Coffee Roasting Levels

We could write a novel about coffee and all the nuances and names for things related but here we are simply going to focus on the coffee roasting levels.

With each order you’ll receive a card that has roast levels and where each of our coffees fall on it. However, we don’t ever explain what on earth the roast names mean and that’s unfair to you who might not speak coffee fluently. 

Coffee beans don’t start out as the lovely brown capsules of goodness you are familiar with. They actually start out as a green colored bean that has no resemblance in taste or texture to the roasted version.

Coffee beans must go through a process called “Roasting” 

There are plenty of ways to describe the “roast level” of a coffee or how long it’s roasted for but to make it easier to understand roasts fall into one of four color categories — light, medium, medium-dark and dark.

I know many of you read these four categories and have probably thought 

“I always want a dark roast! I need that caffeine and the light roast has to be a weak cup of coffee”

You are not alone in this thinking. Somehow the big box coffee companies have got us all twisted up in our perception of what good coffee is and what it isn’t. 

We’ve all heard that a dark roast has more caffeine than a light or medium roast. Right?

It’s untrue. What a dark roast has is a richer and stronger flavor the lighter roast is actually the one that will have more caffeine content (on average you can expect to get around 95 mg of caffeine from a cup of coffee.)

A level of a light roast coffee is also known as “Cinnamon”  and it shouldn’t be dismissed as something you wouldn’t ever drink! 

Cinnamon only refers to the color of the roasted bean and not the flavor. You might be more familiar with the name “Blonde” which was created to eliminate confusion. 

Light roasts are actually very flavorful coffees and retain more of the beans original essence. 

They are bright (we will explain what “bright”  means in the coffee world in a second) and have a more complex flavor profile than a dark roast. They are also less bitter and are a coffee that can usually be drunk black and enjoyed that way!

When a coffee is described as “Bright” it essentially means it’s got more acidic flavor profiles. It does NOT mean it’s a more acidic coffee but rather that it’s got sharper more pronounced flavors than a dark roast. The darker the roast the less acidity it has. You WANT acidity in your coffee flavor. Without it the coffee would be flat tasting and “blah”.

The mouth feel in a light roast is different too. It’s not as thick or rich as a dark roast. It’s a cleaner feeling on the tongue. 

The bottom line? When you are ordering a light roast (Or a cinnamon or blonde) you are tasting a coffee with the beans flavors pronounced. 

On the other end of the spectrum is a dark roast which are typically bold and rich, full of body and texture. Remember though a dark roast with a bigger flavor profile does NOT mean there is more caffeine in it!! It just means it has bigger bolder flavors. With a dark roast coffee comes the potential for the  dreaded “over roast” or “burnt” which robs the coffee of all flavor profiles beyond bold and slightly bitter.  

And in the middle of the two we have our medium roasts. Sometimes called City Roast or American Roast. The term city roast first arose as a way of describing coffee preferred in New York City and eventually it caught on and become the “American Roast”

When you see “City” or “Full City” just know that that means the coffee is a lovely medium roast. 

We are ALWAYS here to help and answer any questions you might have about our coffees or coffee in general!

Here is a list of Dead Sled’s coffee roasting levels:

coffee roasting levels

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