Medium light brown beans with some brightness. The sugars are lightly caramelized. No oil shows on the surface. A dry and light-bodied bean finish.
also called Full City or Full Roast
Medium dark brown beans with increased brightness. A mostly dry bean but oily drops may appear on the surface and increase body as a result. Medium roast profiles feature caramel or chocolate undertones and retain most or all of their origin characteristics.
Medium Dark Roast
also called Vienna or Continental Roast
Rich brown beans - extruded oils give the coffee a deeply satisfying and textured full-mouthed feel called 'body'. This body may come at a cost, however: some of the bean’s subtler origin characteristics are overwhelmed. Many consider this an ideal roast for espresso.
also called French or Espresso Roast
Deep brownish-black beans partly or fully covered in oil; very shiny in appearance. Body dominates as a result of low acidity. The sugars are fully caramelized, producing burned overtones.
This gallery of roast names just brushes the surface between roasts. There's a very fine line that separates one roast category from another — and again, it's all very subjective, and we can only approximate the categories and the roast names that fall within them.
So if you're still unsure which coffee roast to choose — get creative and experiment! Draft your roast: Look for the degree of roast that brings out the best flavour and aromatic characteristics of the origin coffee bean.
While there are many macros to consider when prototyping the "best" roast, once you understand the differences in the degrees of roast and the flavour characteristics associated with each bean and roast style, then you will have a much easier time crafting your perfect roast.