If you’ve ever been to Starbucks, you’ve surely heard of their famous Bright Sky or Veranda Blend, both of which are made from Blonde roast coffee. Starbucks describes these coffee blends to have a “light-bodied and mild flavor,” giving you the impression that it’s “weaker” and less robust than dark roast coffee. However, avid coffee drinkers, including myself, don’t believe this to be the case. But is blonde roast less bitter?
Blonde roast coffee tends to be less bitter than darker roasts. This is because darker roasts burn more of the coffee bean which produces a robust and bitter flavor profile. Blonde roast coffee tends to have more acidity and a lighter coffee flavor.
In this article, you and I are diving deep into the world of Blonde roast coffee. Why is Blonde roast less bitter? Is it as mild, smooth, and flavorful as they say? Is it the coffee blend you’ve actually been searching for all your life? Let’s find out!
What Exactly is Blonde Roast Coffee?
The term “Blonde roast” first hit the mainstream when Starbucks USA released its Blonde roast blend on January 9th, 2018. They advertised it to people who “dislike the taste of strong coffee” but have “developed a need for caffeine every morning.”
Author Note: Starbucks claims that this is the first time in over 40 years that they’ve added a new kind of roast in their menu, so it took the world by a storm (for about a week or so until the excitement wore out).
Despite popular belief, Blonde roast coffee isn’t a concept unique to Starbucks. Before its reintroduction, Blonde roast was given the name “half-city” or “cinnamon roast,” both of which are defined as the exact same: the lightest degree of roast coffee beans can have.
Coffee bean fanatics described light roast as “dry and light brown in color,” wherein the beans barely reach an internal temperature of 400 degrees before pulling them out of the roasting process.
Light roast beans are removed from the machine before the first crack ends, giving them little to no time to develop much-needed surface oil. This likely explains why the beans are often so dry.
What Does Blonde Roast Taste Like?
Light roast beans aren’t especially popular outside of commercial coffee, even after Starbucks’ big release.
Many say that this is due to them having a somewhat off-putting taste; sour, acidic, with hints of nuttiness that “taste nice” but not great.
However, others believe that this type of roasting method retains the original flavor of individual coffee beans much better than that of dark roast. When properly brewed, you’ll be rewarded with a bright, clean, delicate taste with hints of floral and citrus notes.
Does this mean that Blonde roast is less bitter? Indeed, it does!
Generally, the darker the roast, the more bitter it is, and the more acidity it loses. Therefore, light roasts have more acidity but are way less bitter. They’re not as “in your face” as dark roasted coffee beans, making them the ideal type of roast for coffee drinkers who aren’t big fans of medium or dark roast.
Blonde roast beans generally don’t have the typical flavor profile of regular coffee, which is both a good and bad thing.
Author Note: On the one hand, avid coffee drinkers may find the taste a bit disorienting because it’s much different than medium or dark roast. It doesn’t have that caramel-like, buttery flavor that traditional coffee has, and it’s much brighter in taste.
However, it’s that same aspect that makes it exciting to drink. “It’s unlike anything you’ve ever tasted before,” light-roast fans claim. I’m a medium-roast type of person myself, but the first time I tasted Blonde roast, I didn’t hate it at all.
What About Its Caffeine Content?
Many believe that Blonde roast coffee beans have a higher caffeine content than regular medium or dark roasts.
“The lighter the roast, the more caffeine it has,” I’ve heard time and time again. Unfortunately, I have yet to find an in-depth answer to this question. However, it’s generally accepted that light roast coffee packs more caffeine when both are measured by equal volumes.
According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a 20-ounce Venti Blonde Roast coffee contains approximately 450 milligrams of caffeine, which exceeds the daily recommended caffeine count of 400 milligrams. In comparison, Pike Place Medium Roast coffee only has about 388.
Is Blonde Roast Healthier?
It depends. Is Blonde roast coffee healthier than other types of coffee? I wouldn’t say so. Is it healthier than dark or medium roast coffee? Sort of.
Author Note: Light roast coffee is believed to contain more antioxidants than medium and dark roast coffee, according to the article published by the Journal of Medicinal Food.
Research found that this type of brew contains higher amounts of chlorogenic acid, which reduces high blood pressure while increasing the body’s overall metabolism. Antioxidants, in general, protect us from multiple types of diseases, whether it be neurological or physical.
On the other hand, light roast coffee contains a significant amount of acidity. Dark roasted coffee is said to have a pH level of 5.9, while lightly roasted coffee has a pH level of 4.5. For reference, regular vinegar has a pH of 3.0. Overly acidic coffee causes several health conditions, including acid reflux, IBS, gastric ulcers, and the like.
Furthermore, assuming that light roast coffee indeed has a higher caffeine content than a dark roast, you may experience restlessness, anxiety, and irregular heartbeat much faster than if you were to drink regular coffee.
With that said, is Blonde roasts better (health-wise) than its counterparts? Not particularly. Does this mean you should avoid it entirely? No, not really! Despite the higher caffeine and acid count, I have reason to believe that it won’t affect you any more than any other type of coffee roast does.
In summation, Blonde roast coffee is indeed less bitter than regular medium or dark roast coffee.
A Blonde roast is generally lighter and less concentrated than a dark roast. Due to this, it doesn’t have a pronounced and robust coffee flavor. Regardless, it’s something you should try if you want to experience a milder and “cleaner” coffee taste.
Stay caffeinated friends!