The best cup of coffee consists of the best roasted beans, appropriately ground and brewed. So, it all starts with the coffee bean and the roasting method.
Originally the coffee bean is stored in original green state and it's quite different than the roasted bean. It is soft and spongy and smells like grass. The roasting process effects numerous chemical changes as the beans are rapidly brought to very high temperatures. Roasted beans smell like coffee and are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed. The roasting process brings out the rich aroma and flavor of coffee as we know it that is locked in the green bean.
Coffee roasting is a complicated technical process and while some roast at home in reality it takes a professional to roast the perfect bean.
There are many types of roasts and it is difficult to find an industry standard, there are however 4 general categories of roasts that will describe certain strength and flavor.
The Coffee Roasts
In general, the length of time of roasting determines the strength and richness of the flavor, because it determines how much oil is brought to the surface of the bean.
The light roasts yield a very mild cup of coffee because it is not roasted long enough to create oils on the surface of the bean. Some light roasts are, Light City and New England.
The medium roast in darker in color and stronger than the light with a non-oily surface. Medium roast is also known as the American roast because it is very popular in the States. Some popular roasts in this category include, City, American and Breakfast.
This roast has some oil on the surface and a strong flavor and aroma, with a bittersweet after taste. Some of these include Inner City and Full City.
The dark roast produces beans that are shiny black and have lots of oil on the surface and a coffee with a pronounced bitterness. Dark roast is the strongest of all and is not for the squeamish. Dark roasts range from slightly dark beans to charred. Some popular roasts included in this category are, French, Continental, Espresso and European.
The perfect roast is really an individual choice, as they all have distinct flavors and aromas. While some may enjoy a very rich and strong flavored cup of coffee, others may have a lighter taste they favor. Also, remember that once coffee is roasted it will not stay fresh very long, at most two weeks in the freezer, or one in the fridge. For the best cup of coffee the roast used needs to be very fresh.
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