by Karen Bates
(last updated October 15, 2014)
For coffee drinkers, getting that morning cup of java is the ideal way to begin the day. We all like our coffee a certain way, whether it's with cream and sugar or just black. There are many ways to enjoy coffee, and every coffee drinker has his or her specific preferences when it comes to taste.
One of the biggest factors that determines coffee taste is the roast. Roasted coffee has gone through the roasting process, after which it is ready to be ground and brewed, then to be enjoyed by the drinker. Coffee that is correctly roasted can be brewed into delicious, high-quality coffee.
Most people have a type of coffee roast that they tend to prefer. All coffee starts out as green beans—coffee that has not yet been roasted and can't be brewed into a drinkable beverage yet. The kind of roast that the coffee becomes depends on how hot the beans get. Once the beans reach 385 degrees, they are cinnamon roasted. This is the lightest possible roast that can be brewed into a drinkable beverage. After this, the temperature can be elevated to achieve other roasts, such as New England, American, Full City, Italian, and others. Levels of roasting range from light to double roast.
You can get an idea of coffee's roast by looking at the colors. Light roasted coffee appears to be tan or light brown, and darker roasts turn nearly black in color. The darker beans will also appear to be oilier. Coffees with a darker roast will taste more bitter but will have a lower acidity than lighter roasts.
Although you can find various coffee bean roasts available commercially, you also have the option of roasting beans at home. This is one way to ensure that you brew the freshest cup of coffee possible. Green coffee beans have a fairly long shelf life, where roasted beans do not and can go rancid over time. You can use a stovetop roaster for this task, or explore other possible roasting methods. These include roasters that have different bean capacities and features available. When roasting beans, pay attention to the smell, color, and temperature of the beans to make sure they turn out just right.
Each kind of coffee roast has its own unique characteristics. You can find various coffee roasts at the store, or you can choose to roast green beans yourself at home.
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