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Before you roast coffee at home, it is important to know a little bit about the different types of coffee roasts. The eight most common roasting styles are listed below along with a brief description.
Roast Styles of CoffeeCinnamon - Very few coffees are roasted this lightly. This roast results in coffee that has a weak body and a lightly toasted flavor with high acidity. (Remember, acidity is a good thing when it comes to coffee.)
American - American Roast is a light to medium roast and, as the name suggests, is very common in America. This roast results in a full bodied, acidic cup of coffee.
City - City roasted coffee beans are medium roasted and darker in color than American roast. This roasting style is also popular in America and produces a full bodied and strongly aromatic coffee.
Full City - Full City roast is a medium to dark roast. It is less common than City roast but still very popular. This roasting style produces a very full bodied coffee that is sweet in flavor and less acidic than City roast.
Viennese - Viennese roast is very similar to Full City roast only slightly darker. This roasting style produces a very full bodied coffee that is slightly sweet in flavor with light bitter tones.
Espresso - Espresso is a dark roast that first became popular in Europe and then spread to the rest of the world. This roasting style produces a full bodied coffee that has low acidity and a strong bittersweet flavor.
French - French roast is similar to Espresso roast only a little bit darker. This roasting style produces a full bodied coffee that has low acidity and a dominating bittersweet flavor.
Italian - Italian roasted coffee beans are nearly completely black in color. This roasting style produces a coffee that is very weak bodied with strong burnt flavors and low acidity.
It's important to understand that roasting coffee happens in stages. One common way to keep track of how far along in the roast you are is to listen for the 1st and 2nd crack stages. When coffee beans reach American roast they will begin to crackle. This is the 1st crack. By the time this stage is completed the coffee beans will be City roast. As they continue to roast, the coffee beans will begin to crackle again. This is the 2nd crack. The second crack begins as the beans reach Full City roast and will stop about the time they reach Viennese roast. Listening for these cracks is one of the best ways to know how well roasted the coffee beans are. The 1st and 2nd crack stages are also in the Roast Profile Chart located below.
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