The difficulty that we encounter most often is that every roaster uses a different spectrum to define what a light, medium or dark roasted coffee is. Sometimes there is confusion when a roaster labels their coffee bag as one particular roast level and it is labeled a different roast level on our spectrum.
This way of categorizing can lead to some discrepancies; for example one roaster labels a coffee as a lighter roast while another roaster would label the same coffee as a medium dark roast. To try to keep things as clear as possible, we have developed our own objectively calibrated system of scoring coffee roasts so that we can try to reduce confusion and make sure that we are sending the right roast levels to our customers each and every time.
How do we do this? Here are the finite (and I think, pretty cool) details: We taste every new coffee using a tool called a colorimeter, which uses near-infrared light to measure the roast color of the whole bean coffee and then the ground coffee. The tasting notes are compared with these scores to create the final roast level. In the last year alone we have measured over 1,000 new coffees with this system and it continually gets better and better.
Here is what our spectrum translates to visually:
- Light: Light brown in color, can have an uneven appearance on the surface of the bean, no visible oils (dry)
- Medium Light: Medium brown in color, can have an uneven appearance on the surface of the bean, no visible oils (dry)
- Medium: Solid brown, usually no visible oils (dry) or a small amount of oils developing on the surface
- Medium Dark: Solid brown, oils starting to develop on the surface
- Dark: Dark brown with an oily, shiny surface
- Very Dark: Almost black in appearance, very oily and shiny surface
If your curator picked this coffee, it will fall in line with your taste preferences listed on your Coffee Profile. We can always tweak your preferences even further (down to the in-between roast levels, origins, processing method & more) so if you need any changes, email your curator to make adjustments!
Questions? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org