Understanding Roast Level

The roast level of a coffee can tell you a lot about its flavors and intended brew method. With so many different ways to describe a bean’s degree of roast however, things can get confusing. We want to simplify that by standardizing how we define our roasts.

What is a roast level?

Coffee arrives at a roaster as raw, green coffee. In its raw form, coffee is very hard, and its flavors are quite bitter. It is simply not drinkable in this stage.

To make coffee drinkable, it must be roasted. The temperature it is roasted to, and how long it is roasted for, is described by its roast level.

Labels such as light, medium, and dark roast are common in the coffee world. Unfortunately, they are not very useful when comparing multiple brands, as every roaster defines them differently. Our full-city roast for example, would be what we would consider a medium roast, even bordering on dark. The light or blonde roasts of a certain internationally known company in comparison, are far darker than even our full-city roasts, despite their “light roast” labeling.

How We Define Our Roasts

In order to better clarify the roast level of our coffee, we have adopted a more standardized set of descriptions. This scale is based upon the internal bean temperature of the coffee as it is roasted, rather than by color or any other metric.

Cinnamon385’f
New England401’f
American410’f
City425’f
Full City437’f
Espresso440’f
Vienna446’f
French464’f
Italian473’f

A City roast would be at the higher end of the “light roast” range. Most lightly roasted coffee will work best as a pour-over or aeropress. You can technically make espresso with these as well, but in most cases anything below a city roast will be too acidic and bright to be pleasant.

An espresso roast represents the highest roast level we deal with. Despite the name, this is not just for espresso, and depending on the variety, should work well with most brewing methods including espresso. Consider this our dark roast.

It is important to note that not all beans are alike. Different varieties, as well as different processing methods, can result in roasted beans that are much darker than would normally be expected.