How to Get the Most Out of Medium Roast Coffee Beans
Updated: Nov 11, 2022
A cup of coffee is like magic. It wakes you up in the morning and makes you feel more capable of dealing with whatever the day throws at you. But coffee also benefits your health, reducing the risk of kidney injury and even extending your lifespan.
Coffee drinkers have been singing this magical drink's praises for centuries. Yet, even the biggest coffee enthusiasts can still have trouble brewing that perfect cup of medium roast.
Medium roast is the Goldilocks of coffees—it is neither too bold nor too mild; neither too sweet nor too bitter; medium roast coffee is just right. That's why we're bringing you this guide to medium roast coffee beans.
Do you like your cup of medium roast but want to love it? Then keep reading this guide because we're explaining everything you need to know about choosing, brewing, and drinking this coffee roast.
What Is Medium Roast Coffee?
When we say "roast," we are referring to the process of applying heat to green coffee. The heat roasts the green beans, turning them into the brown coffee beans we are all familiar with.
Medium roast beans are those heated to the "second crack." Roasters refer to the times when coffee beans emit an audible pop as the first and second crack. The first crack occurs at 385°F, and the second crack occurs at 435°F.
But what is the difference between medium, dark, and light roasts? We're answering this question next.
Medium Roast vs. Dark Roast
Roasters heat dark coffees for a longer time than medium roasts, typically just past the second crack. The longer roasting period for dark coffees imparts a darker color to the beans. Dark roast beans also have an oiler surface texture than medium coffee beans.
Coffee brewed from dark roast beans has a more robust, espresso-like flavor. The flavor profile of a dark roast varies based on its origin and quality but tends toward chocolate and nutty.
Dark roasts tend to have lower levels of acidity compared to medium roasts. However, the method by which you brew your beans can change the acid profile of the coffee.
Medium Roast vs. Light Roast
Light roasts are also known as blonde roasts. Coffee roasters heat light roast beans for less time than medium or dark roasts, usually around the time of the first crack. Because they are roasted for less time, light roast quality depends more on the bean than the roaster.
Light roast coffee beans retain much of the color present in green coffee beans, making them much lighter than medium roast beans. You can tell a light roast by eye because it usually has a dry, non-oily surface.
Coffee brewed from light roast beans tends to have more acidity and a less full-bodied flavor than medium roast coffee. But, again, the exact flavor profile of a light roast will vary based on origin and quality.
Medium Roast Caffeine Levels
It is a well-known myth that different coffee roasts have differing levels of caffeine. This statement is not true when taken on a volume basis. But the truth becomes a bit murkier when you measure coffee beans by weight.
That is because roasting also imparts mass to beans. Longer-roasted dark roast beans have more weight than medium beans, and medium-roast beans have more weight than shorter-roasted light roast beans.
So, if you measure your coffee beans by weight, you will get more caffeine out of your light roast beans. Why? Because light roast beans weigh less, you will have a higher number of beans in 1 pound of light roast than in 1 pound of dark roast.
Still, this difference in caffeine content is negligible. You may not notice a difference from one cup to the next, regardless of the roast.
So far, we have yet to talk about medium roast coffee flavors. That is because, when it comes to coffee beans, flavors are tricky.
While some people believe there are flavors that unite medium roasts, this is probably untrue. Instead, the soil of the region where the coffee grows has more to do with its flavor.
For example, coffee beans grown in Africa tend to have floral and fruity flavors. When you narrow it down to individual countries, Kenyan soil imparts more citrus and sweet berry notes, while Ethiopian coffee is almost exclusively citric.
Coffees grown in North or South America tend to have sweeter notes emphasized by flavors of chocolate and nuts. The Caribbean is unique for its smokey, wine-like coffee. And the soils in India, Asia, and the Pacific Islands tend toward earthier coffees.
The less roasted a coffee bean, the more these flavors shine through. The more roasted, the less flavorful a cup of coffee will be. At the same time, the more roasted, the more traditional bittersweet coffee flavors you will get.
That means light roasts will confer the most flavor, dark roasts the least, and medium roasts offer a middle ground of good natural flavor and bittersweetness.
How to Pick High-Quality Medium Roast Coffee Beans
Brewing an amazing cup of medium roast coffee hinges on picking the best coffee beans. Here are our top tips for picking a bag of high-quality coffee beans:
Look for the word "Arabica" on the bag because Arabica coffee beans are the highest quality beans on the market
Only buy bags with one-way oxygen valves to allow the beans to degas
Pick bags printed with the day the beans were roasted
The beans in the bag should be of similar size and color, and there should be very few broken beans in the bag
You can not always look into a bag of beans when you are buying online. That is why you should always shop for beans from high-quality suppliers like Gaztronomy to enjoy fresh, flavorful coffee no matter the roast.
