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Demystifying Coffee Roasts: A Journey Through the Spectrum at San Francisco Coffee

Demystifying Coffee Roasts: A Journey Through the Spectrum at San Francisco Coffee

Greetings, coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts! Dougie Fresh here, Master Roaster and proud owner of San Francisco Coffee in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. Today, we’re going on a flavorful journey through the fascinating world of coffee roasts and all its different types, just in time for the holiday season. Can’t you almost smell the gingerbread cookies and hear the sound of wrapping paper crinkling. The weather is finally catching up with the fact that it's autumn in ATL. The temperatures are dropping, and the leaves are putting on a spectacular color show. It's that magical time when you can break out your cozy sweaters and relish in the crisp, cool air. And we just released our oldest tradition- Java Holiday for the 2023 season! So in honor of that, we thought it would be a perfect time to talk about the different types of roasts to warm up those chilly mornings.

Cinnamon Roast:

Let's start at the beginning of the spectrum with the lightest roast, the Cinnamon Roast. Not many people have even heard of, or request this roast, but picture the delicate dance of beans as they lightly roast, reaching a pale brown color. When the beans are roasting, at about 385°, the bean makes a cracking sound, this is the first crack. This roast preserves the beans' inherent brightness, offering a cup that's lively, acidic, and bursting with floral notes. It's the perfect choice for those who enjoy a very vibrant and incredibly nuanced flavor profile, although to some this coffee can taste a bit grassy and is very acidic.

Blond Roast:

Moving slightly deeper into the spectrum, we encounter the Blond Roast. The beans here take on a light tan hue, and this roast strikes a balance between brightness and the development of more subtle flavors. Think of it as a gentle introduction to the world of specialty coffee, with a mellow body and a hint of toasted sweetness, a bit less grassy and sour in flavor while still retaining its vibrant notes. 

Light Roast:

As we progress, the Light Roast is where the beans begin to develop a richer flavor. With a medium brown color, this roast showcases the origin characteristics while introducing a more pronounced body. Fruity and floral notes persist, making it an excellent choice for those who appreciate complexity without overwhelming intensity.

Medium Roast:

In my opinion, medium roasts are really where you start to get a well-balanced bean and are able to really pull out the flavor. This one's like a warm fireplace on a chilly evening. We like to offer a medium roast that cooks between 400 and 410 degrees.

By that temperature, the coffee is full of flavor, with a bright, shiny verve, and a slightly muted acidity. The Medium Roast, often dubbed the "American roast," presents a bean that is just right, the goldilocks combination of acidity and body. Expect a delightful harmony of sweetness and nuanced acidity, making it a popular choice for everyday sipping. Our most popular medium roasts at San Fran are Morningside Blend, and Costa Rica Tarrazu!

Full City Roast:

Around 435 degrees, we produce what we call our Full City Roast. Legend has it that back in the early days of coffee culture, Seattle roasters loved their coffee very dark, while LA drinkers preferred a mellow medium roast. Midway in San Francisco, roasters created what they called the Full City, a middle-ground between the two. At San Fran, our Full City has a slight sweetness and a respectable body.

With a darker hue and a touch of oil on the surface, this roast intensifies the flavors. The acidity mellows, giving way to a fuller body with a hint of bittersweet chocolate. It's a captivating choice for those who crave a robust cup without sacrificing the distinctive qualities of the bean. If this sounds good to you, try a pour over with our Full City Organic Mexican, or take a bag home today!

Dark Roast:

By 445°, our beans are dark, with a bittersweet caramel flavor and perfect acidity. At this temperature, the barrel is full of smoke, which clings to the beans. That makes a dark roast perfect if you enjoy a smoky flavor with your coffee. The acidity is significantly subdued, replaced by deep, smoky tones that create a cozy atmosphere that pairs perfectly with the longer nights of the season. Dark roast enthusiasts revel in the velvety richness and intense aroma that defines this roast, like our Old Whaler’s Blend, The San Francisco Blend, or our Java Holiday 2023, with notes of brown sugar, dark chocolate, and citrus!

French Roast:

Taking it up a notch, at 455° we delve into the French Roast territory at the end of the second “crack”. Picture a glossy, almost black bean with a sheen of oils. The intense heat transforms the flavor into a smoldering symphony of dark chocolate and charred caramel. It's a bold choice for those who crave a powerful, lingering finish.

Italian Roast:

Finally, we reach the pinnacle of darkness with the Italian Roast. Roasted at a temperature Exceeding 455°, these beans are virtually ebony, exuding a robust, almost spicy aroma and bears very little origin taste. This roast ventures to the brink of smokiness, delivering a cup that's intense, full-bodied, and distinctly Italian.

Finally, let's address a common misconception: the caffeine content. Many believe that a Medium Roast contains more caffeine than a Dark Roast, but in reality, the difference is negligible. The roasting process primarily affects the flavor, aroma, and body of the coffee, not its caffeine content. So, feel free to choose your roast based on your taste preferences, knowing that the kick you get from your morning cup remains relatively consistent.

At San Francisco Coffee, we take pride in roasting our beans to perfection, focusing on Medium, Dark, and Full City Roasts. Our carefully curated selection ensures there's a perfect cup for every palate, and we invite you to explore the diverse world of coffee roasts with us. So grab a few bags online, or stop into our coffee house, pick a roast that suits your mood, have our baristas make you a delicious pour over, and let's make this holiday season one to remember.

Stay Caffeinated,

Doug Bond

Master Roaster & Owner

San Francisco Coffee

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1 comment

  • I just learned so much from this.I am definitely a dark roast kind of coffee lover!

    gail harding

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