White Roast: White roasted coffee is a rare drink, considered by many to be a fad in the coffee world. White roasted coffee is technically classified as under-roasted, which will prevent many of the typical coffee flavours from being active in the cup. It is usually brewed as espresso and has a grassy flavour as it is the closest to the green bean.
Blonde Roast: This roast is another in the lighter than light category of roasting. It is a standout roast—like white roast—as it doesn’t quite hit the mark of what is typically considered in the 4-standard spectrum of roasts. Blonde coffee has a high level of acidity and can’t truly be described as balanced. The major positive of blonde roasted coffee is that it contains more of the antioxidants found in the green bean.
Light Roast: These beans are easily recognisable due to the light brown colour of the bean. Roasted up to, or just beyond first crack, lightly roasted coffee has a toasted grain taste. It rejects much of the hay flavour of the lighter than light roasts, and although it has a high level of acidity, it is tampered by the further development of the roast. Light roasts have a variety of names depending on how light or close to medium they are. The names are Light City, Half City and Cinnamon. A lightly roasted coffee will retain more of the bean’s origin flavours, and they have a higher level of caffeine than their darker counterparts.
Medium Roast: Medium roasts are beans roasted between the end of first crack and the beginning of second crack. They are a darker brown colour; however, they are not oily in appearance or texture. The grainy tastes of a light roast are not found in medium roasts, and they boast a more balanced flavour with lowered acidity. The common names for this category of roast are City, American and Breakfast.
Medium-Dark Roast: Moving beyond the realm of a straight medium, medium to dark roasts begin to deliver the rich taste hidden in the beans. The acidity level is low, the oils within the beans are starting to release and can be visible on the outside of the beans. Roasted between the beginning and middle of second crack, medium to dark roasts are full of body. Depending on where the beans are dropped during the roast determines its name within the category. Full-City, the beginning of second crack; After Dinner Roast, and Vienna, which is dropped around the middle of second crack, make this roast knife-edge close to a dark.
Dark Roast: The lowest level of caffeine is found in dark roasted coffee, but don’t let that scare you off, as dark roasted coffee is full of smoky glory. By this stage of the roast, origin flavours and aromas have deteriorated; what is left is the flavours of roasting. Dark roasted coffee is a challenge to master as the roaster must dance on the edge of scorching the beans. Roasted to the end of second crack, or just further, the beans come dangerously close to tasting like charcoal. If the roaster is prudent and manages the bean correctly, they will be left with a chocolate coloured and oily bean that can give the taste of BBQ to the drinker. Myriad names exist for dark roasts, but French, Italian, espresso, and Spanish roasts are the most common.