Colombian coffee is one of the most respected coffees in the world, and it sparks many questions from coffee lovers, like is Colombian coffee light or dark roast? What roast is best for Colombian coffee and many more such questions.
In this article we will dig down and talk about Colombian coffee roast levels and which is best and what to expect from each different roast.
For those of you in a rush, I’ll answer the main questions right away.
Colombian coffee is neither light nor dark roasted, it can be of any roast that you want it to be. Which roast is best is subjective and depends on your own taste preference and what kind of coffee you want to make.
This article serves as a guide to help you to pick the best roast for you and the kind of coffee you want to brew.
Keep reading as we get cracking on with this article.
What Is Colombian Coffee?
- 1 What Is Colombian Coffee?
- 2 Colombian Coffee Roast Levels
- 3 Colombian Coffee Vs Classic Roast
- 4 Colombian Coffee Vs French Roast
- 5 What Kind Of Coffee Is 100% Colombian?
- 6 Is Arabica Coffee The Same As Colombian Coffee?
- 7 Is Colombian Coffee Mild?
- 8 Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up – Is Colombian Coffee Light Or Dark Roast?
Colombian coffee, in the most basic, simplistic and factual terms, is coffee that has been grown within the geographic boundaries of the South American nation of Colombia.
Coffee from Colombia produces a high quality, flavorful cup of coffee and demands a high price due to being made with a high quality Arabica type of coffee bean.
Colombian coffee growers have been cultivating and processing coffee cherries for 320+ years and have passed that knowledge down through the generations.
Colombian coffee beans are prized and highly desired for their excellent aroma, light acidity and the great taste produced, which is far superior to regular coffee.
Colombian coffee taste profile is of medium body, heavy tones of nuts and chocolate and floral notes. The exact taste depends on the region in which they were grown.
There are 22 regions in Colombia, divided into North, South and Central.
Pay attention to Colombian coffee and ensure you are buying 100% Colombian coffee beans. Not all that is sold under the name “Colombian coffee” as a Colombian blend could contain a mix of many different coffee beans from Central America and South America.
Only single origin Colombian coffee comes from a set region, and, depending on the brand, a specific plantation.
A simple 100% Colombian coffee that is not a single origin is still 100% Colombian coffee beans. Be aware of the coffee packets that use the word “blend” on them and know what you are getting is not 100% Colombian beans.
Colombian Coffee Roast Levels
Colombian coffee can be roasted to any roast level. The best way to ensure a great roast is to either buy your beans from specialty coffee roasters, or, what is more fun, buy green coffee beans from Colombian and get in on the home roasting revolution and roast you own beans.
Let’s now talk about the different levels of coffee roasting.
Green Coffee Beans
Green coffee beans is how all coffee starts out regardless of their roast profile. If you want to roast your own coffee beans this is what you will be buying.
These beans are good for 12 to 18 months in a climate controlled environment of a steady 22C (72F) before they lose their properties.
You can’t brew a coffee with these beans due to getting a very grassy tasting coffee if you did.
The Drying Phase
The next stage in coffee roasting and still part of and classified as unroasted beans alongside green coffee is the drying phrase.
During this phase, which is also known as the yellowing phase the beans go through an endothermic process that evaporates the moisture from inside the beans. 165C (329F) is the temperature of the process.
Light Roast Coffee Beans
There are two main roast types that are classed as light roast, cinnamon roast and New England Roast.
A cinnamon roast is so-called due to the color and not a cinnamon like taste. It is a very light roast which is roasted to the first crack. The sweetness is very light, has a sharp, prominent acidity and grassy taste.
A Colombian coffee has slightly less acidity due to the beans going through a washing process as part of their cultivation.
196C (385F) is the typical roasting temperature.
The next roast level is New England Roast.
New England Roast
The next roast level up from a cinnamon roast is the New England Roast, which is a slightly darker brown and brings out some unique characteristics of the location of origin as the complex flavors.
This is a great starting roast for your single origin speciality, Colombian coffee beans. The roasting temperature is slightly higher at 205C (401F).
French roast, cold brew, Chemex and drip brews with metal filters are great brewing methods for this roast profile and will bring out the unique flavors.
Let now move up to the next roasting category.
Medium roasts have a deeper body than light roasts and a bit more coffee oil as it starts to navigate to the outside of the beans. Medium roast has more of a traditional coffee taste while still having some lighter more floral notes.
The color of beans roasted at this roasting level is still a light brown and is developed during the beans first crack. This roast is less acidic than the lighter roasts. The roasting temperature is typically 210C (410F).
A city roast is a slightly deeper roast than an American roast, good tasting with good tones of the original character and location of the beans. 219C (426F) is the common temperature roasting profile.
