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Can You Use Medium Roast For Your Espresso?

If you think dark roast is the only way to go to make a beautiful espresso then I’m sorry to tell you otherwise. After playing around with my espresso for a while, I found medium roast perfect for my preferences, and let me tell you why.

Can You Use Medium Roast For Espresso?

You can definitely use medium roast for espresso, this will make a smoother and fruitier type of espresso that you might be a fan of. Just make sure you pull the shot for 40 to 60 seconds and play around with the pressure points of your espresso machine if you have to.

Using medium coffee beans for your espresso is done more often than you think and there’s nothing wrong with it.

I’ve preferred medium roast for my espresso for a while now and I think it just tastes better. 

It tastes lighter than dark roasts and has a fruitier taste. Medium roasts often are described as sweet, chocolatey, and smoother coffees. I personally love the Kenya AA Medium Roast from Volcanica Coffee, which I have been using for a while now!

But at the end of the day, it all comes down to preference. Some people like their traditional rich flavorful dark roasts, while others prefer a medium-dark or medium roast.

But what really matters here is the grind and extraction of your espresso machine. You can use whatever roast you want but if your grind and extraction aren’t that good, then your espresso won’t taste great either. A burr grinder like the OXO Brew Burr Grinder is cheap and has consistent grinds from fine to coarse!

So always make sure you have a very fine consistent grind, no matter what roast you go for.

What Is The Best Roast For Espresso?

Here is the big question; What’s the best roast for espresso?

And the answer can be as complicated as you make it.

Traditionally espresso is made with dark roasted beans, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option when you know there are a lot more roasts out there such as:

  • Light
  • Medium
  • Medium-Dark
  • Dark

But can all of these be used to make espresso? The answer is YES but they all will bring different types of flavors.

Let’s have a look at why…

Light Roast for Espresso

If you want to make espresso using a light roast you’re in for a treat if you like fruity flavors.

Making espresso with a light roast requires higher ratios such as 1:2.5 to 1.3, with a higher temperature and preinfusion and an extraction between 40 to 60 seconds work best in my opinion.

This creates a lively acidity, fruit, florals, sweetness, and NO bitterness. It’s quite fascinating how espresso can change this much with a few changes and it’s why I love experimenting with it.

One of my favorite experiments was comparing 9 BAR to 6 BAR Espresso.

Medium Roast for Espresso

Medium roasts are a bit easier to extract and tend to keep their fruity flavors and aromas.

This is actually my favorite roast to pull an espresso shot with. I use the same ratios as with light roast and the same 40 to 60 seconds extraction time.

This ends up in a smooth yet quite acidic espresso shot If you’re into that then I definitely recommend trying one!

Medium-Dark Roast for Espresso

This roast is popular due to its nice, bitter flavor that a lot of people are looking for in their cup of joe.

If you love a traditional espresso then I’m almost certain you will like this type of roast as they’re very similar.

You will get hints of smokey flavors and the acidity is of course much lower than in a medium or light roast. This is perfect if you find dark roasted espresso just a bit too bitter but you don’t want something smooth either.

Dark Roast for Espresso

The traditional roast for espresso, and it has been for a while is of course dark. This is most people’s favorite type of espresso, simply because it’s the standard.

This type of roast brings rich and bitter flavors to espresso, but can also taste quite charcoal and smokey as dark roasts look burned.

Pick The Right Type of Coffee Beans

Besides the type of roast, it’s in my opinion also important to know where your beans come from.

From my experience, 100% Arabica beans taste much better for espresso than Robusta, but Robusta coffee beans will end up giving more crema.

Arabica is also the most popular type of bean and is known to make the best coffee, so don’t sleep on your type of bean!

Do Roasted Coffee Beans Expire?

Unfortunately, all beans have to come to an end.

All roasted coffee beans expire usually expire about a year after the date the beans were roasted on.

As coffee is composed of various degradable compounds that break over time, your only way to save them is by using them in time.

Once you open the bag you’ll want to use them kind of as soon as possible. In my opinion, fresh beans are the best so I like to buy smaller bags to prevent them from going bad.

There aren’t any preservation methods that won’t alter the taste of your coffee beans, so make yourself a coffee right now and enjoy it.

Does Medium Roast Have More Caffeine than Dark Roast?

Besides the change in flavor, aroma & color of the coffee beans, lighter roasts DO have more caffeine in them than dark roasts.

But these are quite minimal changes. It’s not like a medium roast will have a significant amount more caffeine than dark roasts. Only slightly more, now if you do want that extra kick in the butt then why not make a light-roasted espresso.

The Bottom Line

Medium-roasted coffee beans can definitely be used to make espresso. If you like a smoother type of espresso then give medium or even light roast a try.

Just be sure to extract your espresso for a longer time and maybe even use a different pressure.

Besides that, enjoy your fruitier espresso and experiment with it. Making espresso is all about preferences.

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