Understanding the Roasts

There are many different levels one can reach when they roast their own coffee. Most people are aware of three: Light, medium, and dark. For lower quality coffee that is not freshly-roasted, these classifications work. However, if you are interested in expanding your palette when it comes to coffee, it is important to understand the much larger range of roasts that exist.

In reality, there are four main categories: Light, Medium, Medium-Dark, and Dark. In each of these categories are different levels, made according to temperature of the beans and the duration of their roasting. Here is the full list of roasts:


  • Light City
  • Half City
  • Cinnamon
  • New England


  • Regular
  • American
  • City
  • Breakfast


  • Full City
  • After Dinner
  • Vienna


  • French
  • Italian
  • Espresso
  • Continental
  • New Orleans
  • Spanish

Each of these roasts have unique flavors, despite how close their temperatures and roasting times may be. For example, a Vienna roast is one of my all-time favorites, while I am absolutely not a fan of full city roasts. In another article, I will talk about what temperatures and durations are necessary for each type of roast.

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