There is a human tendency to codify and oversimplify everything we see and do. Coffee roast levels, which we will discuss in this post, come in a wide range of degrees (often referred to in the industry as Agtron) which, when codified into categories such as ‘Medium’ and ‘Dark’, wind up not meaning very much.
When browsing the coffee isle in a supermarket, you’ll find a number of brands with ‘Medium Roast’ on their packaging or ‘Ground for Filter’/’American Coffee’. If you open the packages and compare, you’ll find colours ranging from light brown to black and particle sizes from coarse to medium-fine. These disparities essentially stem from this habitual desire to oversimplify. While such classification is at times essential for systems to work, it runs the risk of undermining the skill and complexity behind the work.
In the specialty coffee industry, there is a consensus among many that mentioning the roast level is superfluous. You roast to bring out the best in the bean, with results tending to fall within the Medium-Light and Medium+ categories. While we believe in this approach, you may have noticed that we mention the roast level on our offerings. We feel that this offers new customers a reference point at which to start and then navigate through our beans. To avoid some of the limitations such categorising places on us, however, we decided to add an additional category on our packaging: ‘Medium +’.
Roasting coffee is a craft. The roaster plays a critical role in how the bean will taste in your cup. Pre-heating (how hot/charged the drum is), batch size (how much to roast) and charge temperature (the temperature at which you start the roast) are among the crucial basic variables we determine prior to roasting, and these will largely depend on the equipment being used and intrinsic qualities of the green beans. Throughout the roast, there are other variables to then manipulate and control levels of acidity, nuttiness, sweetness and, inevitability, several ways to make mistakes and introduce unwanted flavours. We can roast the same bean, for example, to the exact same level (i.e. colour) but you will taste markedly different coffees and flavours. This comes down to style more than roast level.
Our signature roast ‘Medium+’ aims to bridge the gap between simply referring to roast level: it is effectively a style which falls between the ‘Medium’ and ‘Medium-Dark’ levels. It should only be used as a reference point, especially for our new customers. As we have seen, it is no easy task reducing this complex and largely scientific process to just a roast level, but at the end of the day we want this to be as consumer-friendly as possible while still protecting the craft behind the roast.
In terms of flavours, you can expect a dominant sweet nutty and chocolatey profile with a smooth complexity from the terroir. We want you to appreciate the complex intrinsic flavours within the beans that we source, while remaining within the more customary and traditional taste profile in Jordan. If you are a vibrant espresso fan, this would also be up your street!