Your coffee roasts guide

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Your coffee roasts guide

Light to dark and everything in between

It’s well known that New Zealanders take coffee drinking very seriously. This is evident from the long list of different types of coffee you’re likely to find on almost every café or restaurant menu. Cappuccino, latte, long black, short black, espresso, macchiato, piccolo and there’s more. Then there’s the milk options - full milk, skimmed milk, almond milk, lactose-free, coconut milk, the list goes on. For newbie coffee drinkers or for those searching for their preferred cup, this can all feel a bit overwhelming. Which drinks have milk, are served with chocolate, have a frothy top, or have no milk at all? What do these different drinks taste like? Which are the most popular? Are all coffees caffeinated? In order to cut the confusion, we’ve put together a guide on all of the different types of coffees and the ways that they can be enjoyed.

Double espresso cup

The reasons behind coffee roasting

Roasting is one of the most important steps in the coffee making process and plays a big part in determining the final taste of what ends up within your coffee cup. Many people don’t realise that coffee starts its life as part of a plant on a farm, often located in some beautifully remote coffee-making region across the world. When it is first picked and removed from the coffee cherry, coffee is green in colour, has a grassy, vegetable-like appearance and has little-to-no taste – quite different to the dark, rich brown coffee bean that most of us know and love. The roasting process releases the potential of each little bean and transforms it from its raw green state, into crispy and flavoursome little seeds of deliciousness.

How is coffee roasted?

It takes years of practice and training to master the intricate process of coffee roasting. An expert roaster holds the ability to ‘read’ beans and perfectly time each roast to match the unique characteristics and flavours of each batch. The best, most delicious coffee beans can be completely ruined in just a few seconds if the roaster doesn’t know what they’re doing. The method of coffee roasting is complex and requires an in-depth understanding of the bean’s sugars, proteins, acids and more.

At the start of each roast, green beans are loaded into a heating system. An intense level of heat is applied to the beans and their colour transforms from green to yellow and then into varying shades of brown. Generally speaking, coffees roasted to temperatures between 180°C and 205°C is a light roast, between about 210°C and 230°C is a medium roasts, and from 240°C to 250°C is considered to be dark roast.

Roasting profiles - What do different roasts taste like?

Light roasts

Light roasts have the shortest roasting process and therefore retain more of the original flavours of the bean. They also tend to hold the highest caffeine content of all of the roast types. Light roasts are light brown in colour and have little-to-no oil on the surface of the beans. They tend to have an acidic and grain-like taste.

Enjoy Volluto for a lightly roasted coffee.

Medium roasts

The slightly longer roasting process reveals a more balanced and aromatic bean. Like the light roasts, medium roasts lack an oily surface but are slightly richer in colour. Their taste is less-raw than their lighter counterparts and they usually have a more balanced flavour and stronger aroma.

Enjoy Ispirazione Genova Livanto for a medium roasted coffee.

Dark roasts

As one could expect, dark roasts have a deep and chocolatey colour and often have an oily sheen on the surface of the bean. As the beans spend the longest time in the roasting process, they lose much of their origin flavour and instead hold a bitter and smoky taste.

Enjoy Ispirazione Firenze Arpeggio for that classic dark roasted coffee taste.

The best coffee roasts

Learning about your roasting preferences will be a matter of taste-testing. You may find that you enjoy a darker roast with a strong flavour first thing in the morning in your flat white and a lighter roast Lungo as an afternoon pick-me-up. You may enjoy the rawness of a light roast or the deep bitterness of a dark roast. Or you may sit squarely in the middle and prefer the best of both worlds with a medium roast. Your roast level preference will completely depend on your individual palate. The best way to discover your favourite is to taste and enjoy lots of different types of coffee – not a bad way to explore the possibilities, is it?

Ready to discover your favourites?

Start exploring Nespresso’s delicious range today

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