The problem with roast degree descriptions is that there are (roughly) a million different systems. Most will know the light, medium, and dark designations. However, those are one part of the larger cinnamon, light, medium, medium-high, city/city-high, full-city, dark, and heavy classification. You may already be asking what do nouns for spices/places have to do with adjectives for weight/conditions? Yet, we are not done our litany of descriptors. The Nineties java-house frequently relied on the Viennese, Continental, French, and Italian titles. That system also includes a set of rarely used terms: New England, American, European-High, New Orleans, Neapolitan, and Spanish. To deal with all of these categorizations, Carl Staub invented the Agtron machine which correlates roast to a numerical scale. Along with the SCAA, he created a point guide that is great for roasters but it is likely rare that a customer requests a “forty-eight, please 😀”.
The end result of all of these semi-overlapping classifications is a confusing maze of terminology. If dark roasts are bold, does the mean light roasts are meek? If there are after-dinner and breakfast roasts?,what do you drink with lunch? How many words do we really need to describe raw beans or charcoal destruction?
Luckily at Cut, I have an easy solution: I ignore them! As outlined in previous dispatches, my goal in roasting is proper development. That means a sweet, rich, juicy, clean, and soluble cup that gives a window into the terroir of origin. Moreover, such qualities are dependent on inner bean development. I’ve had many coffees that look well-roasted but have the green sour or savory flavours of underdevelopment. In other words, the outer color of the bean is not a true indication of the end cup flavour.
tl;dr Cut Filters and Espresso are technically ‘medium-light/medium’ or ‘city/city plus’ or ‘American’ or ‘regular’ but each of my roasts focuses on proper development and is thus not dependent on an arbitrary roast scale but rather an individualized profile.