Coffee Roasts Names (Their Meaning And Flavor Profiles)

Have you ever wondered why coffee beans have fancy names that denote the type of roast? During the process of roasting coffee, the temperature and time determine the level of roast.

The roast level determines the characteristics and flavor profile of the beans.

Over the years, coffee lovers have crafted fancy coffee roasts names to identify beans of each roast level. Let’s look at these names, the type of roast that they indicate, and the flavor profiles.

We shall also cover the origin and the meaning of these coffee roast names.

Coffee Roast NameBean CharacteristicsFlavorsType of RoastRoast Temperature
Blonde Roast, Light City, Half City, Cinnamon Roast,
New England

-Light-body, smooth and soft
Light roast356°F-401°F
American, Breakfast, City+, City Roast-Dry

-Heavier body than light roast
-Balanced acidity and sweetness
Medium roast410°F-435°F
Full City, Full City+-Patches of oil
-Dark brown to black

-Less sweetness
-Less acidity
-Slightly bitter
-Chocolaty notes
Medium-dark roast437 – 454°F
Vienna Roast, French Roast, Italian Roast, Spanish, Neapolitan, New Orleans Roast-Shiny
– Dark black

-Smokey and burnt taste
Dark roast462 – 474°F
A chart of the fancy coffee roasts names

Origin Of The Coffee Roasts Names

Let’s take a deeper look at these fancy coffee roasts names to understand how they came about

Name of Coffee RoastOrigin/Meaning
CinnamonDenotes the color of the coffee that is brewed with lightly roasted beans
Blonde RoastRefers to the light-brown color of a light roast coffee
Half/Light CityRefers to the lower spectrum of the “City” profile
New EnglandThe North-Eastern region of the US where light roast was a favorite
Breakfast RoastA medium roast that is more on the lighter side. Popularised by Starbucks as a milder and lighter coffee that is less intense
American RoastNamed after the US where the roasting style is popular
City/City PlusMedium roast named after the city of New York. The City roast profile includes half/light roast, city/city plus, and full city roasts
After DinnerA medium roast that is touted to promote digestion and concentration after a heavy dinner
New OrleansNamed after the New Orleans city in America where the medium-dark roast is popular
Full City plusThe darker side of the City profile
French RoastThe name first appeared in the 1800s to describe the type of roast that was widespread across Europe
Vienna/VienneseNamed after the city in Austria where this type of dark roast was common
SpanishDark roast named after Spain
NeapolitanA dark black roast associated with the City of Naples, Italy
Italian RoastA very dark roast that was popular in Italy
A chart matching the names of coffee roasts to their origin or meaning

The Confusion About Cinnamon Roast

Initially, there was a misconception that the cinnamon roast yields coffee that has cinnamon flavors. To avoid this misunderstanding, companies such as Starbucks dropped the cinnamon name from their promotions and instead popularized the light to medium roasts under the blonde roast coffee tag.

Therefore, although may have notes of cinnamon the cinnamon roast denotes the cinnamon-like color of the brewed coffee as opposed to flavor.


The type of coffee roast is usually described as either light, medium medium-dark, or a dark roast. However, it is not rare to encounter the fancy coffee roast names whether it’s at a coffee shop or on the label of the coffee beans.

This article helps you to identify the type of roast and the characteristics of the roast that the fancy name is referring to. You may also refer to this article when roasting green coffee beans at home to see whether you can identify the different stages of your roast.

Generally, the European-inspired names refer to the darker roast levels whereas, the roast names originating from the US refer to the medium and lighter roast levels.


Patrick is first a coffee lover and then a trained barista. His bucket list includes sky diving and sipping on Java in the Himalayas.

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