An Expert Guide to Choosing Your Perfect Coffee Roast - West Coast Food

By Jenni Sheppard

Whether you yearn for a single strong cup of coffee to start your day or you’re a caffeine addict who loves touring espresso cafes, we have one question for you–which coffee roast do you prefer? The answer might not be as simple as you think.

Around Metro Vancouver, it’s fair to say we’re spoiled for choice with so many specialist coffee shops and roasters around town. One of these is Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters, a coffee bean roastery and tasting bar in Surrey, BC.

Spent Grounds focuses solely on hand-crafted, hand-poured coffee that is freshly roasted weekly at their facility. To learn more about how to choose the perfect coffee roast, we spoke to Spent Grounds owner, Karen Lopez.

What kind of coffee roasts do you produce?

“We have light, medium and dark roasts available by the cup or by the bag. The Ethiopian is roasted light to bring out the fruity notes, the Guatemalan is roasted to a medium to balance the fruity and chocolate notes and the Colombian is roasted dark for the rich chocolate properties.”

What makes each coffee roast different?

“Many variables cause these different characteristics. The way the bean is processed (washed versus a natural process), the elevation the beans are grown at (higher acidity in beans grown at higher elevations) and the terroir (the type of soil they are grown in).

“The degree to which they are roasted also affects the characteristics. Roasting an Ethiopian natural really dark will kill the fruity characteristics of the bean.”

Why should people care about their coffee roast?

“Traditionally, people have only been exposed to dark roasted coffee from big chains and only know a bitter taste. Tasting a light or a medium roast is a different experience because you can actually taste the different notes that the coffee has.

“Dark coffee masks the true flavours. Tasting coffee and picking out the flavour notes is like tasting wine. Dark roasts makes that hard to do.”

Image courtesy of Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters

What’s the biggest myth about coffee roasts?

“One big myth that most people believe is that a light roast has more caffeine than a dark, or vice versa. The truth is that caffeine content remains stable throughout the roasting process – it doesn’t get roasted out of the bean. So light and dark roasts contain the same amount of caffeine. I have at least one person a day come in to the shop requesting a light or dark roast based on this myth.”

What is your favourite coffee roast?

“My ‘go to’ coffee is a medium organic Guatemalan. It’s well balanced and a coffee that you can have without adding cream. It’s not bitter or acidic.”

Image courtesy of Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters

Spent Grounds Coffee Roasters is located at 108-19140 28 Avenue in Surrey, BC. They are open 8 am to 3 pm, Monday to Friday, and 9 am to 4 pm on Saturday. Closed on Sunday.

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