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Coffee 101: Different Types of Coffee Roasts

Coffee 101: Different Types of Coffee Roasts - Zavida Coffee

Roasting is one of the most important steps in bringing the coffee from the plantations to your cup. It affects the flavour, caffeine level and aroma of your coffee, and yet many people don’t know much about this process. We are here to demystify it for you and hopefully help you pick your favourite roasts!


Roasting coffee is a heating process that takes raw, green coffee beans and transforms them into the brown beans we all know and love. Before roasting them, coffee beans have very little flavour and aroma - it is only once they are heated up that we start to recognize the familiar taste, body, and acidity. 

Roasting causes chemical reactions as the beans are very quickly brought to high temperatures, and then very quickly cooled. The longer you allow beans to roast, the more moisture they lose - this process is a difficult art that requires years of training to be able to make split-second decisions. 

A good Roast Master will know the difference between a burned batch and a perfectly roasted coffee simply by looking at it. When coffee beans are exposed to heat, they start to “crack” as they lose water and moisture. If the roasting process is stopped at the first “crack”, we end up with a light roast. If it is stopped at the second “crack”, we end up with a medium roast. And so on and so forth!

The longer a bean is roasted, the more caffeine and acidity is pulled out from it. This is a reason why it is so important to know what kind of roast you prefer, especially if you drink coffee everyday - you deserve to have a perfect cup every time!

For main types of coffee roasts, which include light, medium, medium-dark and dark roast coffee beans


Richer and darker in colour than a medium roast, medium-dark roasts have a small amount of oil on the beans. In comparison to medium light and medium roasts, medium-dark roasts are bolder in flavour. These beans are typically roasted at 225 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit. If you're a lover of espresso, try Organica Rainforest Alliance Espresso. Smooth and robust, this blend is 100% organic and delicious.


Light roasts are the preferred coffee for those who don’t like a strong coffee and prefer mild fruity flavours. It’s a popular choice for cold brew, as this type of roast tends to be more acidic and the cold brew process cuts down on acidity a lot, and light roasts have the highest amount of caffeine per volume. 

These beans are roasted the least amount of time compared to other roasts, which means the coffee isn’t oily on the surface and has a light brown hue. This type of roast is best brewed slowly and for a longer amount of time to ensure proper extraction. 


Medium roasts are brown, very balanced in flavour and have a richer consistency than their lighter counterparts. These roasts are known to have chocolaty and nutty notes and are generally the most popular type of roast in America - it is often referred to as the “American roast”! It is a great overall roast that makes for a very versatile coffee that will please most people. 

They are less acidic than light roasts and contain more caffeine than dark roasts - medium roasts are a perfect compromise for a pleasant cup of coffee for everyone. Charles’ Private Stock Coffee is the perfect blend of richness and smooth body that is ideal in a medium roast.


Medium-dark roasts are slightly oily on the surface as the higher temperatures break through the bean more, and they have a slight bittersweet aftertaste with a rich, dark colour. This is a step up in terms of body and flavour compared to the lighter roasts, with more bold flavours of almonds and dark chocolate, and less acidity. 

Medium-dark roasts are best used with Espresso and French Press, as they have a much more complex flavour profile. These beans are removed from the roaster just after the second “crack” and have a deep aroma. If you're a lover of medium-dark roasts, try Organica Rainforest Alliance Espresso. Smooth and robust, this blend is 100% organic and delicious.


If the medium roast is known as “America’s Roast”, then the dark roast is definitely “Europe’s Roast”! If you like espresso, then you probably like dark roasts. These beans are roasted for the longest amount of time out of all the roasts. Their colour turns dark brown, almost black, and the beans have a very oily surface thanks to the long exposure to heat. 

The taste of this roast is strong, bitter, and sweet, and not very acidic at all. The longer roasting process allows the sugars in the coffee beans to caramelize, which offers a fuller, “buttery” body and sweeter aroma. 

This roast should be brewed quickly since it extracts very quickly. If brewed too slowly, bitterness will remain, and your coffee will be less enjoyable to drink. Dark roasts have a heavy mouthfeel and bold body, which is why some people consider it to be an acquired taste. If you're a fan of dark roasts, you will love Zavida's Premium French Roast Coffee. The richness of the dark roast offers a unique flavor that will leave you wanting more!

Different roast levels, from light, medium, medium-dark and dark, are visualized as coffee beans with different roast types sit in clear cups on a table

Picking your favourite coffee roast is a matter of taste and brewing equipment. We recommend trying them all out until you find the one that suits you best. Zavida offers a variety of roasts, often combined with flavouring to bring out unique characteristics - so make a game out of it and taste test them all!