Vogue’s guide to choosing the right coffee grind and roast for you

Vogue’s guide to choosing the right coffee grind and roast for you

Buying coffee is no less complicated than choosing that perfect pair of jeans. One (grind) size doesn’t fit all and one person’s medium-light roast may be too light or too medium for another. That’s why, when you go to buy your next bag of coffee powder or full beans, go equipped with this list—a non-intimidating and detailed guide to picking the right kind of bean roast and grind for your brewing style. Two coffee experts spill the beans, quite literally.

Choosing the bean

Light: Light roasted coffee beans, as the name suggests, are light brown in colour. “The flavours are the most distinct at this stage, brighter and most acidic,” says Abhinav Mathur, CEO at Something’s Brewing. This kind of roast can be used to make any kind of brew—there are no restrictions. If you are someone who enjoys the subtle nuances of coffee and prefer it without any add-ons like sugar and milk, Mathur recommends this variety for you.

Medium: Slightly darker than the light roast, the acidity level goes slightly lower and the flavour becomes a bit more balanced. “This works great with filter-style brews and as a part of a blend for cold brews and espressos,” says Mathur. He says that this roast is ideal for those who enjoy a more balanced coffee with a bittersweet finish.

Medium-dark: Mathur says, “Somewhere in between the dark and medium roast, this one is brownish in colour, has nuances of milk chocolate, cocoa and other notes.” Medium-dark beans are slightly robust on the palate, with a subtle nuttiness. He suggests using these beans if you are into pressure brewers like moka pots or espresso . Medium-dark is preferred by those who enjoy bolder cups and want to have the option of diluting it with milk or sugar.

Dark: Like the name suggests, this is dark brown in colour and will have an oily residue on the surface, which is the best indicator of its roast levels. Mathur says, “The acidity of this particular roast is on the lower side, with a high body or mouthfeel. Dark roast is best with immersion brewing styles like a French press.” Go for this if you’re someone who enjoys notes like dark chocolate, nuts and cacao in your coffee. “You can cut off its strength with a dash of milk or sugar,” he says.

Choosing the grind

Extra-coarse grounds: This is one of the most potent kind of ground. “Here the beans are only lightly crushed and appear quite coarse. With some of the grounds, you can actually recognise the shape of the bean,” says Ashish D’abreo, founder-partner at Bengaluru-based Maverick & Farmer Coffee Roasters. He cautions that this grind is not a commonly used size for home brewers and works only with dark roasts, else the coffee will taste under-extracted, sour and weak. “Extra-coarse ground coffee is used for brewing coffee in a pan for a comparatively longer period of time, often referred to as the ‘cowboy method,’” he says.


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