If you want to make a great cup of coffee then do yourself a favour. Understand the basics of different coffee roasts.
Raw, green coffee beans are about as delicious as lawn-clippings. The are soft, spongy and acidic with a grassy smell. Roasting brings out the flavour and the qualities that are so coffeegasmic.
According to the National Coffee Association there are 4 types of roast:
LIGHT ROASTS. These have a mild flavour. The beans are pale brown with a dry surface (they aren’t heated long enough for the oils to be released). They also retain more of the bean’s natural acidity.
MEDIUM ROASTS. These offer a fuller-bodied flavour and are the most popular in the USA. The beans are slightly darker but still oil-free on the surface.
MEDIUM-DARK ROASTS are rich and dark in color. The beans show a little oil on the surface and provides a brew that has a slight bittersweet aftertaste.
DARK ROASTS have a shiny, oily surface and strong, bitter flavour. The darker colour the less acidic your brew will taste. Some dark roasts are almost black and referred to as ‘charred’.
From the moment your coffee is roasted, it starts to lose flavor. For maximum taste, use your beans as quickly as possible.