You might know your macchiato from your ristretto and your Guatemala from your Colombia, but do you know your roasts?

We gave coffee enthusiasts the chance to understand coffee like never before at our ThreeSixty° experience at this year’s London Coffee Festival. The interactive roasting session using Yirgacheffe Kochere coffee went down like a house on fire, so now we’re sharing the lowdown on why roasting matters with you too.

Roasting coffee is the process of cooking it to a dark, medium or light profile, and the difference in cooking time defines the flavour, texture and aroma you experience from the very same coffee. Here are the stages of roasting and how it affects the taste of your cup.


A long roast of about 11 minutes gives the dark roast an intensely caramelised flavour, with the acidity removed, and more bitter notes. By far the most popular roast in the UK & Ireland – think picking a really ripe blueberry from a punnet of sharp ones, or a dark chocolate torte. A coffee to keep you sweet.


The medium profile, roasted for around 8 minutes, is beginning to see growing popularity on the high street for coffee drinkers that enjoy its balance of acidity and sugar. As the sugar in the bean starts to caramelise, the medium roast takes on sweeter notes. Catch sweet and sharp flavours with this coffee – it’s like choosing tangy apply crumble with sweet custard. Perfect harmony.


A rapid roast of about 5 minutes gives a light profile. Popular in trendy, artisan coffee houses with experimental coffee devotees, a light roast makes for a more acidic coffee, with a cooked fruit flavour. Think lemon sorbet – this roast is like picking the unripe raspberry out of the punnet. A coffee with bite.


So while roasting is a topic often overlooked, it’s central to how your coffee tastes. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to how you like your coffee. But when it comes to roast popularity, coffee drinkers in the UK & Ireland are voting with their feet. They like a sweet deal, with dark roasts winning hands down. Want to know what all the dark roast fuss is about? Try our new Cuban dark roast coffee, available in Ocado and Waitrose and let us know what you think by following @360_coffee on Twitter and Instagram.