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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 roasting process and the types of coffee roast you’ll likely encounter.


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.


What’s the difference between washed and naturally prepared coffee beans?

Washed/wet-process and natural/dry process refers to the way the beans are prepared for the roasting process. Prior to roasting, the bean needs to be extracted from its many layers and this is commonly done in one of the previously listed ways. The natural process refers to when it’s dried in the cherry before de-pulping. Washed on the other hand is where they’re dried without the cherry, de-pulped and then they’ll usually be fermented to aid in separating the rest of the pectin from the bean and parchment, then finally, they’ll be washed and cleaned before drying.

Where you may not think it, this preparation to the roasting process actually does affect the taste! When dried naturally, you can expect fruitier flavours due to the natural sugars of the cherry, whereas washed offers more vibrant flavours, as it allows for the full taste of the bean to take centre stage.

4 types of coffee roast

There are four types of coffee roasts, all with their own unique flavours and notes which are brought out at different stages of the roasting process.


1. Light roast coffee

Light roast coffee is also known as the first crack due to the fact that the beans are at the first stage of expanding and cracking. This type of coffee roast reaches an internal temperature of between 180°c - 205°c and is very light in colour and dry with absolutely no oil present on the surface. The flavour profile will be much more acidic but you’ll also expect fruity notes and a more aromatic experience too. Interestingly, light roast coffee has the highest caffeine content as the longer its roasted, the more the heat pulls it out – so you may want to avoid this type if you’re particularly sensitive!

Like your coffee lightly roasted? Why not try our Nescafé Gold 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.


2. Medium roast coffee

As the name suggests, medium roast coffee is medium brown in colour, dry and generally more balanced in flavour. This type of coffee roast is roasted to a temperature of between 210°c - 220°c and is preferred by many as the flavour, aroma and acidity all entwine in a harmonious blend and often, a slightly sweeter taste and stronger aroma can be expected too.


3. Medium-dark roast coffee

Reaching a temperature of between 225°c - 230°c, medium-dark roast coffee is a great option for those looking for something a little stronger in flavour than medium, but not quite as bitter as dark roast coffee. Darker in colour and with oil present on the surface of the roasted bean, this type offers a rich flavour that’s described as almost bittersweet. Additionally, thanks to the extended roasting period, the acidity is virtually undetectable.

Try our classic medium-dark roast NESCAFÉ coffee

We've created coffees for all tastes and occasions. Make your moment with NESCAFÉ.


4. Dark roast coffee

The boldest roasting profile available, dark roast coffee is roasted to a temperature of between 240°c - 250°c. Also known as ‘second crack’, this type is black in colour with an oily surface and a very bitter taste. The flavours are very pronounced with strong notes and often, hints of caramel can be found in these types of coffee roast. What’s more, due to the fact it’s roasted the longest, you’ll find no traces of acidity and there’s less amounts of caffeine too.



For those who like a dark roast coffee, our Nescafé Gold Roastery 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

We've created coffees for all tastes and occasions. Make your moment with NESCAFÉ.

That’s our guide to the types of coffee roast! Want to find out about the origins behind your brew? Read our article on the history of coffee, next.