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A guide to coffee roasts for brewing a perfect cup

Three coffee roasts and how to brew them to extract maximum flavour and aroma

Enjoy your morning cup of coffee by perfectly pairing the roast with the brewing method. (Photo:  Cup of Couple, Unsplash)
Enjoy your morning cup of coffee by perfectly pairing the roast with the brewing method. (Photo: Cup of Couple, Unsplash)

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How coffee beans are roasted will determine the true taste of your morning cuppa. This process brings out the aromas and flavours of the bean. Roasting profiles largely fall into three categories—light, medium, and dark.

It’s important to choose the correct roasting profile for a perfect cup. For example, a medium roast is good for brewing espresso, and a medium dark roast offers a beautiful balance of brightness and aroma with a full-bodied flavour.

Also read | How a coffee master makes the perfect cup of cappuccino

Here’s a handy guide to learning about three basic roasts and pairing them with the right brewing method:

Light Roast

Characteristics: Light roast beans have a soft brown colour. They appear dry, somewhat dull, and have no oily residue.

Taste profile: Low on bitterness

Best brewing equipment: Chemex, V60, Cold Brew

Preferred brewing method: Hario V60

V60 is an elegant Japanese-style brewing equipment for lighter roasts. It’s useful for those who want to improvise their brewing skills. The key here is to adopt a slow and precise pouring technique. The brewing process is about 3-4 minutes for a 300ml cup.

1. Fold the paper filter into a V60 funnel and rinse with boiling water. Discard the rinsed water.

2. Take 16-21gm of coarsely ground coffee powder and add it to the brewer.

3. Take boiling water (91-94 degrees celsius) in a gooseneck kettle. Pour about 350ml water slowly while making little circles. Add water every 10 – 15 seconds for an even extraction. Use just enough water to cover the surface of the coffee powder. Let it bloom for 15 seconds.

4. In 3-4 minutes, your mild, fruity coffee with a strong aftertaste will be ready.

Medium Roast

Characteristics: Medium roasts are a good balance between light and dark roasts. They look a little darker compared to light roasts with a nice brown color. They tend to be bigger than light roast beans, but not quite as big as dark roasts.

Taste profile: Low on bitterness

Best Brewing equipment: French Press, Aero Press, Drip coffee, Espresso

Preferred brewing method: French Press

Easy to brew and super consistent, the French Press is very reliable. Its classic and well-engineered design hasn’t changed much since its invention in 1929, and it’s perfect for making multiple cups of heavy-bodied coffee within 4 minutes. Learn how to use the French Press to brew incredible coffee:

1. The French Press has two parts—a glass beaker and a lid with a press.

2. Warm up your empty French Press by rinsing it with very hot water.

3. In the glass beaker, put 60 gm of coarsely ground coffee powder.

4. Take the glass beaker, and fill it with hot water until it’s half full. Stir with a wooden spoon to break the crust.

5. Now fill it to the top with water. Put the lid on and allow the coffee to brew without pressing it down.

6. Brew for 4 minutes and you are ready to press. Firmly and slowly push the press down. Your coffee is ready to be served.

Dark Roast

Characteristics: Dark roast coffees aren’t very acidic. They don’t have any fruity flavour and don’t make you pucker like you just bit into a slice of lemon. They are smooth, almost like chocolate.

Taste profile: A smooth, full-bodied cup. Pairs well with cream and sugar

Best brewing equipment: Drip, Moka Pot, Espresso

Preferred brewing method: Moka Pot

The Moka pot will give you a strong, full-bodied espresso-like brew. It’s an Italian way of making coffee. The Moka pot is a stovetop brewing equipment with three different parts that need to be assembled. The bottom chamber contains water, the middle chamber has a basket to hold the ground coffee and the top chamber is for collecting brewed coffee.

1. The texture of the ground coffee powder should be fine (similar to espresso), or just a little coarser will be perfect.

2. Fill the coffee filter basket, only till the surface. Don't press the coffee powder too hard.

3. In the bottom chamber, add hot water and fill below the safety valve. Insert the filter basket into the bottom chamber.

4. Tighten the top and bottom together. Put the brewer on the stove top on moderate heat.

5. The coffee will begin to boil over and you will hear a puffing sound. Notice the nice, dark brown coffee oozing out that will start to fill the top chamber. Once you hear an aggressive gurgling sound, it is the time to remove the Moka Pot from heat. With the help of a towel, take the whole pot and run the bottom chamber under cold tap water to stop over-extraction.

6. As soon as the coffee stops bubbling out, pour it into a cup and enjoy.

Story by Abdul Sahid Khan, Head Trainer, Lavazza India.

Also read | Get to know Doha’s signature coffee, ahead of the World Cup


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