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Know your coffee roast – Buying coffee beans in Japan

What coffee roast do you prefer? Do you usually get confused by this question at coffee shops here in Japan? Frankly speaking, I’m also pretty much a rookie when it comes to coffee roasts, let alone their Japanese counterparts. Let’s find out more about them together.Irish Festival

Baisen (焙煎) also is translated as “roasting”, but a katakana version of an English term (ロースト)  is regarded as a broader one.

In Japanese, there are 3 basic kinds of 焙煎:

Asairi (浅煎り) is a light roast. Cinnamon (シナモンロースト), American, Half City, and Light (ライトロスート) roasts belong to the light roast. It is more acidic, and allows to fully appreciate the taste of single origin coffee beans.

Chuuiri (中煎り) is a medium roast, also calledミディアム・ロースト This roast mutes the acidity of coffee, and its typical example is City Roast, シティ・ロースト(中深煎り),  Full Cityフルシティ・ロースト (中深煎り), and High Roast ハイ・ロースト (中煎り).coffee roastFukaiiri (深煎り) is a dark roast. Viennese, French (フレンチ・ロースト), and Italian イタリアン・ロースト (深深煎り). It is bittersweet, and the coffee beans lose almost all their regional characteristics.

While some labels have a picture to aid your comprehension of the roast (like the flames in the picture below), but some will not.

The country of origin also matters. The most popular coffee producing countries in Japan are Brazil (ブラジル), Vietnam (ベトナム), Colombia (コロンビア), Indonesia (インドネシア), Ethiopia (エチオピア), and Guatemala (グアテマラ).coffee roastYou will also need the following kanji:

香り (kaori) – aroma

コク (koku) – strongness, richness

酸味 (sanmi) – acidity, sourness

苦味 (kumi, nigami) – bitternesscoffee roastThey may be shown on the scale from the weakest to the strongest.coffee roastNaturally, I’m having a cup of freshly brewed coffee now. Today my coffee beans are from Kenya.

Have a great coffee time!

Article by Olga Kaneda

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