Roast Levels

Raw Green Beans

We start with only the highest grade possible of raw coffee beans. To find the best beans, we evaluate the following: bean size, bean color, uniformity of size and color, occurrence of any "defects", and most importantly the flavor of the roasted coffee when brewed.


Defects found in raw coffee beans can be anything from unripened beans, to broken or discolored beans, to stones, twigs, or any foreign matter. The greater the number of defects found in a random sample of a lot of coffee, the lower the grade that lot is assigned. Higher quality coffee is more carefully sorted to remove all of the defects. This additional sorting takes more time, and as we all know, time is money, which is why higher grade coffee costs more.

Coffee from a single country is known as an Origin or Varietal. Coffee from any single origin will be available in several different grades of quality, we choose only the best beans which may cost a little more but it produces a better cup of coffee.


American Roast:

The best raw coffee can be completely ruined by improper roasting. Correct roasting is a delicate balance of time and temperature. As coffee roasts, it changes from green to shades of golden-yellow to its familiar brown. The color of coffee is produced through caramelization occurring within the bean as it is exposed to the heat of the roaster.


American Roast is the point where coffee beans have achieved their rich, medium brown color without any of coffee's natural oils appearing on the surface. American Roast is the traditional roasting style of American coffee. It produces a flavorful, complex cup of coffee. At the American Roast level, each individual origin coffee will be at its most distinct flavor. Kenyan will have a bold, snappy flavor to it, Sumatran will be deep and earthy with a little nutty note, Guatemalan will have a bright crispness with a full aroma. American Roast is coffee in its clearest state, without any heavy, smoky flavors that dark roasts bring out.


Vienna Roast: 

Vienna Roast is characterized by a slightly deeper color than American Roast, with small spots of oil on the bean's surface. This oil, which comes from within the coffee bean, is brought to the surface by the prolonged roasting time. The oil is important in the flavor of brewed coffee at higher roast levels, the greater presence of oil is what gives dark roasted coffee its distinguishable taste. Vienna Roast slightly intensifies the character of each coffee from the different origins, as well as bringing out flavors that may remain hidden at the American Roast level. This is perhaps the most difficult roast level to master, just moments too long in the roaster will result in too much oil on the bean's surface, and if the roast is finished seconds early no oil will appear.


Full City Roast:

Distinguished by the deep brown color and heavy oil on the bean's surface, Full City Roast further intensifies the unique character of each different coffee. Coffee does not become bitter when roasted darker. Bitterness in coffee is from poor quality beans or improper roasting. Dark roasted coffee should have a heavy, rich flavor, never burnt or bitter. The extended time in the roasted not only makes coffee darker, but also lighter in weight. Coffee contains water, that water is turned into steam during the roasting process, steam pressure causes the beans to swell in size. After roasting, coffee can weigh up to 25% less from the loss of water within the bean.


French Roast:

Roasting just slightly longer brings coffee to the French Roast level. With more oil on the bean and a little darker color than Full City Roast, French Roast brings coffee to the height of it's flavor. French Roast creates a deep heavy flavor, some of the more subtle flavors of coffee will be hidden by the dark roasted smokeyness. As coffee is roasted longer, the unique character of each Varietal, such as Kenya or Sumatra, is diminished, all coffee would taste the same roasted dark enough.


Espresso Roast:

Espresso Roast flirts on the edge of ruin. Coffee is roasted to its extreme limit, the beans are nearly black with very heavy oils. Seconds too long in the roaster will completely destroy all of the natural oils in the bean. Traditionally used for espresso and espresso-based drinks, this roast level has seen diminished use in favor of Espresso Blends, which combine the flavors of different Varietals at varying roast levels to create great espresso.