Why you shouldn’t care about whether it’s a dark or light roast


Cooling some fresh roasted coffee at Chazzano Coffee Roasters

What is one of the most popular first questions at Chazzano Coffee Roasters? The answer is: “Do you have a Dark/French/Italian/ Espresso Roast?” The reason that many people ask for a dark roast is that they believe that dark means richer or bolder. That is not close to the truth. In addition, the brewing method and flavor profile are the greatest predictors of boldness or strong mouthfeel. For example, Kenya AA is roasted to the lightest possible roast profile- a City Roast- because I want the apricot, caramel, and apple notes to shine. However, you would never call Kenya AA a “light” coffee. Try it as an espresso and you may believe that it’s a dark roast. In addition, our famed Yemen Mocca Sanani roasted extremely light will create a crazy bold, spicy, hot cocoa flavor profile regardless of the way that you brew it.

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Yemen Mocca Sanani

We roast some single origin coffee selections to a Vienna Roast, dark but with no oils coming out of the bean, because they are grown over 4500 feet above sea level. When coffee is grown at that elevation, it has a special designation SHB (Semi-Hard Bean) that denotes its greater density. In addition, the coffee grown at high altitudes take longer to grow and their flavor profiles are often more complex than lower grown coffees, even on the same farm. Finally, with the greater density of the higher grown coffees, I am able to roast the coffees to a darker roast without hurting the flavor profile. These coffees do not exhibit a dark roasted, bitterish taste because they can handle the greater heat. So, the Nicaragua Jinotega Las Camellias roasted to a Vienna Roast has a gritty mouth feel or a bolder sensation in the mouth, but it has great nutty sweetness. As a lighter roast, it also seems bold, but it has rhubarb and apple notes.

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Turkish Coffee at Chazzano Coffee Roasters

My favorite bold coffee is Rwanda Nyamagabe Full City (medium roast). You’ll experience rich dark chocolate and dark cherry notes that will inundate your palate with flavor. The chosen roast profile of each coffee depends upon the resulting flavor profile. If that roast profile has the potential to enrich your life, that’s the way I will roast it.


If you really want to be shocked, try to “Drink for the Cycle,” where you taste the same single origin coffee brewed as a French Press, Iced, Vacuum Syphon, Espresso, Pourover, and Turkish. Remember, Good Coffee Makes You Sing.

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