From Roasting: The Intensity Of The Coffee That You Sure (Still) Did Not Know

coffee intensity

Surely you have met on more than one occasion with people who confuse coffee roasting with the intensity of coffee. Baffled perhaps by their dark color, these people believe that a very toasted coffee will turn out to be a very strong, truly bitter coffee.  You can get more taste favors on Coffelifious. This is when the expert barista has to come on stage and politely explain to the customer that it is just the other way around: in very toasted coffees, the natural flavor of the grain is eclipsed by the new sensations and tastes generated during the roasting process, by what are less acidic You already knew, right? Go deeper with this and other myths about your favorite drink!

What roasting gives a purer and more intense coffee?

The light roast is the one that least modifies the original coffee bean. Because of this, lightly roasted coffee is a bitter coffee in which caffeine (responsible for said bitterness) does not go unnoticed at all. For some coffee growers, drinking a lightly toasted coffee is to drink a more authentic and pure coffee than those that are prepared with roasted beans.


In a medium-dark or dark roast, the roasting process modifies the beans in such a way that caffeine and coffee acidity are considerably reduced. There are customers who prefer these roasts because they give rise to very aromatic infusions, sweeter and smoked touches. The dark toastings provide a different intensity that is not related to bitterness but with a more complex flavor and full of nuances.

Medium roast coffee, on the other hand, has less caffeine than lightly roasted coffee but is more acidic than dark roast coffee.

Other factors that influence the intensity of coffee

But if you thought that everything was resolved by taking care of the coffee toasting, you were wrong. To serve a strong or soft coffee you have to pay attention to other processes such as grinding or its preparation:

Fine grinding

The process that turns the coffee bean into powder also has its importance to vary the intensity of the coffee. The coarse grinding facilitates the passage of water through the coffee in the filter, so the infusion leaves quickly, without retaining all the properties of the grain and being softer. On the other hand, the water does not pass so fast through a fine grinding, so the infusion will fall drop by drop, extracting all the properties and the essence of the coffee; therefore, the extracted coffee will be very bitter.

An example of strong coffee made from fine grinding is found in espresso coffee: to obtain it, water is passed at high pressure (between 5 and 15 bars) through a very finely ground coffee, thus making it taste full.

Preparation with little water

The intensity of a coffee also depends on the amount of water we use during its preparation. A strong coffee prepared with little water is ristretto coffee, a short espresso coffee that is extracted with half the water of the traditional espresso. Although reducing the water used to 50% gives us a more concentrated and intense coffee, the most knowledgeable assure that the acidity of the ristretto is not excessively high because only the first part of the extraction reaches the well. In contrast to short espresso or ristretto we would have long espresso coffee, which uses twice as much water as an espresso in its preparation and which, therefore, is softer. Another example of coffee prepared with a large amount of water is American coffee.

How to surprise a customer looking for soft coffees

If you know someone who especially likes the soft flavors (even when you have to drink coffee), you will surely conquer your palate by preparing a shade-grown coffee or coffee grown under shade.

Coffee trees grown in the shade of other trees (especially when it comes to the Arabica variety) give grains less acidic and with less caffeine. This is because the coffee bush is protected from the sun’s rays and the ripening of its grains is slower.

The shade under which the coffee is grown comes to condition both the aftertaste of its grain, which is one of the most important and careful issues when producing specialty coffee, that exclusive coffee that stands out for its unique flavor and aroma .

In addition, coffee cultivated in the shade respects biodiversity, so it is also the favorite of people concerned about the welfare of the environment.

The intensity of the coffee does not only depend on the toasting of the coffee? The infusion will be stronger or softer depending on the grinding and extraction, depending also on its preparation. It even influences if the coffee tree has been cultivated in the shade or in full sun!