What's a light roast?

Discuss roast levels and profiles for espresso, equipment for roasting coffee.
devlin2427

#1: Post by devlin2427 » Apr 27, 2019, 6:58 am

In Europe, nobody selling specialty coffee would call a 20% DTR roast, light. I've had great coffee that barely started FC that was truly light without being underdeveloped, grassy etc.

In the US the standard for medium seems to be at least SC while in Europe, it varies, but most roasters' medium is between FC and SC. While light is well under 15% DTR.

Moderator note: This discussion started in another thread and looked like it deserves its own topic so it's more easily found.

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Almico
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#2: Post by Almico » Apr 27, 2019, 9:58 am

The Agtron Gourmet scale is the roast level standard in the industry. When I roast 10s into second crack I typically get 50-55 for medium-medium/dark roast. A 10 minute roast with 20% DTR usually measures 70-75 for a LIGHT ROAST.

Coffee just past 1C would likely fall under the extremely light roast range.

So you are doing it wrong by calling your preferred coffee a "light roast". Call it what it is an "extremely light" roast.

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crunchybean

#3: Post by crunchybean » Apr 27, 2019, 11:00 am

Almico wrote:The Agtron Gourmet scale is the roast level standard in the industry. When I roast 10s into second crack I typically get 50-55 for medium-medium/dark roast. A 10 minute roast with 20% DTR usually measures 70-75 for a LIGHT ROAST.

Coffee just past 1C would likely fall under the extremely light roast range.

So you are doing it wrong by calling your preferred coffee a "light roast". Call it what it is an "extremely light" roast.

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To put it as gently and respectable to all, the induary standard, specifically for Speciality coffee has been changing. I think this is just one of those things that has yet to come to a conclusive end or at least an agreed new standard. For example when Devlin2427 says "FC to SC" I know what was meant was "first to second crack" but I want to read it as Full City to Second Crack. Somewhere along the line the understanding that FC (full city) to my best understanding came from Sweet Maria's and yada yada yada, here we are again to re-agree on a new understanding. Oh boy, sounds like fun. Moving on, those roasts do look "dark", rather a medium roast to me. And so the outside vs inside bean color = roast development debate arises. Especially as an air roaster I can get very dark while still "tiger stripped" on the outside. So I do not, nor ever, agree with the Agatron Gourmet Scale. As an avid home and for a while personal chef, using the word "Gourmet" beckons to a time of over sauced salmon. These times are a changin'.

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Almico
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#4: Post by Almico » replying to crunchybean » Apr 27, 2019, 11:25 am

What makes a standard, is that is doesn't not change. 1mg is 1mg. That's what gives it meaning. When we measure something and quantify it, that shouldn't change...ever. Now if you want to come up with your own scale, fine. But then you need to state that and can't conflate the two, like Celsius and Fahrenheit. It's OK if the worlds tastes are heading towards lighter roasts, but that doesn't mean the scale needs to change. Just call it what it is. In this case, very light or extremely light.

We need standards. They help us communicate effectively. Otherwise what is happening in this thread occurs. "well, this is what light means to me".

I thought I was roasting dark for 3 years. Then I bought a roast meter, and applying it to the Agtron scale, learned my coffee was actually medium, and what I thought were medium roasts (20%DTR in under 10 minutes) were in reality light roasts. .

Golf is a good example. A pitching wedge used to have 50*of loft. Typical modern PWs have 45*. So two golfers playing with two different standards of golf clubs can no longer communicate about which club is required to hit a certain distance. This has all been done to sooth the male ego so now a golfer can say he hits his 7-iron 170 yards, when in reality, his 7-iron is really a 5-iron.

So there is really no point, either than ego, to call a thing something else just because you want to.

crunchybean

#5: Post by crunchybean » Apr 27, 2019, 11:50 am

Yea having a standard is good. I agree completely. But Standards do change. Hence why blood letting for a headache is not the industry standard or like how the pitch of the face on your clubs has readjust to meet the market requirement. What I was getting at was the development and color aspect. Meaning that I can develop a roast dark and have a light color and come to a taste that is alternative to the norm. The scale was made so if you achieve that color you achieve that roast degree. Speak nothing of fruit or acidity. But now we do talk in terms of acidity so speaking in colors don't exactly create a clear understanding across the board. Wouldn't you agree?

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another_jim
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#6: Post by another_jim » Apr 27, 2019, 12:41 pm

I think what "all of Europe" is calling a light roast is an Agtron 90 cinnamon roast.
Jim Schulman

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yakster
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#7: Post by yakster » Apr 27, 2019, 1:01 pm

Tom from Sweet Maria's likes to reference old source material like William Harrison Ukers "All About Coffee" from the Tea and Coffee Trade Journal Company, 1922. Very interesting historical read and can be read and searched on Google Books. (Use desktop mode on mobile devices to access the search and other features)

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Modern usage of light, medium, and dark is baffling and probably comes from consumer packaging and not internal production and roasting communications which may tend to be more precise.

I like to use C1 for first crack to avoid confusion, but that hasn't caught on.

He posted old telegrams to social media a few years ago that showed the coded messages that buyers used to communicate with their companies to prevent competitive spying.
-Chris

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[creative nickname]
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#8: Post by [creative nickname] » Apr 27, 2019, 1:06 pm

Also, DTR in isolation tells you very little about roast depth. What is the delta between first crack start temp and finish temp? How fast did the early phases run? Depending on those other values you could do a very light roast or be into second crack while holding a fixed DTR at 20.
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Almico
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#9: Post by Almico » Apr 27, 2019, 2:13 pm

[creative nickname] wrote:Also, DTR in isolation tells you very little about roast depth. What is the delta between first crack start temp and finish temp? How fast did the early phases run? Depending on those other values you could do a very light roast or be into second crack while holding a fixed DTR at 20.
Yep. I need to know

1C temp and time,
total roast time,
time from 1C to drop and
final temp.

With that info, it doesn't matter what roaster you are using, I can compare it with accuracy to my roaster.
another_jim wrote:I think what "all of Europe" is calling a light roast is an Agtron 90 cinnamon roast.
And yep.

I'm going to try an Agtron 90 roast and see what I get. I have a very nice yellow Bourbon from Nariños that might do very well. I'll sacrifice 1# fore the cause. It might be fun to start a cinnamon roast thread and see what develops...or under develops :oops:

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drgary
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#10: Post by drgary » Apr 27, 2019, 2:57 pm

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Gary
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What I WOULD do for a good cup of coffee!