Medium Roast Brewing Methods and Tips
The way you brew your medium roast coffee is often the difference between a velvety, flavorful cup of joe and a bitter, acidic coffee you'd rather pour down the drain. Luckily, there are many ways to brew your perfect cup:
Drip coffee, which includes pour-over coffees, Chemex coffees, and traditional coffee that comes from a machine
Pressed coffee, which includes French press coffees and AeroPress coffees
Percolated coffee, which includes Moka pot coffees
Another popular brewing method worth mentioning is the cold brew. Cold brewing coffee is a relatively new brewing method where you pour cold water over coffee grounds and let it brew at room temperature for 20 or more hours.
Because they are so middle of the road, medium roast beans lend themselves well to all of these brewing methods. The method you should use will depend on the flavors you want to extract from your beans.
For example, a pour-over or French press will bring out the medium roast's flavors of origin. Meanwhile, cold brewing your medium roast will mellow out the flavors into a smooth, almost sweet coffee you can drink black.
Now that you understand brewing methods, you are one step closer to that perfect cup of medium roast. But first, you need to understand these five additional factors that affect your coffee's quality and flavor.
Coffee beans definitely have an expiration date. As they age, they undergo a chemical process called oxidation. During oxidation, the flavors within the bean can change significantly.
Experts recommend that you should always use up your coffee beans within 1–2 weeks of opening the bag for the best flavor results. The older the age of your beans, the more bitter they can become.
How to Grind Your Beans
Most coffee experts do not recommend purchasing pre-ground beans. That is because brands typically pre-grind their beans for drip coffee. If you plan on making anything other than drip coffee, you need to grind your own beans.
The grind setting you use on your coffee grinder will vary by brew method. Espresso coffees are made from finely ground beans, medium-grind beans are great for drip and percolated coffee, and coarse-ground beans are best for pressed coffees and cold brews.
If you do not have a coffee grinder, we recommend investing in one. But when all else fails, bring your coffee to a local cafe and ask if they will grind your beans for you. And don't forget to leave a tip for the free service!
The Golden Ratio
The ratio of coffee grounds to water you should use varies depending on your taste buds. But the so-called "Golden Ratio" of coffee says to use six ounces of water per 1–2 tablespoons of grounds. That means that if you want to brew a 12-ounce cup of coffee, you should use 2–4 tablespoons of grounds.
If you prefer your coffee on the strong side, go with 2-3 tablespoons of grounds per six ounces of water. If you like your coffee like you like your tea (watered down), try 1/2–1 tablespoon of grounds per six ounces of water.
Water Temperature and Contact Time
It is a general rule that the lighter the roast, the hotter the water, and the more contact time the beans can handle. This is because the length of time and temperature of the water can impact the acidity and bitterness of your coffee.
If you are making drip coffee in a machine, the coffee maker will take care of the water temperature and contact time for you. The same is true of a Moka pot. You know your coffee is ready when the pot starts hissing.
If you are making a pour-over or pressed coffee, start with cold water and let it reach a boil. Take the water away from the heat and let it cool for 1 minute. Never pour boiling hot water on coffee beans, as this could strip the flavor.
Next, wet the grounds with a small amount of hot water. Allow the grounds to steep for about 1 minute before slowly pouring the remaining water over the grounds. For a pressed coffee, steep for 5–6 minutes before pressing.
What to Pair With Your Medium Roast Coffee
Medium roasts pair perfectly with cream and sugar. You can brew a cup of hot medium roast and add milk and regular table sugar. Or you could make a cold brew and add in maple syrup and coconut milk for a summery treat.
Yet, a medium roast is also perfectly sippable black. Drinking your medium roast sans cream and sugar can help you detect some of its flavors of origin. And the bold, medium-bodied mouthfeel will delight and satisfy your tastebuds.
The diverse flavor profile of a medium roast means it pairs well with both sweet and savory breakfasts. Medium roast coffees clear the palate during heavy meals. But they will also add some boldness to a light breakfast.
Here are some of our favorite breakfast pairings with a medium cup of joe:
Biscuits and eggs
Pancakes and bacon
A full English breakfast
Is your mouth watering yet? Then you've got to pick up a bag of medium roast coffee beans from Gaztronomy ASAP!
Get the Best Medium Roast Coffee Beans from Gaztronomy
Medium roast coffee beans are the perfect choice for people looking for balance. Medium roasts have that traditional bittersweet coffee quality. But they also maintain their natural flavors of origin.
Are you on a life-long hunt for the ultimate coffee bean? Your search is over. Buy Gaztronomy's Caffè Cartapani CINQUESTELLE on Amazon and see why this is one of the best medium roast!