When it comes to coffee, there is something for everyone. Whether you like it light or bitter, you can choose which one suits your palate. It is not just about the choice of beans, but it also boils down to your pick of roast level.
Through roasting, coffee becomes more flavorful and aromatic. It does not only darken the beans, but it also changes its overall profile, so it directly impacts how enjoyable your caffeine fix will be.
Read on if you are clueless about brewing dark, medium, and light roast coffees. I will not only guide you on the specific steps, but I will also share what to expect from each brew level.
Why Does Roast Level Matter?
Before I discuss the steps, let me first give you a quick primer on why the roast level is essential.
From understanding the difference between latte and cappuccino to knowing the different kinds of beans, elevating your coffee knowledge will help make your drink more enjoyable. You should also know the various roast levels and how it affects quality.
The roast level affects color, flavor, acidity, and body. It will impact how your drink tastes, including what is best to pair with.
While roast level will impact the flavor, it should also be noted that it will still be highly dependent on the origins of the beans. Choose those from the best coffee-growing regions globally to enjoy incredible quality.
How To Brew Dark Roast Coffee
The name should already give you an idea of the color of this coffee. It is dark brown, almost black. The general misconception among the uninitiated about coffee is that it is burnt. But, that isn’t the case.
The beans used for this roast level have drawn-out oil, making the surface glossy. On the other hand, the drink has a complete and robust body. It has a smoky and bold flavor, which can almost overwhelm the original taste depending on the country where the beans are from.
Beans roasted under dark roast will reach a temperature of 430 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, which is where they will achieve the second crack.
Even if the dark roast is known for being bitter, there are still whole bean decaf options for those who are sensitive to caffeine.
If you are a true coffee connoisseur, you will know what an AeroPress is. It is a simple, portable, and easy-to-use coffee maker. The Aeropress is also versatile since it can act as a French press, drip coffeemaker, and espresso maker in a single product. It has two main parts—a cylindrical chamber and a plunger that works like a syringe.
While there are several methods for using AeroPress, the best is the inverted way if you are using dark roast coffee. You will start with the brewer in an upside-down position. As a result, the coffee ground will be immersed in water for a long time, extending the extraction method to create a darker flavor profile.
To brew a dark roast coffee using an AeroPress, follow these steps:
- Use a few drops of hot water to wet the filter lightly, then insert it into the filter cap.
- Assemble the AeroPress on a flat surface. The plunger must be at the #4 mark, which will make it stable.
- Put fresh ground coffee in the chamber. For this recipe, I suggest using 20 grams of dark roast coffee. The grind size should be coarse, which should look like ground peppercorns.
- Add water to the chamber. You will need cooler water in a dark roast than in other levels. Using hotter water will cause over-extraction.
- Attach the filter cap and plunge.
How To Brew Medium Roast Coffee
If you are looking for a middle ground between light and dark roast, you should have a medium roast. Physically, the beans with this roast level are harder compared to their dark roast counterparts. They will also have less swelling volume and will be smoother.
One of the most distinct characteristics of medium roast coffee is its chocolate notes. The roasting process creates a browning reaction, which gives it a chocolate-like flavor. It will also be nutty and have fruity acidity.
It has a more intense aroma, acidity, and sweetness than light roast coffee. Because it has balanced flavors, it is often the roast of choice for cupping protocols, which will help determine the overall quality of coffee.
The name should already give you a clue about what a cold brew is. It has three main elements: coarse coffee grounds, complex or room temperature coffee, and brewed for eight to 24 hours. The biggest misconception is that it is just iced coffee. It takes longer to brew, which is also responsible for the depth of its flavor.
With your medium roast coffee, you can make a cold brew by doing the following:
- Add coffee and water to a mason jar. For this recipe, I suggest using a 32-ounce pot. Add one cup of coarse medium-roast coffee. Next, fill it with one and a half cups of water. Stir gently until the coffee is wet, then finish by adding another cup and a half of water.
- Cover the mason jar with a lid and put it in the fridge. Let it steep from eight to 24 hours, depending on your strength. The longer you wait, the stronger it will be.
- Put a coffee filter on a strainer and a bowl under. Pour the coffee. The filter will get rid of the coffee particles. Transfer the coffee to a jar, fill it with ice, and enjoy.
It’s always great to have a quality espresso coffeemaker, but if you’re up to the challenge, you can also achieve the same quality in your coffee by using a Moka pot. It is a compact eight-sided pot made by an Italian engineer in 1933. You can use it to create robust and hearty coffee. Some people like their coffee with milk too. It all boils down to personal choices because you can also match it with milk alternatives.
Here is a step-by-step guide on how to brew medium roast coffee in a Moka pot:
- Heat water in a kettle. Once it is hot, could you remove it from the heat?
- Grind your medium roast beans. I recommend a more refined setting than what you use in a pour-over but not as refined as coffee in espresso. It should be just as fine as table salt.
- Fill it with hot water until it reaches the marked line at the bottom of the pot.
- Put the filter basket.
- Fill it with coffee and brush the loose grounds.
- Screw the top and bottom parts.
- Put on a stove and turn the heat to medium.
- You will hear a hissing sound from the pot when the coffee is ready.
How to Brew Light Roast Coffee
Light roast coffee beans are golden brown. Their matte texture is also easily identified, unlike others with noticeable oiliness. It only has a subtle roast flavor because of the short roasting time.
The temperature that a light roast coffee reaches is anywhere from 350 to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. It is low, so it might not even get the first crack.
It is preferred in the specialty coffee community because it preserves most of the natural aromas and flavors in coffee beans. The flavor profile is brighter compared to other roast levels. This is highly recommended for people who like their coffee mild.
Many people think that light roast retains more caffeine because it has been roasted for a short time. Nonetheless, note that the caffeine content is not affected by the roasting process alone, as other factors will come into play.
The healthiest way to brew coffee is through a method that uses paper filters, such as pour-over. It is a simple method that requires having a filter with coffee grounds where you will pour hot water. The water will seep the flavors from the coffee as it drops. It requires running to be slow and steady so you can extract optimal flavors from the coffee.
You can use the pour-over method to enjoy a light-roast blend by doing the following:
- Boil 20 ounces or 60 grams of water.
- Grind light-roast coffee beans until it is as coarse as sea salt.
- Put the coffee filter in a dripper. Depending on the type of filter, you might need to get it.
- Add the coffee grounds. Shake it gently until the grounds settle.
- Pour enough water to cover the floors. Please wait for it to bloom, which can take 45 seconds.
- Start adding more water in small circles. The total pour time will take approximately 3.5 minutes.
- Once it is done, remove the filter and enjoy your coffee.
Different coffee roast levels will result in varying flavors and aromas. It also affects acidity. Choose the correct brewing method depending on the roast level of the coffee beans. Doing so will help you enjoy optimal quality in every cup.