The guys smiling in the above photo (Ric Rhinehart of the SCAA on the left and Aleco Chigounis of Stumptown Coffee Roasters on the right) know a thing or two about coffee roasting science and how it is most commonly applied to the Coffee Flavor Wheel. If you want to smile like this due to your coffee knowledge, read on for some quick tips.
(If you need a Coffee Flavor Wheel, download it here.)
Medium Roast is most associated with:
Sugar Browning By-Products: aromatic compounds that are the result of the sugar browning (caramelization) reactions occurring during the roasting process principally composed of aldehydes, keytones, sugar carbonyl compounds and pyrazine compounds, and commonly found in the wet aroma of freshly brewed coffee.
Look for: Vanilla, Butter, Toast, Caramel, Chocolate, Almond, Peanut, Walnut. byproduct
Dark Roast is most associated with:
Dry Distillation By-Products: aromatic compounds that are the result of dry distillation (burning) reaction of the bean fiber occurring during the roasting process principally composed of heterocyclic compounds, nitriles, and hydrocarbons commonly found in the vapors sensed retro-nasally after the coffee has been swallowed.
Look for: Cedar, Clove, Pepper, Coriander, Black Currant, Malt, Maple, Pipe Tobacco.
(Source: Coffee Quality Institute)