Many people like "Dark Roast" coffee because they've been conditioned to like it. Many people think Light Roast coffee is weak and not worth trying. All coffee roasts are delicious when the right criteria are meet and high-quality coffee is used. The roasting process is actually very complex and, in the hands of a master roaster, various roasting levels can all be absolutely amazing.
This is what green coffee looks like when we receive it from the country of origin. We store them at room temperature until we're ready to roast. The shelf life of green coffee is very long but we feel it's best to never let it sit for more than a few months.
Washed, green coffee looks exactly like this photo. Dry-processed or "natural" coffee often has a lot more chaff and can leave small chaff flakes in your hand when you pick it up.
Light roasted coffee is also known as New England roast. Light roast is often dropped during the first "crack" which is the point in the roast where the bean opens up to let the steam of roasted moisture escape. The smell at this stage is like freshly baked bread. The flavor is generally considered the best experience of the coffee itself without introducing much of the flavor of the roasting to it.
Medium roast is generally the most popular with coffee drinkers around the globe. It introduces more flavors from the roasting process and starts to caramelize the natural flavors found in the coffee bean. Generally, light roast coffee drinkers and dark roast coffee drinkers will both enjoy a medium roast which makes this the perfect coffee to purchase as a gift when you don't know what the recipient drinks.
Dark roast coffee is cooked to the point where a lot of the natural flavors move from inside the bean to the outside. They are roasted in the machine and caramelized. A perfectly roasted dark roast keeps a balanced amount of the natural flavors but also introduces dark, smokey tones. Dark roast should never taste burnt but, instead, should be deep, dark and heavy.