Light roasted beans for espresso

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.

#1: Post by Detour101 »

I am exploring the option to use light roasted beans for espresso and milk-based espresso drink.

is light roasted beans have less crema than medium / dark roasted beans?

when pick light roasted beans for espresso, does it mean I can use Gesha, or other type beans like Yirgacheffe to make espresso?

how do you like light roasted espresso?



#2: Post by ojt replying to Detour101 »

The definition of light roast varies a lot between roasters and countries. Most of what I get as light roast here in EU I've actually found quite easily soluble, perhaps more into the omniroast territory.

Yes, lighter the roast the less crema. I suppose this is because of less CO2 in the beans.

I don't think the roast level really correlates directly to the origins and varieties, I'm sure you can find medium roasted Gesha / Geisha etc. Of course nowadays the more premium the variety or origin more surely it is roasted fairly light. Just a guess / feeling though.

I go mostly with light roast, basically everything I buy is "for filter", but like I said the roast level varies. Just start experimenting, maybe taste something a bit lighter in a coffee shop and then buy a bag if you liked it. Don't worry too much about the roast level or how people think it should be brewed (filter / espresso). Try yourself. Be prepared to grind finer and use more time on puck prep, pull longer shots (1:3 for example).

And my usual disclaimer: just my 2 cents, experts here might chime in and correct me :)

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#3: Post by Almico »

Light roasted coffee can have much more acidity than medium or dark roasted coffee. Acid and milk are not a good combination.


#4: Post by lukeap69 »

I have been using light roasted beans on milk based drinks for quite some time now. Many tasted good, some not so. I agree with the advice on grinding above; with the NZ, I usually grind finer with light by about 8 scale graduation. I suggest try and see for yourself if you like it.

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#5: Post by Brewzologist »

IMO, those who like light roasted espresso are usually after flavor separation. This comes at the expense of body and mouthfeel typically. I don't make milk drinks but I do prefer straight light roast espressos. Some considerations on optimizing taste of light roast espresso shots if this is of interest:

1) Grinders that work for more traditional espresso roasts may not highlight the flavors as well with a light roast. e.g. I love the NZ for medium roast espresso, but prefer MP burrs for light espresso.

2) Optimal shot technique to bring out flavors in light roasted espresso may differ. e.g. I prefer Turbo'ish shots using lower temps with preinfusion for light roasts vs. say a 9-bar declining shot for more traditional shots.

3) Water recipies may differ. e.g. I favor water with more buffer in it for light roasted espressos.

Hope this is helpful.

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#6: Post by Jeff »

If you don't like it as filter, you probably won't like it as espresso.

Not that if you do like it as filter you will like it as espresso! Since espresso tends to concentrate flavors, if there is something that bothers you in filter, it easily can become overwhelming in espresso.

I'd start with some filter roasts that you enjoy from roasters that you trust to be reliable. I'd skip the really expensive ones to start -- learning to make light-roast espresso is almost starting over. Once you've learned the new ways of dialing in the shots, then you can grab the high-end beans.

I don't know your grinder or gear. The grinder's burrs will make a big difference in the timing and ratio that I'd start with. Classic espresso burrs, conical or flat, tend to work with longer ratios and extraction times than to some of the modern, "high-extraction" burr sets like the 64 MP or 98 HU. Which grinder are you using?

Shooting for a 1:3 ratio with around 16-18 g of coffee in about 20 seconds on a 6-bar, flat-pressure, pump-driven machine may be a good starting point. Watch carefully, even, fast flow and localized channeling are different things. That may not be where you end up, but you should be able to get a reasonable shot somewhere around there.

My experience has been that lower pressures result in a more enjoyable espresso for my tastes. With European and Asian roasters known for light roasts, I tend to be in the 5-6 bar range (peak).

My experience with medium-light and lighter roasts is that they need to sit for 3-4 weeks before opening if you're going to use them for espresso. Medium-light for me is a typical Tim Wendelboe filter roast.