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Understanding Roast Profiling - The Difference Between Medium, Medium-Dark and Dark Roasts

Understanding Roast Profiling - The Difference between Medium, Medium-Dark and Dark Roasts

Petra Jones |

Are you curious about roast profiling? It's the process of determining the specific flavour profile of a roasted coffee bean. Roast profiles vary depending on the degree of heat used to roast the bean, the length of time the bean is roasted, and the type of roast. 

We offer three main roast profiles - medium, medium-dark and dark. As the beans absorb heat in the roasting process, their colour becomes darker and oils appear on the surface of the beans at higher temperatures. Once the coffees have dried out from around 12% moisture down to less than 4%, interesting things start happening. First, the acids in the coffee then begin to develop, and as it gets darker the sugars will develop. The acids are then consumed, with some turning into new sugars. The sugars eventually begin to caramelise and crisp, and if you go on too long, the fibres will begin to burn. All of this adds depth of flavour to the coffee!



Preferred roasting levels can vary depending on where you are in the world. Europeans have traditionally favoured dark roasts, which is why a coffee roast may be described as French, Italian or Spanish, as these are particularly dark. Also, In the United States the West Coast tend to prefer darker roasts than those on the East Coast.

The roast levels of coffee that we provide here at Redber are medium, medium-dark and dark. Here is a little more about each one:

Medium
Medium roasted coffees are medium brown in colour and have no oil on the surfaces, with a balance of flavour, aroma and acidity.

Medium-Dark
Medium-dark roasts have a richer/darker colour with some oil beginning to show on the surface of the beans. A medium-dark roast has a heavier body in comparison to the medium roast. The flavours and aromas of the roasting process become noticeable, and the taste of the coffee may be somewhat spicy.

Dark
Dark roasted beans are dark in colour, like chocolate, and may sometimes be almost black. They will have a sheen of oil on the surface, which is usually evident in the cup when the coffee is brewed. Dark roast coffees will generally have a more bitter and smoky taste. Also, the amount of caffeine is substantially decreased.


A few things to note…

  • The coffee beans take on more flavour from the roasting process, and lose more of their origin flavours as they get darker.
  • Medium roasts have more acidity than darker roasts.
  • Darker roasts develop oil on the bean surface.
  • The weight per coffee bean decreases, and the coffee beans get bigger as the roast gets darker.
The roast that you prefer is all down to your preferences in taste, flavour and aroma. Some people may prefer a lighter roast in the morning and a darker roast in the evening.

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