Roast Styles : Roast Table

The only way to really understand roast is to associate flavor with the color and appearance of the bean rather than with name alone, but for reference I have condensed most of what an aficionado needs to know about the names of roasts in the following roast table.

Roast color Bean surface Agtron Numbers Common names Notes
Light brown Dry 80 – 70 Light
Cinnamon
New England
Can taste sour and grainy. Typically used only for inexpensive commercial blends.
Medium brown Dry 70 – 50 Medium
American
Regular
City
Brown
The
traditional American norm. Flavor is fully developed; acidity is bright; characteristics of green coffee are clear.
Medium-dark brown Dry to tiny droplets or patches of oil 50 – 40 Viennese
Full-city
Light French
Espresso
Light espresso
Continental
After-dinner
European
The
normal or regular roast for the West and for many newer specialty roasters. Acidity and the characteristics of the green coffee begin to mute. Bittersweetness emerges. The norm for northern-Italian style espresso.
Dark brown Shiny surface 40-35 French
Espresso
Italian
Turkish
Dark
The
normal or regular roast for many roasters in the West and Southwest. Acidity
is nearly gone; the characteristics of the green coffee muted. Bittersweet tones dominate. The norm for most American-style espresso.
Very dark brown Very shiny surface 35-30 Italian
Dark French
Neapolitan
Spanish
Heavy
The
normal or regular roast for Peet’s Coffee and its imitators. Acidity is gone.
In tactful versions of this roast some characteristics of the green coffee
survive; in aggressive versions all coffees taste the same: bittersweet with hints of burned or charred tones.
Black-brown Shiny surface 30-25 Dark French
Neapolitan
Spanish
All
differentiating characteristics of the green coffee are gone; burned or charred notes dominate. Body is thin. Flavor is reduced to faint sweet tones.