Types of Coffee Roast
There’s a lot that goes into your morning cup of coffee. In order for it to possess the taste that has you ‘ahhhing’ after each and every sip, it has to go through a unique roasting process which determines everything from the caffeine content to overall flavour profile.
Roasting is truly an art in itself and you’ll be surprised to learn how subtle differences such as a few degrees of temperature can alter the taste of the bean. Keep reading to find out all you need to know about the key steps of the coffee extraction, preparation and roasting process and the types of coffee roast you’ll likely encounter as a result.
Step 1: Extracting the coffee beans
Prior to roasting, the bean needs to be extracted from within the many layers of a coffee cherry. For coffee, we are only looking to extract and use the beans found in the centre (generally there are two coffee beans)
The coffee cherry is made up approximately six layers. Starting with the outer skin, then the pulp, mucilage, parchment, silver-skin and the all-important beans in the middle.
Step 2: Preparing the coffee beans
Before the coffee beans are roasted, they must go through a special preparation stage, which can be done through either a washed process or a natural one.
What’s the difference between washed and naturally prepared coffee beans?
The washed/wet-process and natural/dry process refers to the way the beans are prepared for the roasting process.
The coffee cherries are sorted by immersion in water. Bad or unripe fruit will float, whereas the good ripe fruit will sink. The skin of the cherry and some of the pulp is removed using a machine, by pressing the fruit in water through a screen. The bean will still have a significant amount of the pulp clinging to it that needs to be removed. This is done either by the classic ferment-and-wash method or a newer procedure variously called machine-assisted wet processing.
You may not think it, but this preparation before the roasting process does affect the taste! When dried naturally, you can expect fruitier flavours due to the fermentation of natural sugars in the pulp. A washed process however, offers more vibrant flavours. This is because it removes all the pulp and fruity sugars which have an impact on the bean, leaving the pure coffee bean flavour to come through and take centre stage.
Step 3: The roasting process
Interestingly, coffee beans aren’t just the wonderful rich, brown colour with the flavour and aroma we all cherish – they’re actually green to begin with and smell grassy! It’s the magic of the roasting process that we owe to the fantastic flavours and scents of the humble coffee bean.
Once the beans are put inside the drum of the coffee roaster and they begin to heat up, the process causes a chemical change in the beans as they’re brought to a high temperature very quickly. Then, once they reach the ideal temperature for that particular roast, they get cooled rapidly in order to stop them being roasted further. The whole process may sound relatively simple, but it requires a keen eye to ensure they’re roasted to the correct standards.
Find out more about the coffee roasting process in our guide.
Types of Coffee Roast
There are four common types of coffee roasts, all with their own unique flavours and notes which are brought out at different stages of the roasting process.
Like your coffee lightly roasted? Why not try our NESCAFÉ Fine Blend? Mellow in flavour and lightly roasted to perfection. Or, for the most sophisticated of taste buds, try our NESCAFÉ GOLD BLEND Roastery Collection Light Roast. Sweet with notes of rich caramelised honey and toasted biscuit, our master roasters combine 50 years of craft and smart roasting technology to create this unforgettable blend.
Explore some of our light roast NESCAFÉ coffees
Explore some of our medium roast NESCAFÉ coffee
For those who like a dark roast coffee, our NESCAFÉ GOLD BLEND Roastery Collection Dark Roast coffee is just for you. With notes of dark chocolate and roasted nuts for a rich and intense flavour, you will not be disappointed.
For those who prefer their coffee with a strong and intense flavour, our NESCAFÉ Black Roast is the one. Using only the finest beans, these are put through a careful roasting process by master roasters and given a long roast until they’re black, but not burnt, providing them with an intense flavour unlike any other blend.
Try our dark roast NESCAFÉ coffees
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Where Do Coffee Beans Come From?
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There's a lot more to the coffee roasting process than simply heating beans - find out about coffee roasting and the different methods in our guide.
The History of Coffee
Starting in Ethiopia and moving its way across the globe, coffee has an extensive and interesting history that dates back as far as 800 AD.