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TAKE A PEEK : Coffee Roasting Degrees

Written By Delano Staff 23 Jul 2020
TAKE A PEEK : Coffee Roasting Degrees
Light, medium and dark roast, what are they?
How do they affect your coffee experience?
 
A Light, medium or dark roast are terms used to describe the degree of roast in coffees. It basically refers to the average colour of the coffee beans once roasted, which is also a reflection on the length of the roast and application of heat. The degree of roast also correlates to the flavour development of coffee, partly based on the terroir of the coffee beans.
 
Here at Delano, our roasted coffees range from medium-light (our single origins for filter brewing) to a medium roast (cue our Maverick and Organic blends) to a medium-dark roast (Our Cargo blend).
 
The different roast degrees result in different flavour characteristics from a coffee, and roasters and consumers all over the world have varying preferences. Within Australia there is a wide gamut of options, however, most roasters can agree that lighter roasts are beneficial for filter style coffees and for single origins while darker roasts are more ideal for espresso blends and coffees that are served with milk.

The concept of terroir is used as a way of describing the unique aspects of the origin that influence and shape the flavour of the coffee. Terroir is a term that refers to the environmental factors that affect crops composition and characteristics. Roasting can be used to develop and promote a coffee's terroir or to mask it.

As different coffee origins offer different characteristics and flavours, the way a coffee roaster wants to present them requires varied roast degrees. Here at Delano we roast the different origins in our blends separately, specific to their own terroir and to achieve the best flavour balance of that origin, prior to blending them.

Roasting coffee is similar to the concept of cooking, you are forcing moisture and water out through evaporation. The longer coffee's left to roast (dark roast) the less dense it gets, the more toasted and caramelised flavours are more apparent, whilst less organic acids become present.
 
Lightly roasted coffee flavours are more fruit-forward, herbal-like and delicate. It appears light brown in colour with no oil on the surface. 
 
Medium roasted coffee, appears medium brown in colour, although still quite dry with no oil on the surface. At this stage of roasting, sweet caramelised and browning sugar-like flavours are often more apparent.
 
At Delano, our single origin coffees are lighter roasts, however closer to a medium roast. We find the balance of caramelised sugars and the coffees unique flavours are better developed this way. Although lighter roasting preserves the unique flavours of the origin, roasting too light can run the risk of underdevelopment, with our coffee tasting 'green' or grainy. Our Single Origin coffees can be used both for filter brewing or espresso, and are ideal to drink without milk.

Maverick (our house blend) and Organic coffee are both medium roast coffees. Designed to be served with milk but also enjoyable without, these coffees use sweetness and vibrant acidity to harmoniously balance the sweetness of the milk. Maverick as an espresso expresses hints of peach and marmalade, and when served with milk exhibits notes of butterscotch and biscuit. Flavour notes of our Organic blend as espresso are dark chocolate and apple, which evolves into malt and Caramel when enjoyed with milk.

Lastly, Cargo, a medium-dark roast, is our take on the classic northern Italian espresso. It’s closer to what you would traditionally expect 'coffee' to taste like. As espresso, it brings to mind the taste of 85% dark chocolate with hints of blackcurrant, and when served with milk flavours of dates and malt come forward.
 
When we recommend coffees at Delano there are two experiences to be had.

Single origins offer a unique expression of how different coffees can be, and as they are changing with every weekly release, allowing the home coffee maker to constantly experience something new.

Our coffee blends offer balanced flavour profiles over the whole year and are perfect for coffee makers at home who prefer to drink their coffee with milk or alternative milk. If you prefer sweeter and brighter flavours, we recommend either the Maverick or Organic blends. If you like classic rich flavours then Cargo is the best option.