This list should help as a beginning point but it must be
pointed out that every roasting company has a slightly different
perspective of where they draw the lines. Some roasters also use
different names instead of these common names.
1. Light Cinnamon
Very light brown, dry , tastes like toasted grain with distinct
sour tones, baked, bready
Light brown and dry, still toasted grain with distinct sour acidy
3. New England
Moderate light brown , still sour but not bready, the norm for
cheap Eastern U.S. coffee
4. American or Light
Medium light brown, the traditional norm for the Eastern U.S .
5. City, or Medium
Medium brown, the norm for most of the Western US, good to taste
varietal character of a bean.
6. Full City
Medium dark brown may have some slight oily drops, good for
varietal character with a little bittersweet.
7. Light French
Moderate dark brown with oily drops, light surface oil, more
bittersweet, caramelly flavor, acidity muted.
Dark brown oily, shiny with oil, also popular for espresso; burned
undertones, acidity diminished
9. Italian or Dark French
Very dark brown very shiny, burned tones become more distinct,
acidity almost gone.
Very dark brown, nearly black and very shiny, charcoal tones
Espresso roast as such really doesn’t have much of a meaning. Or put another way it has so many meanings that the term is difficult to give a definitive definition. Typically espresso roast refers to a dark roast blend that is blended to produce a produce a rounded cup perfect for espresso. Having said this there is not anything wrong wit making other forms of coffee with “espresso blend” coffee. Typically espresso roast will vary between Full City and Italian roast in darkness.
It should also be pointed out that depending on whether someone is making milk based drinks or drinking straight shots makes difference in choice of espresso blends. A slightly more pungent espresso blend is appropriate for mild based drinks since the coffee will need to cut through the milk while a blend designed for straight shots will try to accentuate the sweetness of properly made espresso.
Espresso is the only place that robusta is typically used in specialty coffee.