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Types of Roasting:

Feeling the Heat and Seeing the Light

There is much confusion surrounding roasting, degrees of roasting, and even the processes by which roasting is done. Hopefully, this will help to explain some of the mysteries surrounding the roasting process.

It is generally agreed upon that there are four main categories for roast doneness, and within each category are the individual names of each roast. It is also agreed upon that personal preference, and even geographical location, can play integral roles in the quest for the elusive “perfect roast.”

Green beans (or cherries, as they are actually called), are unroasted, and share only a few of the characteristics with beans that are roasted. Green cherries can be stored 1 to 2 years without loss of quality or taste characteristics, whereas roasted beans have a shelf life that is very short, typically a month or two, with a maximum freshness of only a week or two. Green cherries are also quite soft, grassy smelling, and have a high moisture content.

Roasting, the process of adding heat to the green beans, brings out the aromas and flavors through several chemical reactions. It is this very process that leads us to the finished product that we all love as coffee drinkers.

Small batch roasting is a mix of highly technical skills with an artisan flair: utilizing the abilities of sight, smell, and sound to know when the beans are at their peak. Mastering the skills necessary to become a quality roaster takes years of practice and refinement. A great roaster is hard to find, and Deep Blue Coffee Company is proud to be able to work with several master roasters in order to give our customers the very best coffee products available.

Let’s meet the roasts.

Light Roasts are the first roasts that are considered to be palatable. Lighter roasts are generally for coffees that have milder characteristics that can be lost during longer roasting. Light roast coffee beans will not have an oily sheen on the surface, because they were not roasted long enough to extract the oils through to the surface of the bean. Light City, Half City, Cinnamon, and New England are other common names for light roasts. Deep Blue Coffee Company’s Florida Keys Blend falls into this category.

Medium Roasts are a darker brown in color, and carry with them a stronger flavor. Coffees that are roasted to a medium level of doneness are often the preferred roasts for much of the general public, and are commonly the House Blends or Breakfast Blends at various cafes. City, Breakfast, or American roasts are other common names. Medium roast coffees often have a slightly more involved complexity, due to their additional roasting times, taking on a more toasted flavor- but still carrying with them a brightness in flavor. True medium roasts carry a lot of the subtleties that coffee aficionados look for in coffee. Deep Blue Coffee’s The Gallery Blend, Summer Campfire Blend, Mountain Morning Blend, and Late Night Decaf Blend all fall into this terrific roast profile.

Medium Dark Roasts are beans that begin to exhibit some oily sheen on their surfaces after the roasting process. Coloration is rich, often resembling a deep mahogany or dark leather. A hint of bittersweet is a common tasting characteristic for medium dark roasts, which are also commonly known as Full City. Medium dark roast coffee straddles the line between medium and dark. Still filled with the natural subtleties of the beans themselves, the flavors also take on the darker, rounded taste profiles often associated with “great” coffee. Our Deep Blue Signature Blend, The Angler’s Blend, Fifty Fifty Blend, Traverse City Bass Blend, and Great Lakes Blend are all examples of medium dark roasts.

Dark Roasts are roasted the for the longest period of time. Within this classification, there are numerous degrees of doneness. European and Vienna Roasts tend to be the lightest in the category of dark roasts. Even darker roasts in this spectrum include Espresso, Italian, and French roasts. The degree of doneness, and names used interchangeably sometimes lead to confusion. Beans roasted to this dark level are shiny with oils and very dark in coloration, but never truly black. This shiny quality is from the roasting process, where the oils within the beans are brought to the surface through longer roasting. A roaster’s skills and experience are necessary to not burn these surface oils. The darker the beans are roasted, the less acidity in the final brewed beverage. Deep Blue Coffee Company’s Foggy Morning Blend, Ku’u Aloha Blend, and our Deep Blue Espresso Blend are phenomenal coffees that are classified as dark roasts.

Deep Blue Coffee Company’s philosophy is to get to know each roast and preference by taste rather than by name. Each roast has its wonderful qualities, and we have taken much of the guesswork out of selecting the perfect coffee for you by creating unique blends catering to different palates and taste preferences.

The Specialty Coffee Association of America classifies specialty coffees as those coffees with 5 or fewer defects per 300-gram sample. Specialty coffee also contains zero major faults or “primary” defects like foreign material. Figures show that what makes the grade as specialty coffee is likely the top 1% of all coffee produced and sold worldwide. At Deep Blue Coffee Company, we pledge that 100% of our coffee is classified as specialty coffee, and always will be.

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