Have you ever wondered what exactly makes a coffee roast light, medium, or dark? The secret is in the roasting process, which is varied to produce a different flavor, aroma, and color. Light Roasts The acidity of light roasts are higher than darker roasts and they have no oil on the surface. Light roast coffee has a more pronounced, toasted grain flavor. Plus, it has the highest caffeine content of all the roasts! The level of roasting can be measured by when the beans crack and expand in size. Lightly roasted beans are heated to between 180°C – 205°C, which is just to the “first crack.” Medium Roasts Like a light roast, medium roast coffee beans also have no oil on the surface, but the taste isn’t as grainy as the light roast. The flavor and acidity is more balanced, and there is more body. Medium roasts are heated to between 210°C and 220°C, which is somewhere between the end of the first crack and the start of the second crack. Medium-Dark Roasts When coffee reaches the level of medium-dark, there is some oil starting to show on the bean surface and the body of the coffee is heavier and richer than the light and medium roasts. Medium-dark roasts are heated to about 225°C or 230°C, which is to the start or middle of the second crack. Dark Roasts Dark roasts are obvious by the very dark brown or black color. The beans contain a layer of oil on the surface that you can see when brewed. The taste of a dark roast is smoky yet bitter, sometimes even tasting burnt, and the flavors are usually more from the roasting process than the original beans’ flavors. During the roasting process, a dark roast reaches about 240°C, to the end of the second crack or beyond. The caffeine level of dark roasts is also considerably lower than the lighter roasts, so if you’re looking for a real caffeine boost, go for a lighter roast! _____________________ Laith is the head barista and co-owner of Caffè Strada. Laith has been a barista for 5 years now and enjoys experimenting with different brew types and unconventional methods when it comes to coffee and tea 

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