What Is An American Roast? (Guide With Pictures)

Last Updated on May 13, 2022 by John Moretti

There are many different kinds of roasts of coffee, such as light roasts, medium roasts, and dark roasts, each with its unique flavor. An American Roast, in particular, has risen in popularity, and many Americans seem to prefer this type of roast more than the others. So, what is an American Roast?

An American Roast is a nickname for the medium roast of coffee beans. This roast is sweeter than the other roasts, with a more balanced flavor profile and less caffeine content. An American Roast is the perfect middle ground for coffee drinkers who prefer their coffee not to be too weak or strong. 

An American Roast is called an American Roast for a particular reason. There is a wide variety of popular coffee beans available that you can use to make an American Roast and then make different types of coffee with them. We will also explore how this roast differs from light and dark roasts and why many coffee drinkers prefer it over other roasts.

Why Is It Called An American Roast?

In the United States, most American coffee drinkers who make their daily trips to coffee shops choose the medium roast for their coffee, and households mainly buy medium roasted coffee beans to make their own coffee at home. The medium roast’s popularity in America is the reason it is called an American roast. 

What Is An American Roast?

An American Roast is medium roasted coffee beans. The coffee beans get roasted at 410-445°F, then removed several minutes after hearing the first crack of the bean to prevent the natural oils from surfacing, which affects the coffee beans’ flavor, acidity, and aroma. The result is medium to full-bodied coffee beans, which are medium brown. 

What Coffees Can You Make With An American Roast?

Photo of 3 images of different coffee

As a medium roast, the coffee beans are rich in flavor yet balanced and have a sweeter and nuttier taste than the other roasts. With its balanced flavor profile, this roast is perfect for making different kinds of coffees. A few of the coffees made with this roast are listed below:

  • Latte: A latte is a coffee drink originating from Italy. This coffee is made with ground coffee beans to make the espresso with steamed milk poured through it. 
  • Cappuccino: A cappuccino is a coffee-based drink originating from Austria. It is made from steamed milk and espresso, topped with milk foam. 
  • Filter Coffee: Filter coffee is coffee that has been made by pouring hot water over ground coffee beans which then seeps through the filter placed in a coffee machine into a cup or jug.

Popular Coffee Beans Used For Making An American Roast

To make an American Roast, you can choose among the several popular coffee beans. Although these coffee beans are grown in different countries, they are very similar in flavor, acidity, and aroma when roasted. Below is a list of the most popular coffee beans you can use to make an American Roast: 

1. Guatemalan Antigua Coffee Beans

Guatemala Antigua coffee beans have a complex flavor profile and are America’s most popular coffee beans. These coffee beans have a medium body with a sweet and nutty flavor as it has strong hints of chocolate and caramel. 

2. Mexican Altura Coffee Beans

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These Coffee beans are grown in the mountains of Mexico. Mexican Altura coffee beans are also medium to full-bodied. The flavor profile is mild and sweet with a nutty taste.   

3. Sumatra Coffee Beans

These coffee beans are grown in Indonesia. Sumatra coffee beans have an earthy and nutty flavor with a sweet tone of chocolate.  

How Does An American Roast Differ From Light And Dark Roast?

An American roast is different from the other roasts, such as light roast and dark roast in many ways. Below explores the differences between an American Roast and the other two roasts. 

The Difference Between An American Roast and Light Roast

Ohoto of medium roast and light roast coffee

With Light roasts, the roasting temperature is 385°F which is lower than an American Roast. The coffee beans get removed from the heat after hearing the first crack, whereas they get removed a few minutes later with an American roast. The color differs as well. Lightly roasted coffee beans are light brown instead of medium brown.

Unlike an American Roast, which has the origin character taste of the coffee beans and the roast flavor, lightly roasted coffee beans maintain the full origin character taste of the coffee as they are underdeveloped both in sweetness and roast flavor.

Lightly roasted coffee beans are also more acidic than an American Roast as they have not had enough time to caramelize in the roasting process. 

Although lightly roasted coffee beans are smaller and don’t have a fuller body than an American Roast, they definitely pack a punch with their higher caffeine content. 

The Difference Between An American Roast And Dark Roast

Photo of Medium roast and dark roast coffee

With dark roasts, roasting the coffee beans is done at a higher temperature of 464-473°F. The roasting process continues until hearing the second crack, and the coffee beans reach a dark brown/black color.  

This roast allows the natural oils of the coffee beans to rise to the surface. The origin character taste of the coffee bean is absent with dark roasts as the longer roasting time and additional exposure to heat create a more robust roast flavor instead. With an American Roast, the oils remain within the coffee beans to preserve the original taste of the coffee beans. 

The acidity is mild with an American Roast, as the sugars have had time to caramelize, allowing the coffee beans to have a sweet and nutty flavor profile. In contrast, dark roasted coffee beans have a bittersweet and caramel-like taste with zero acidity present.

Why Is An American Roast Preferred Over The Other Roasts? 

Many Americans prefer this roast over light and dark roasts for many reasons. With an American roast, these sweet and nutty coffee beans are balanced in flavor, aroma, and acidity, which seems to satisfy the palate of many coffee drinkers. This roast lets you enjoy both the origin character taste of the coffee beans and the roast flavor in a single cup of coffee with the perfect dose of caffeine. 


Although there are different kinds of roasts of coffee, medium roast remains the preferred roast by many coffee drinkers in the United States and has earned the nickname American Roast for its popularity. We have explored what an American Roast is and the types of coffees we can drink or make with this roast. 

Additionally, to make an American Roast, several popular coffee beans are available to choose from with incredible flavor profiles. We have also discovered how different this roast is in color, size, flavor, aroma, and acidity compared to the light and dark roasts, which has allowed this roast to become a favorite over the other roasts.