Coffee 101

Find the roast that is right for you.

Photo courtesy of Adam Ewing

Red Rooster Coffee in Floyd. 

Learning the nuances of artisanal coffee will help you find the roast that is right for you, so we asked a Best of Virginia winner to explain the process.

“Coffee gets its flavor at every single step, from seed to cup,” says Grace McCutchan, authorized Specialty Coffee Association trainer and roaster with Red Rooster Coffee in Floyd. “Most flavors are natural characteristics fundamental to the coffees found at origin, but can be enhanced during the roasting process.” 

Light roasts, such as a New England roast, are light brown in color and have a toasted grain taste and pronounced acidity. As the name implies, medium-roast coffees, such as a breakfast roast, are medium brown in color; they have more body than light roasts, lack the grain taste, and present a more balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity. Medium-dark roasts, such as a Vienna roast, have a richer, darker color and some oil coating the surface of the beans. They have a heavy body in comparison with the lighter or medium roasts. Dark-roast coffees, such as French or Italian roasts, have a bitter and smoky, sometimes burnt, taste. They are low on caffeine and are often used for espresso blends.

RedRoosterCoffee.com

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