Is Espresso Roast And Dark Roast The Same? Myth Debunked


I can’t pass a day without taking a sip of my favorite coffee. Perhaps, as you pamper your caffeine habit, you will have an idea of what kind of coffees you want, and probably, espresso and dark roast are part of them. 

If you’ve already tried both espresso and a coffee of dark roasted beans, you’ll know that they are distinguishable from each other in as much as how they are prepared. You can brew espresso usually with medium to medium-dark roasts. Though some people use dark roasted beans, it still depends on your preference.

Meanwhile, dark roast defines a roast profile roasted longer and is typically used in any brewing method. Many misconceptions about the caffeine content of these coffee roasts have emerged, but little did they know that the caffeine level is only slightly affected by the roasting process. You make dark roasted coffee if you prefer a strong and intense taste. 

In this article, we have included the types of coffee beans, the roasts’ profile, and how you can prepare them. We have covered the areas you’ll need to understand as a coffee enthusiast. Once you finally understand the basics of coffee roasts, brewing with the right method now comes easier.

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What Beans Are Best For Espresso?

Before considering the coffee beans to use, make sure that you already have an espresso machine with you. Once you’re done finding the right one, it’s time to move on to the next step.

It is a must for you to learn how you would achieve your perfect espresso. But before doing so, you need to consider the right coffee beans, the roast process, and the brewing method.

These three things will help you achieve the coffee taste you’re looking for. 

Note that there’s nothing such as espresso beans, only coffee beans. And you can tell coffee beans depending on their roast: light, medium, and dark.

The medium to medium-dark roasted beans is the most recommended ones to make an excellent espresso.

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Where Did Coffee Beans Originate?

It is given that if you want to have a good espresso, you have to consider the quality of the coffee beans you’re going to use.

For instance, you want to make a nice meal for your family, and you’ll use the right and quality ingredients to make a delicious dish.

The same goes for your coffee. You have to consider the country, the climate, and altitude since its origin will highly influence the final taste of your coffee.

They are two types of coffee beans: Arabica and Robusta. Arabica grows in higher elevations while robusta grows in lower elevations. When you use robusta, you will tend to have creamier espresso since it is known for caffeine and density.

On the other hand, Arabica is more available than the other type, but only one or two percent of its production has the best quality to achieve the espresso you desire.

The beans you’re going to choose to play an important role in coffee flavor, aroma, and taste. As an espresso drinker, you can easily expect the taste of your coffee depending on the coffee bean you’re going to use.

If you blend bean varieties, you are likely to achieve an espresso full of richness though, for some brewing methods, single origins roasts are also good.

What Is The Difference Between Different Coffee Roasts?

After choosing quality beans, you should know the various types of coffee roasts and which one is the best for your espresso.

You may think that coffee beans are already brown, but they start as a green color in reality. Only the roasting process replaces the beans’ natural scent and the color with flavorful and darker ones.

The roasting makes the aroma more appealing that it even motivates you to get up in the morning. As a coffee enthusiast, you have to embrace the basics and learn every profile you can start working on your desired coffee taste.

Having a guide about the types of coffee roasts would be a great help. By exploring the different coffee roast profiles, you can try which roast would be more appealing to your standard.

  • Light Roasts 

If you pay attention to the color of coffee beans, you’ll know that they vary depending on their roast level. The shorter the time, the lighter they will be; the longer, the darker the beans will be. Light roast has the palest shade of brown among all roasts. 

The final roasted form of coffee beans, also known as “the first crack,” starts around 350°F- 400°F. This means that the moisture of the beans is extracted.

Since light roasts don’t come beyond this first crack, they are the driest beans, resulting in a more natural flavor. The beans have little to no seeable oil on the surface, and the roasting helps in cooking their caffeine away.

Light roast roasts, with their earthier taste, become the most acidic or has a fruitier taste. 

If you want to have a good espresso, using light roast is not suitable since it would only lead to a flat coffee that lacks richness in flavor.

There’s a higher chance that you would only get disappointed using lightly roasted beans for your espresso.

  • Medium Roasts

When the beans are heated from 410°F- 430°F, they become medium roasts. If light roasts don’t go beyond the first crack, medium roasts are roasted until the second crack.

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They have a darker brown shade and a fuller taste and color than lightly roasted beans. Though there is no visible oil on the beans’ surface, medium roasts are slightly acidic or have a lesser natural taste, and contain less caffeine than light roasts.

They have a more balanced taste which can be a good roast level for your espresso. 

  • Medium-Dark Roasts

When the beans are roasted longer than the second crack, you will go for a medium-dark roast. This roasting process is f 25°F higher than the medium counterpart and ranges from the start-up to the middle of the second crack.

The beans would start to have a richer, darker color, and the beans’ surface would start having some visible amount of oil.

As the aroma of the beans your noses, you’ll know it has a more indicative flavor. But note that the taste still varies depending on the age and the origin of the beans.

It may have a bittersweet or spicy taste or may taste like dark chocolate or caramel. 

Medium-dark roasts are denser and richer, making many Italian baristas a perfect roast to make espresso.

  • Dark Roasts 

You can easily distinguish dark roasted beans since, among all, they have this oily and shiny surface and almost black color.

This involves a roasting temperature of 100°F higher than the light roasts and is considered to have the highest range. Dark roasts typically end in or longer than the second crack.

Dark roasted beans have an almost burnt aftertaste and can be smokier and fully than other coffee roasts. Many people find the roast flavor too intense.

But if you’re an avid coffee drinker, having dark roasts should only be in french presses and be done with more standard coffee brewing processes. 

Coffee Roasts and Your Espresso Machine

It is crucial to bear in mind that your beans’ roast can also affect your machine aside from the taste of your coffee. When you brew overly roasted beans, it tends to leave a greasy residue in your machine since they have an oily exterior.

It is then important to clean the machine components for their performance not to be affected. If not, your machine might be damaged since the greasy residue becomes sticky and gummy, which also makes it hard to remove.

The shade of your roast should also be considered. By doing so, you can expect that your machine won’t disappoint you and give you an excellent espresso. 

Whether you daily or casually drink coffee, knowing the basics hits differently and encouraging. You surely can apply these once you try to brew coffee yourself or what to expect when you order a cup.

When you understand coffee roasts, you can now create or improve your personal coffee preference. Much more, won’t it be satisfying to achieve the coffee taste you love?

Understanding coffee roasts open a new door for you to learn about different brewing methods and try more coffee flavors. You would then find the best match for your taste buds and coffee satisfaction.

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