You bought some coffee for the first time (which is, by the way, your friend’s favorite) but you hate it ? You got a 1lb bag of really expensive coffee beans, but it’s just too strong for you?
How to choose smart when buying some coffee for the first time?
My rule number 1: Choose the right roast.
As you know, two different coffees will not have the same aftertaste, sweetness, acidity, flavor. Flavor notes varies depending on the coffee type (bean type, origin, is it shade grown, processing method, freshness etc.).
But, the taste also depends on the roast level (profile) and each of the levels has certain characteristics. If you want to make “smart coffee choices” this is a good base to start from.
Now, I know how busy you probably are, so let’s skip the technical part, shall we?
I mean, there is no easy way to explain this and I’m pretty sure that you don’t want to spend the entire afternoon reading about Agtron system, Vienna, City, French, New England, Cinnamon, medium to dark, light to medium profiles, etc. In fact, most coffee experts can’t agree on which system is better and which one to use.
Let’s just pay attention to those roast levels that we see all the time: light, medium and dark.
Please note, this is just, as I like to say, quick guide for busy parents. These are some general rules and you can use them as a guidelines when switching to a different blend or brand.
Light Roast Coffee
Lively, crisp, sharp. They are usually very acidic and naturally sweet. In most cases you will notice the lack or body and strength, which sometimes results in “weak coffee taste”. The mouthfeel can sometimes feel empty.
So, why not just skip this one? Because, light roasted blends are something like a spring or summer in a cup. They have beautiful sparkling flavors that varies from citrus, flowery, spicy and have very nice silky mouthfeel. They are very light and refreshing and make a great choice for those don’t like those heavy and strong coffee flavors.
Blonde roast. There’s no such thing as a blonde roast. It’s just that Starbucks likes to give coffees all those fancy names. Starbucks blonde roast line is actually just light roasted coffee.
Popular light roasted blends: When you see morning/breakfast blend, that’s usually a light roast. For example: Green Mountain Breakfast blend, then, their flavored coffees; Starbucks Blonde roast; Folgers morning blend; Seattle’s best levels 1 and 2; Maxwell House Breakfast blend.
Dark Roast Coffee
The best part about dark roasted coffees is their strength and deepness. They usually have full body, complex taste and long aftertaste. Instead of flowery or citrus notes, dark roasts bring deep woody, ashy and earthy tones. They are almost never acidic. The mouthfeel is very deep, creamy and often smoky.
For light and medium roast fans, dark roast can be too bitter. But, some specialty coffees have very high level of natural sweetness even though they are dark roasted.
If you like your coffee really strong, dark roast is perfect. It’s also a great choice for all those who like milky and iced coffee drinks.
Popular dark roasted blends: Starbucks Sumatra/ French roast; Folgers Black silk; Maxwell House Dark roast; Green Mountain Dark Magic and Sumatran, Seattle’s Best level 5, The Coffee bean and Tea Leaf French Roast/ Espresso roast, etc.
Medium Roast Coffee
If you’re not a huge dark nor light roasted fan, medium roast is probably a perfect choice. Medium roast usually keeps a certain level of acidity in taste. But, in comparison with light roasts this coffee has certain complexity and deepness.
What I like about medium roast is its combination of those flowery & citrus hints and nice honey & caramel flavors. It has that nice smooth mouthfeel but also has those nice sparkling spicy – fruity notes. If you’re looking for a gentle, balanced and quietly complex coffee, I recommend medium roasts.
Popular medium roasted blends: Most “House blends” are medium roasts. Starbucks House blends; Green Mountain Vermont; Maxwell House House blend; The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf Sumatra; Folgers House Blend.
I hope this helps a little bit. Now, I would love to hear your opinion. What your favorite coffee roast level?