A medium roast coffee, either American or City roast, is what your average run-of-the-mill coffee shop will have as their multi-purpose all use coffee to make a wide range of drinks, including an espresso.
Let’s now move on up to the roasting profile and talk about the dark roast coffee.
Dark roasts are a notch up from the finer roast levels and medium roasts and are perfect for making great espresso shots.
The first of the 4 principal roasts is the famed…
Full City Roast
A full city roast is a medium to dark brown color and has light to faint patches of oil and is the first of the roast profiles to be roasted beyond the second crack.
Like all dark roasts, you can make a great espresso shot with them. A temperature of 225C (437F) is used for roasting to a full city roast.
A vienna roast is the first of the dark brown colored beans. This profile produces a caramel flavor that is bittersweet, and with Colombian beans a light and muted acidity. Beans that have been roasted to a Vienna roast level have a light oily surface.
Notably, any of the flavors associated or connected to the origin have been lost.
230C (446F) is the temperature of this roast profile.
Roasted at 240C (464F) a French roast is a very dark drown and oily, shining with oil and, due to such this roast is excellent for brewing up an espresso shot with a thick, rich crema on top. The characteristic of this roast is prominent and it has a little aroma and little flavor of the coffee beans origin remain, they have all but been roasted out.
The top end of the roasting levels is Italian roast which is easily distinctive by the shiny black oily beans. The taste is ash like, acidic and think body. 245C (473F) is the roasting temperature.
A Colombian coffee bean can be roasted to any roast level. It is best to avoid the French roast as this is too deep and cinnamon is too light, Anything in between is ideal.
Colombian Coffee Vs Classic Roast
Colombian coffee can come in all roasts, with each having their advantages and disadvantages. Something to keep in mind is the higher and further you go up the roasting scale, the more you will lose the taste associated with the origin.
If it is the distinct taste and flavors of the origin you are seeking, then the lighter roasts will be more suitable.
Also, the darker and deeper the roast, the less of the unique flavors will come though, thus, in reality, and unless you are a serious espresso fan, you are best to avoid the dark roasts.
Colombian coffee beans are normally roasted to a medium roast as this level is balanced and maintains the caramel flavors, and aromas. It is this roast that Colombians love.
What Is Classic Roast Coffee?
A Classic roast is a light medium roast. The profile produces a bright flavor, mellow body and low acidity and a great after-taste.
Colombian Coffee Vs French Roast
Colombian coffee is not a roast profile, and in my humble opinion, the French roast is far too dark for enjoying a speciality coffee from any location, as this roast profile literally roasts out all the taste and the result is a very dark, very burnt like taste.
What Is French Roast?
A French roast is the second most roasted of all coffee beans, right at the top of the roasting scale and roasted to a black shiny color with all the oil migrating to the outside of the bean.
This roast is great for a full-bodied espresso and best with reasonably good non-speciality beans. Speciality beans will have had all their flavor roasted out of them. The taste profile is ash like, smokey and almost burnt.
The high amount of oil will ensure a great thick crema on top.
What Kind Of Coffee Is 100% Colombian?
The best kind of Colombian coffee is 100% Colombian! Anything that does not have the word “blend” or “Colombian blend” is 100% Colombian.
How much Colombian coffee is in a blend remains unknown, it can be as little as 10%, a figure based on how few Hawaiian Kona beans are required in a blend to be classed as a Kona blend.
To get a good quality Colombian coffee, ensure you are getting one that is market as 100% Colombian on the label.
The type of coffee that is used in Colombian coffee is Arabica beans.
Is Arabica Coffee The Same As Colombian Coffee?
An Arabica coffee bean can be from anywhere. Arabica refers to the type, the species of coffee plant that is used in a specific location or country.
Predominantly, Colombian coffee is Arabica coffee. The Arabica coffee plant is used due to being of a greater quality and having the ability to produce a better tasting cup of coffee.
In short, the terms “Arabica” and “Robusta” refers to the type of coffee bean.
Is Colombian Coffee Mild?
Colombian Coffee is known for being mild, rich and flavorsome due to the high quality soil, the best possible climate for the cultivation of growing coffee beans. A great deal of Colombian beans are grown in nutrient rich volcanic soil.
Due to the washing process, which is integrated into the cultivation process, makes Colombian coffee less acidic than other Arabica coffee beans.
Final Thoughts, Frappé-Ing It All Up – Is Colombian Coffee Light Or Dark Roast?
Colombian coffee stands out head and shoulders above regular coffee due to its taste and quality. Both of which indicate it is best enjoyed as a medium roast, which is by far the predominant roast that you will find in Colombia and how Colombians like their coffee.
It is neither light or dark roast as you can buy Colombian coffee in any roast that you want.