On the shelves of your grocery store and the menu board of your local coffee shop, there are probably multiple types of coffee available. Every bean will make a different tasting cup, so it’s important to know what roast you want.
But what is the difference between coffee roasts? Light, medium, and dark roast refer to much more than the color of the beans. These types of coffee roasts can also tell you how the cup will taste, and even how much caffeine there is.
Light Roast Coffee
As the name implies, light roast coffee is roasted lightly. The goal of this roast is to enhance the natural flavor of the beans. Light roast coffee comes in a huge variety of aromas and flavors because it showcases the bean.
The lighter the roast, the more caffeine the coffee will have. The longer you roast the beans, the more caffeine and flavor burns off. A cup of light roast will give you a boost without compromising on flavor.
These roasts tend to be more acidic than darker roasts. The bean itself stays mostly intact during light roasting. The internal oils don’t reach the surface or burn away, so the coffee keeps those flavors.
Medium Roast Coffee
Medium roast coffee has a longer roast time than light, but shorter than dark. Medium roasts will be darker and richer than light roasts, but will still have more acidity than a dark roast.
This category has more variation than light or dark roasts. Light roasting stops after the first time the beans crack, and dark roasting stops after the second crack. Medium can be anywhere in the middle.
If you want less acid than a light roast but more caffeine and flavor than a dark roast, medium is the right roast for you. However, you should try various roasters to find a medium you like.
Vendors like ictcoffee.com make it easy to choose beans by location and roaster. That way you can choose your happy medium, or try a variety.
Dark Roast Coffee
The final roast type is dark roast coffee. This is a common roast because it helps remove bad tastes from lower-quality beans. Coffee is a notoriously sensitive plant, so subpar beans aren’t unusual.
The longer roast time brings out a nuttier, more chocolate flavor in the coffee, no matter what the original bean tasted like.
These beans are usually oily on the surface and are a much deeper brown color than a light roast. The coffee will also have much less acid, giving you a smoother taste.
Agricultural developments have made good quality coffee beans easier to grow. This cuts down on the undesirable tastes that roasters used to cook out of the beans. However, the extended roast time has benefits beyond hiding subpar beans.
Dark roast coffee has slightly less caffeine than light roast. While the flavor is further from the original bean, many people prefer this richer, deeper flavor profile.
Taste the Difference Between Coffee Roasts
Whether you prefer light or dark, knowing the difference between coffee roasts could be the difference between starting the day with your favorite cup of joe or starting on the wrong foot.
If this guide helped you pick your favorite bean, check out our other articles on food, drinks, and all things culinary!