How does coffee roast affect the flavour?

23 Jun 2021


The secret behind the perfect cup of coffee begins with the roast…

How do you like your coffee roasted? Mild? Strong? Each coffee roast profile affects your coffee in more ways than you’d imagine. At Hotel Chocolat, we pay homage to the humble coffee bean with our five unique blends, from a mellow, creamy taste to our dark, punchy blend.

Designed for true coffee lovers, our coffee roast profiles are immediately, wonderfully obvious the moment you take a sip. So grab a cuppa and settle in while we take you on a journey through coffee roasts and how they affect flavour.

Why do we roast coffee?

It’s in the roast that coffee gets both its flavour and aroma. The roast transforms green coffee beans with a rather grassy flavour to that characteristically deep coffee flavour we crave.

During the roast, chemical changes take place: the beans rapidly heat to high temperatures that release those hidden flavours and deepen the colour from green to deep mahogany brown. The once soft and spongy bean hardens into the crunchy coffee bean, ready for grinding and brewing.

Typically, fresh ground coffee has the best flavour profile. Once ground, coffee begins to lose its freshness and can, over time, go stale. That’s why we sell coffee beans. But sometimes, life can get in the way of the beautiful ritual of grinding your own beans, so we’ve developed our coffee pods for a quicker cup of coffee. Each pod has coffee freshness locked in for a cuppa full of roasted coffee notes. 

Coffee beans before roasting

Different coffee roast types

Roasting the coffee bean determines the coffee roast profile. In other words, the type of roast decides how your coffee tastes.

Light roast

The milder option, light roast beans are perfect if you like a delicate, more aromatic coffee. Only roasted for a short time, the beans don’t get hot enough for the oils to break through to the skin, so they stay light brown, are less brittle and have more texture than darker roasted beans.

From a light coffee roast, you can expect velvety, crème bruleé flavours with a smooth body. Our Cashmere Whole Roasted Coffee Beans tease with fresh brioche and crème caramel notes giving you a cup of nuanced light flavours that whisk you away to your happy place.

Medium roast

Richer and more robust, a medium roast cracks the beans when the heat expands them and they lose their water content. The bean turns a darker shade and develops notes similar to dark sugar and rich berries. When you grind medium roasted beans, you can expect a highly aromatic drink with a fun bite to it.

Our Oh Hello Whole Roasted Coffee Beans pack a little morning boost with a lively blend of tangy cranberry, blueberry jam and peaches, deepened with a dark chocolate backdrop. Profound and rich, it celebrates the natural fruitiness of the coffee bean in all its glory.

For a medium coffee roast that nudges deeper into caramel and molasses territory, The One Whole Roasted Coffee Beans is a proper crowd pleaser. Still medium roasted, the beans stay in for slightly longer, giving them that rich, sweet backdrop of darker sugars.

Dark roast

Undeniably strong, a dark roast brings the beans’ oil to the surface, giving them that classic mahogany colour. This roast creates the most bitter bean, but it’s also the least acidic and is spot on if you need a real kick in your cuppa. A dark roast gives you that extra boost in the morning and carries that positive energy through your day.

Although some dark roasts can lose the more nuanced coffee-bean flavours, our Rocket Whole Roasted Coffee Beans marry both the strong and more subtle elements of the bean to create a backdrop of comforting leather and tobacco tones.

Coffee roast can be light, medium, or dark

Does coffee roast affect caffeine?

Delightfully, a dark roast has up to 60% less caffeine than a light roast because the longer roast burns off more of the caffeine. So although that rich, punchy dark roast may feel like the best morning boost, a lighter roast is more likely to give you a caffeine hit.

If you love the caffeine, cold brews tend to be the strongest because the coffee brews for hours, slowly extracting the caffeine from the beans into your cold cuppa.

Ultimately, favourite coffee comes down to personal taste – a strong roast feels like an extra kick, but a light roast has the caffeine energy boost.