Coffee Colors and Roast Levels
Author | groundwork coffee Date | March 01, 2012
Unfortunately, it is just too simplistic to assign a color category to a coffee and expect that to be an accurate sign post to what the coffee will taste like. So much of what we taste and smell is determined by the coffee: its genetic line, how it was processed, what happened to the coffee during the roast process, length of roasting time....Just looking at the color can be misleading.
If I had two pieces of steak that were charbroiled to the same color, you don’t know just by looking at it if it was cooked rare, medium or well done until you cut into it. The same is true of coffee; the choices the cupper and roaster make about how the coffee should be roasted can result in a dark looking coffee with a light flavor or vice-versa. Some of our coffees are very versatile and can be (and are) roasted to different colors according to different profiles to bring out certain flavors.
Analysis of these details might feel pretentious to some...After all, it's just coffee! But here at Groundwork, we are committed to keeping our customers informed so they get what they want. In the end, I have to bow to the need to put the coffees into a “box” of some kind. But I encourage you to read the cupping notes and take that information into account with the color.
If you’ve read this far, I think it is fair to say that you care enough about the way your coffee tastes to take in what I am going to share with you next. As coffee is roasted, we can hear cracks during the process and they are key to controlling the roast levels. Here is a breakdown....
Light Roast: Some point after First Crack but before Second Crack
Medium: What we often call here at GWHQ as “Peak”, just at the beginning of the Second Crack.
Medium Dark: (Vienna) Coffee was well into Second Crack when we decided it was where we wanted it to be.
Dark: (French) Coffee finished its journey at Rapid Second Crack, where the cracking begins to diminish.
Some have 2 X’s because its color (and where we finished the roast) was in between these two points. The O’s mean we roast it all those ways, but if you order the coffee as other than an X, you may have to wait until the next time we roast that coffee to other than the X profile for the order to ship. Enjoy!
-Jeff Chean, Groundwork Partner, Cupper and Q Grader
|Papua New Guinea||X||O||O|