4 Types of Coffee Roasts Explained

Roasting Coffee Beans

Don’t you love that feeling when you tear open a fresh bag of coffee and the rich scent wakes you up? Although the bean’s origin does play a role, the main reason coffee beans have a tantalizing scent is because of the roasting process. The beans usually come in four common roasting levels; light, medium, medium-dark, and dark. Each roast will have different flavor properties and unique characteristics. We’ll go through each of the four roasts and help you choose the one that’s right for you.

If you would like to read more in-depth about the differences between roasts here’s a good informational page to visit.


  • Light roasts are the beans that were roasted for the shortest amount of time, meaning that they are more acidic and have the most caffeine out of any roast. The flavor of these beans is lighter and the coffee’s origin flavors will be more prominent.
  • Common nicknames include: Cinnamon, Blonde, Light-Roast, and New England
  • We recommend: Wide Awake Coffee Co. Kona Blend, it’s light, bright, and has notes of tropical flavors.


  • Medium roasts have a slight body and less acidity than lighter roasts. They have a balanced taste somewhere between rich and acidic. This is a great coffee to start with if you are a new coffee drinker.
  • Common nicknames include: City, Regular, House Blend, Breakfast Blend, and Columbian
  • We recommend: Wide Awake Coffee Co. Columbian, it’s creamy, balanced, and perfect for your everyday cup.


  • Medium-Dark beans will have a small amount of natural oil on the outside of the beans because of the roasting temperature and length. This roast is a full-bodied, full flavor, and much less acidity than the other lighter roasts. Pick this roast if you like a richly flavored cup in the morning…or anytime!
  • Common nicknames include: Italian, Light French, Vienna
  • We recommend: Wide Awake Coffee Co. French Roast, it’s dark and rich if you’re looking for a satisfyingly deep cup of coffee.


  • Dark beans will have a very shiny appearance due to natural oils being released during roasting. These beans are usually smoky and can be slightly sweet because their sugar caramelizes when they’re roasted. If you want a coffee that’s bold, full-bodied, not very acidic, and has a buttery finish then pick this roast. This specific roast is perfect for espresso shots.
  • Common nicknames include: French, Espresso, Italian Dark Roast, Turkish, and Bold
  • We recommend: Wide Awake Coffee Co. Seattle Style Dark, it’s slightly sweet, smooth, and heavy-bodied which is perfect for iced coffees.

Now that you understand the differences between four common roasts, choosing a coffee should be a little easier. Just remember if you’re looking for more caffeine pick up a light roast. Or if you’d like a bold cup choose a dark roast.