By: Lillie Wright
Understanding the differences between coffee roast levels ensures the perfect cup of coffee every time. Most people think of the main coffee roast levels–Light, Medium, and Dark–when it comes to drip coffee, but in recent years, specialty blends like Blonde and Espresso have added more dimension and nuance to this once mundane ritual. The most significant factor in determining coffee roast level is time. The longer coffee beans roast, the darker the final product. Factors like taste, strength, and color are affected by roast time and drastically change the drinking experience.
Starbucks introduced blonde roast in 2012. This staple boasted light, mellow flavors and became a fan favorite. Guests clamor for it in the morning because it actually has more caffeine than dark roast coffee. It seems counterintuitive, but the roasting process extracts more caffeine the longer the coffee roasts. Since blonde only roasts for a short time, it retains more caffeine. Blonde roast lovers will tell you it tastes citrusy and smooth with a creamy mouthfeel. It is an easy-drinking roast with a light caramel appearance. Of the different types of coffee roasts, it is the lightest, making it less acidic and, therefore, less bitter. Most people add cream and sugar to coffee to counteract this bitterness, so the blonde roast is perfect for those looking to cut back. Blonde roast contains tropical notes due to the beans coming from Latin America and East Africa. The beans carry the flavors of their countries and infuse them into the final product, creating something wholly unique.
Our light roast, Bitty’s Blend, is an easy-drinking blend with fruity and milk chocolate notes. Bringing together beans from Colombia, Ethiopia, and Guatemala, Bitty’s Blend creates a unique drinking experience. Light roast is the newest in the different types of coffee roasts and was designed for those who dislike the bitterness of traditional coffee. Light roast is sweeter and creamier than conventional darker roasts, and many people use it as a first step in their coffee journey. Bitty’s Blend has a vibrant palette that perfectly honors its namesake, Bitty Wright. While she may not be blonde, her fiery red hair comes close. Known for her larger-than-life personality and ability to make anyone smile, Bitty’s Blend is a crowd-pleaser–the light roast even the biggest skeptics will enjoy. Light roast beans typically have a matte finish since most oils cannot be extracted in the short roasting period. They are a lighter brown than traditional dark roast and tend to be heavier as they retain more moisture. Like blonde roast, light roast also has a higher caffeine concentration than darker roasts, making it the perfect accessory for breakfast or a midday pick-me-up.
Our Medium Roast, Beau’s Blend, falls perfectly between our light and dark roasts. This full-bodied roast is nutty, rich, and slightly sweet, like caramel. Beau’s Blend is always on drip, and people come from miles away to try it. What sets medium roast apart from the different types of coffee roasts is its ability to balance the rich, earthy tones of a dark roast with the light, crisp nature of a light roast. Medium roast beans are slightly lighter than light roast beans since they lose more of their water content in the roasting process and have some oil on their surface. They taste and smell more like traditional coffee than a light roast, and their flavor is one more people will recognize. The medium roast has less caffeine than the light roast, but it is still an excellent option for starting the day. Named after Beau Wright, our medium roast is warm, comforting, and inviting, making it the perfect companion for snuggling on the couch and watching a movie. Beau’s laugh is contagious, and he loves involving everyone in his adventures, making our medium roast essential for sharing with others and trying new things. It’s a classic that never goes out of style, no matter how many times you drink it. It will always leave you coming back for more.
Our Dark Roast, Sundance, is a dark, velvety blend with notes of dark chocolate and sweet spice. It is the darkest of our different types of coffee roasts and caters to those who enjoy coffee’s bitter and nutty tones. These beans are rich, chocolate brown, with a beautiful sheen on their surface. They are incredibly light since they lose almost all their water content during roasting. The coffee is deep and rich–the kind of drink that comforts the soul. Originating from Brazil, these beans offer the best of Latin America and keep guests coming back. Named for the Film Festival in Park City, Utah, Sundance is not shy about what it is. If someone is looking for the best in dark roast coffee, they will find it here. At Bitty and Beau’s, we use Sundance to pull our espresso shots. From lattes to cappuccinos to frappes, Sundance’s rich flavor profile means it can stand up to anything, making it the perfect multi-use blend. It has the least caffeine out of the three blends, but it makes up for it in flavor. Sundance is a bold, daring roast that shines on its own and within a classic Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Rather than being a different type of coffee roast, espresso refers to the brewing process. Hot water forces through extremely fine coffee grounds at immense pressure to pull the shots. The result is highly-concentrated coffee that baristas use for drinks like lattes, cappuccinos, and americanos. Espresso is creamy and smooth with an intense flavor, showcasing the best of the coffee’s flavors. Some people do not mix their espresso with cream or milk but drink it straight. Espresso traditionally comes in tiny cups and is enjoyed slowly while savoring the flavors. Many traditional coffee drinkers believe that espresso will give them jitters or make them “bounce off the walls,” but this is untrue. While espresso does have more caffeine, people typically drink less of it, meaning they are less likely to overdo it. Sipping espresso is a unique experience for those who truly appreciate the complexities of coffee. The highly-concentrated nature of espresso allows less noticeable flavors to come forward and creates an entirely new experience.
Find Your Favorite Coffee Roast at Bitty & Beau’s!
Looking through all this information and deciding which roast is best can be daunting. There are many different aspects of coffee, and trying to decipher them can turn a simple shopping trip into a puzzle. Remember these things when shopping for coffee: Strength, Roast, and brewing style—looking for something light, fresh, and energizing? Choose the light roast. Something in the middle with something for everyone? Try the medium roast. What about something traditional that feels rich and comforting? That’s the dark roast. If you’re looking to experience the true essence of coffee, and understand all its complex variables, try an espresso shot. If you’re still having trouble deciding, try Bitty and Beau’s Coffee Club. The Coffee Club is a subscription service that, for $50 a month, allows members to choose three different coffee blends to arrive at their door. The coffee can be whole bean or ground, and every order comes with a handwritten note from our Team. These subscriptions are also great gifts! Give the coffee lover in your life the gift that gives back, supporting employment for people with disabilities one cup of excellent coffee at a time.