In a Dark Roast, the coffee beans are roasted a few minutes longer than a Medium-Dark Roast, until the beans begin to smoke as the sugars begin to carbonize.
Some origins will develop better into a dark roast than others, due to the makeup of the chlorogenic acids and other compounds in coffee, which vary based on soil conditions and the climate.
Our recommendations for the Top 5 Best Dark Roast Coffees are:
- Tanzania Peaberry (overall)
- Sumatra Mandheling (dark, robust flavor - low acid)
- Ethiopian Yirgacheffe (heavy body, sweet flavor)
- Colombian Supremo (smooth - low acid)
- Guatemala Antigua (spicy and chocolatey)
Characteristics of Dark Roast Coffee
Dark roasted coffee beans are dark brown chocolate in color, sometimes almost black. The coffee beans become soaked with oils and appear very oily on the surface. The coffee's oils also glisten or shine in the cup of brewed coffee.
In a dark roast, the coffee's natural flavors are almost totally eclipsed by the roasting process, dominating the taste and masking the beans' origin flavors which reflect the origin of the coffee plant as well as the climate and soil of the region where the coffee was grown.
Roasting's Effect on Coffee Acidity
Dark Roasts often taste smoky-sweet or perhaps exhibit a bittersweet flavor, sometimes even burnt tasting and with little to no acidity (roasting coffee decreases acidity).
Best Coffee Drinks for Dark Roasts
The heavily caramelized sugars and compounds in a dark roast enable it to shine through in milk-based coffee and espresso drinks. This is why latte and macchiato style drinks at cafes and restaurants are made using espresso - the robust flavor is better able to cut through the dairy (or dairy-alternative) component.
Synonyms for Dark Roast
Dark roasts have many different names, depending on what country and culture you're in. Some of the more common ones are:
- Black-Brown Roast
- Continental Roast
- Dark French Roast
- Double Roast
- Espresso Roast
- European Roast
- French Roast
- Heavy Roast
- Italian Roast
- Italian Espresso Roast
- Neapolitan Roast
- New Orleans Roast
- South Italian Roast
- Spanish Roast
- Turkish Roast
- Very Dark-Brown Roast
- Vienna Roast
Coffee and Espresso Brewing Tips
For tips on brewing the perfect cup of coffee see our section on coffee brewing. You can also read detailed coffee flavor profiles of gourmet coffee and instructions on preparing Espresso Drink Recipes.
We also provide you with the instructions on Pulling A Perfect Espresso Shot as well as How to make a Latte.
For detailed definitions of coffee terminology see the Coffee Terms. Also check out the World's Best History of Coffee.
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