— Unroasted —
Green beans at room temperature. You fine folks already know what this looks like! These particular green beans are pale green as they are a South American bean (the article states they are Brazilian). Indonesian beans will be a darker green, African beans, especially Ethiopian beans, will be a bit more brown and varied in color while water processed decaf beans are very brown with a hint of green.
— Drying Coffee —
This is coffee mid-roast and moisture in the bean is evaporating. At this point you won’t hear any cracking yet and you’ll be smelling a hay and sweet grass aroma. Please don’t try to grind/brew/drink this coffee. It won’t go well and it will taste terrible!
— Cinnamon Roast —
The first point at which coffee becomes “drinkable.” This roast is found at the very beginning of first crack. The coffee will have a pretty grassy taste and will still be underdeveloped, though the coffee will now begin to really smell and look like coffee. We never roast our coffee to this level, no matter how light we want it!
— Light Roast —
Also called New England Roast. At this point in the roast, we’re mid 1st crack. The coffee begins to truly smell like coffee and is actually drinkable. Coffee is frequently roasted to this level for cupping purposes as the origin can be really tasted here with little “roast” taste. If you really want to be able to tell the difference between two coffees, roast them to this level and taste them side by side. Not commonly used for home or commercial brewing.
— City Roast —
This roast is at the tail end of 1st crack and you may be still hearing the last few 1st cracks. Depending on the roaster you use, you may in fact already be hearing the first couple 2nd cracks if you roast very quickly, so pay attention if you want to stop the coffee at this level. There should be zero oil on the beans. This is the earliest most commercial roasters stop their roasts for “light” coffee. Here you will mostly taste the individual character and origin of the coffee with very little taste of the roast, so we recommend this if you really want to taste the particular differences from one estate in the same region from another.
— Full City Roast —
This roast is from the very beginning of 2nd crack into a barely rolling 2nd crack. The beans will be not oily to just having a bit of oil. You’ll also notice a bit more smoke coming from your roaster and sometimes you’ll see a nice big puff indicating the beginning of the 2nd crack. Full City Roast is what is most commonly referred to as “medium” roast, though Full City + edges into the dark side. At this point there will be a balanced mixture in flavor between the individual origin of the coffee and the taste of the roasting process which is why it’s so popular. We recommend this roast for most coffees as it gives the best of both worlds.
— Vienna Roast —
At this point we’re really into dark roast territory. It will be the middle of second crack (what we call rolling second crack as it’s consistent and not just a few cracks here and there) and there will be a clear sheen of oil on most of the beans. There will be more and more smoke coming from your roaster at this point as well. Now we really begin tasting more of the actual roasting process flavors and little origin flavor. Some very dense beans (Indonesian beans usually) can get this dark and still maintain a pretty clear origin flavor. This is also a great roast level if you like your coffee to be less acidic and bright.
— French Roast —
We’re now reaching the end of 2nd crack. The cracking will be tapering off, but still rolling for the most part. The beans will be covered in a sheen of oil that is unmistakable. There will also be lots of smoke coming from your roaster, so use caution with ventilation! The beans will also start to change color and will start to look more grey-black as than brown. At this point the coffee will have almost no origin flavor and will taste only like the “roast,” meaning you could roast any coffee to French Roast and it would all taste almost the same. There will be a burnt undertone to the taste and the coffee will be much “thinner” in texture. There should be very little acidity or brightness here.
— Italian Roast —
Friends don’t let friends drink charcoal. There will be tons of smoke pouring from your roaster, the aroma of the beans will be the same as burning tires and the beans will be black instead of brown. The only time you should drink this stuff is when it’s a roasting accident and there’s no other coffee in the house. Only slightly better than mega-store brand coffee.