coffee explained

Coffee Roasting Temperatures


Coffee roasting temperatures play a crucial role in determining the flavor profile of your brew. The roasting process involves heating green coffee beans to different temperatures, resulting in various stages of roasting. Each stage contributes to the unique characteristics and flavors of the final cup of coffee.

Quick Notes
  • The roasting process involves heating green coffee beans to different temperatures.
  • Roasting temperatures determine the level of roast and flavor profile of the coffee.
  • Lighter roasts preserve more of the origin characteristics, while darker roasts highlight the roasting process.
  • There are various stages of roasting, including drying coffee, cinnamon roast, city roast, city+ roast, full city roast, full city+ roast, Vienna roast, French roast, and Italian/Spanish roast.
  • The recommended roast level depends on personal preference and desired flavor profiles.

Different Stages of Roasting

Let’s explore the different stages of coffee roasting and the temperatures at which they occur. The level of roast determines the flavor profile of the coffee, and each stage of roasting brings out unique characteristics in the beans. Here is a breakdown of the various roast levels:

Roast Level Temperature Range Description
Drying Coffee Approximately 320°F (160°C) In this stage, moisture in the beans evaporates, and they take on an aroma reminiscent of hay and sweet grass.
Cinnamon Roast Around 385°F (196°C) The beginning of first crack marks the cinnamon roast. The coffee starts smelling and looking like coffee, but it is still underdeveloped and not commonly used for brewing.
City Roast Approximately 400°F (205°C) Also known as New England Roast, this roast level is mid first crack. The coffee begins to smell and taste like coffee and is considered drinkable.
City+ Roast Approximately 405-410°F (207-210°C) At the end of first crack, the coffee retains its individual character and origin flavors, developing more body and accentuating any acidity in the coffee.
Full City Roast Approximately 410-430°F (210-221°C) This roast level occurs after first crack but before second crack. It strikes a balance between the individual origin flavors and the taste of roasting, offering a pleasant acidity and body.
Full City+ Roast Approximately 425-435°F (218-224°C) Just past Full Medium, this roast contains the first few snaps of second crack. It has more roasted flavors and body while still retaining some origin characteristics.
Vienna Roast Approximately 430-440°F (221-227°C) A dark roast in the middle of second crack, Vienna Roast produces beans with a sheen of oil. It has a rich, roasty flavor with minimal origin characteristics, making it ideal for those who prefer less acidity in their coffee.
French Roast Approximately 440-455°F (227-235°C) Occurring at the end of second crack, French Roast results in beans with a sheen of oil and a burnt undertone. It lacks origin flavors and acidity.
Italian/Spanish Roast Over 455°F (235°C) This very dark roast produces black beans and an aroma resembling burning tires. There is a lot of smoke, and the coffee tastes solely like the roast. It is not recommended unless it is a roasting accident.
related  Coffee Roasting Methods

Note that these temperature ranges are approximate and can vary based on the coffee variety. The level of roast affects the flavor profile, with lighter roasts preserving more of the origin characteristics, while darker roasts highlight the roasting process. The perfect roast level varies depending on personal preference, so don’t be afraid to experiment and find the one that suits your taste buds best.

Choosing the Optimal Roast Level

Choosing the right roast level is key to unlocking the perfect flavor profile for your coffee. The level of roast not only determines the taste of your brew but also influences the balance between the coffee’s origin characteristics and the flavor imparted by the roasting process. Let’s explore how different roast levels can impact your coffee experience.

Lighter roasts, such as Cinnamon and City Roasts, preserve more of the origin characteristics of the coffee beans. These roasts are known for their vibrant and delicate flavors, with a focus on the coffee’s unique notes and acidity. If you prefer bright, fruity, or floral notes in your coffee, lighter roasts are the way to go. They offer a cleaner and more nuanced flavor profile, allowing you to appreciate the distinct qualities of the beans.

