Roast Related Terms

Roast flavors exist alongside varietal flavors, although they
often can mask or destroy them.

Sweet. Sweet refers to the presence of some carmelly
flavors developed in a Full City type roast. An overall
pleasantness and balance achieved by good roasting that is
sensitive to the varietal character of the bean. Sweet might
also refer simply to a varietal characteristic, also called
soft, mild or mellow.

Baked or Bready. Under-roasted coffees that haven’t
developed their character, or coffees that simply sat in the
roaster too long without enough heat. It can also refer to
scorched coffees where the outside of the bean is browned and
the inside is under-roasted.

Bittersweet. The bittersweetness of a coffee develops
as the roast gets darker and eventually overpowers other
flavors. It dark roasts, acidity is reduced until completely
absent, while the carmelly taste of burnt sugars form the
stimulating bittersweetness. This is a newer term but I like
the way it refers to the strong flavors of dark chocolate. It
is also the quality people love about Peets and Starbucks
blended coffees.

Burnt. Either the pleasant flavor of Dark French or
Spanish roasts, or the flat taste of burnt rubber in your
mouth, depending on how you view such things.

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