Vienna/Viennese roast coffee is a type of dark roast that is lighter than the french roast. It has a heavy body, noticeable slight bitterness, and low acidity. The beans are slightly oily and dark to dark-reddish brown in color. Some consumers describe the Vienna roast as having notes of dark chocolate.
Similar to all types of coffee roasts, different roasteries use different parameters such as temperature to come up with their roasts. A Viennese roast from one roastery can be in the medium-dark roast level whereas a Viennese roast from another roastery can be in the darker roast level.
Consequently, when buying coffee beans you are better off focusing on the characteristics of the beans rather than the name of the roast. Check the flavor profile, the acidity, the oiliness, and the origin of the beans.
Smoky notes and higher bitterness with no sweetness is characteristic of darker roasts than the Vienna roast.
Vienna Roast vs Medium Roast
Vienna roast coffee has very little acidity, a heavy body, and the bitterness is slightly more than the sweetness. The beans are a bit shiny and oily, light-weight, and fragile.
On the other hand, a medium roast is brighter, well-rounded, and balanced in sweetness and acidity. The beans are dry with no oil, harder and denser than the Viennese roast beans.
Vienna roast is more suitable for pulling espresso whereas a medium roast suits filter coffee because it accentuates the special tastes and aroma of the coffee.
What is the Best Way to Use Vienna Roast?
Vienna roast coffee has lost most of its moisture during roasting and is, therefore unlike lighter roasts such as the blonde roast, easy to grind with consistency. Prolonged roasting also makes the Vienna roast more soluble hence suitable for pulling espresso.
Adding milk to Vienna roast coffee softens its bitter overtones leading to a smooth drink. Viennese roast is also a great choice for cold-brew coffee.
Read our comprehensive post about blonde roast coffee.
Vienna roast is one of the hardest roasts to make: you roast the beans to a dark level just enough to develop a little bitterness and pull them out of the roaster before they acquire the smoky flavors. This roast level is in-between the Full City plus and the French roast.
The Viennese roast is less popular than the French and Italian roasts but yields much better coffee than the two.