Related Posts

On the other hand, darker roasts like French and Italian/Spanish Roasts are known for their bold, rich, and smoky flavors. These roasts showcase the intense roasting process, which often results in a heavier body and reduced acidity. Darker roasts are favored by those who enjoy deep, caramelized flavors with minimal origin characteristics. If you prefer a more robust and full-bodied cup of coffee, a darker roast might be the perfect choice for you.

related  Coffee Roasting Profiles

However, it’s important to remember that taste is subjective, and personal preference plays a significant role in choosing the optimal roast level. Ultimately, the best way to find your ideal roast is through experimentation. Try different roast levels and pay attention to the flavors and characteristics you enjoy the most. Coffee brewing is an art, and your taste buds are the ultimate judges. So, grab your beans and embark on a flavorful journey to discover your perfect cup of coffee!

Roast Level Temperature Range (°F) Temperature Range (°C) Flavor Characteristics
Drying Coffee ~320°F ~160°C Hay and sweet grass aromas
Cinnamon Roast ~385°F ~196°C Underdeveloped but drinkable, starting to smell and look like coffee
City Roast ~400°F ~205°C Smells and tastes like coffee, drinkable
City+ Roast ~405-410°F ~207-210°C Retains origin flavors with little taste of roast, more body, accentuates acidity
Full City Roast ~410-430°F ~210-221°C Balance between origin flavors and taste of roasting process, balanced acidity and body
Full City+ Roast ~425-435°F ~218-224°C Retains some origin characteristics, more roasted flavors and body
Vienna Roast ~430-440°F ~221-227°C Rich, roasty flavor, minimal origin characteristics, reduced acidity
French Roast ~440-455°F ~227-235°C Sheen of oil, burnt undertone, lacks origin flavors and acidity
Italian/Spanish Roast Over 455°F Over 235°C Black beans, aroma resembling burning tires, solely taste of the roast


By understanding the impact of coffee roasting temperatures, you can elevate your coffee experience and enjoy a brew tailored to your taste. The process of roasting coffee beans involves heating them to different temperatures, resulting in various stages of roasting and distinct flavor profiles.

Starting with the drying stage, where the beans lose their moisture without cracking, and progressing through the first crack, you can explore roasts like the cinnamon roast and city roast that offer unique aromas and flavors. As the roasting temperature increases, you’ll find the full city roast and city+ roast, which strike a balance between preserving the origin characteristics and adding roasting effects.

related  Light Roast Coffee

If you prefer a richer flavor and less acidity, the full city+ roast and Vienna roast are excellent options. These darker roasts bring out the roasty flavors while still retaining some of the origin characteristics. For those who enjoy intense, smoky flavors, the French and Italian/Spanish roasts offer a distinct taste with minimal acidity and pronounced roast characteristics.

It’s important to note that the ideal roast level for your coffee ultimately depends on your personal preference. Lighter roasts highlight the origin flavors, while darker roasts provide a stronger roasting profile. Experimenting with different roast levels will help you discover your preferred brew and enhance your overall coffee enjoyment.

What Temperatures Should I Use When Roasting Coffee?

When deciding on temperatures for coffee roasting, the key is to understand your coffee roasting machines. Different machines have different temperature ranges, so consult the manufacturer’s instructions. Generally, the process starts with a higher temperature of around 400°F (204°C), gradually reducing to 250°F (121°C) during roasting. Keep experimenting to find the perfect temperature for your desired roast level.


What role do coffee roasting temperatures play in determining the flavor profile?

Coffee roasting temperatures are crucial in determining the flavor profile of coffee. Different roast levels result in distinct tastes, with lighter roasts preserving more of the origin characteristics and darker roasts showcasing the roasting process.

What are the different stages of coffee roasting?

The stages of coffee roasting include drying coffee, cinnamon roast, city roast, city+ roast, full city roast, full city+ roast, Vienna roast, French roast, and Italian/Spanish roast. Each stage corresponds to specific temperatures and offers unique flavors and aromas.

How should I choose the optimal roast level?

Choosing the optimal roast level depends on your flavor preferences. Lighter roasts maintain more origin characteristics, while darker roasts have a stronger taste of the roasting process. Experimenting with different roast levels will help you find your perfect brew.

Source Links

Related Posts

About the author


Samuel is a coffee lover and a writer. He's travelled extensively throughout Southeast Asia and has soaked up the sun, the culture, and of course - the coffee. He loves to write about his experiences, and he hopes to travel even more in the future.

coffee explained