Nicely Roasted: Coffee Flavors Explained

From tangy and bright, to nutty and dark, the enchanting coffee bean has a nearly endless range of flavor profiles -- and they all come to life inside the roaster.


The manner and degree to which your beans get roasted plays a starring role in the character of each brewed cup. The fresh, green coffee bean is soft and mild. Expert roasting draws out moisture and brings varied notes to the forefront, be they fruity, spicy, sweet or earthy.

These distinctive flavors all relate to how hot (and for how long) coffee beans get gently “cooked” in the roaster, darkening each precious kernel.


Coffee beans also sweat out oils as they absorb heat. The darker your roasted bean, the less acidic its flavor will be, and the less caffeine it holds. That’s right: Surprisingly, light roasted coffees have more caffeine than their darker counterparts, producing a thinner body and bright, complex flavors of fruit and herbs in the final cup. 


At a roasting temperature of about 300-350 degrees Fahrenheit, the coffee beans will begin to crack and expand in size. Medium roasted coffees are dry on the surface, giving off a balanced taste and aroma that begins trending toward spiciness.

Rich, dark-roasted coffees spend the most time basking at higher temperatures, drying as they exude oils, producing a glossier surface texture. Single notes of bitter caramel and toasted nuts become prominent in these full-bodied roasts. Caffeine content tapers substantially as the coffee beans are brought to an internal temperature as high as 465-480 degrees.

Apply this newfound knowledge with some taste-testing at home, and try expanding your awareness of the broad flavor wheel. Whether you’re a fan of citrus flavors, or a deep chocolate note is your thing, we have a Kahwa roast that’s just right for you.


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