You’ll find that coffee roasting types and terms vary slightly in some regions or within some companies, but for the most part there is a standard that is followed. Understanding these different roasts is important because it can help you make the best selection for your taste buds while in the supermarket or in coffee shops. Here’s a quick reference guide, in order from light to darker roasts:
Cinnamon (or New England) Roast
Cinnamon roasts are by far one of the most popular, and are widely seen in donut shops and are used often as a breakfast coffee. The Cinnamon roast is the lightest roast with a very high acidity and less body. This type of roast is used often by larger manufacturers and high end roasters as it is a more revealing roast – you can taste any slight defect in the coffee in this roast.
This roast is 1-2 shades darker than the Cinnamon roast and typically carries just as little body. The difference with the City roast comes in with the caramel notes that are present (not present in the cinnamon roast) with the slightly longer roasting, and some loss of acidity. Most specialty coffee is roasted to this roast level.
The Vienna roast, founded in coffee houses in Austria, is slightly darker than the City roast and begins presenting with some oil. This roast is sort of smack-dab in the middle of all the roasts, and while you can effectively enjoy the particular beans unique tastes you will also taste a very present thicker and more syrupy taste.
Espresso roast is the first roast along the road into the darker roasts. It has far less acidity than all the other roasts, making it perfect for the espresso brewing process, and makes for a very balanced bean.
The Italian roast is a more complex roast. This roast is darker than the Espresso roast, more oily, contains much less acid, and is almost bittersweet in flavor while also bringing forth a very pronounced coffee punch.
The French roast, darkest of all roasts, is the boldest and smokiest of all the roasts. It boasts a very oily,robust, smokey flavor with often strong notes of hickory.