Do you take your morning cup of coffee light, medium, or dark? The choice at the market aisle is confusing; let’s admit it! If you don’t already know the roasts and their tastes, you’ll likely get your mind jumbled. In the end, you’ll pick the closest option to your hand and get out of there fast! So which coffee roast is best?
We think medium roast coffee is best. Medium roasted coffee beans still retain some of the bean’s natural acidity while benefiting from the caramel and chocolate flavors roasting imparts to the beans. Medium roast also has the median amount of caffeine in it.
No need to get confused – understanding coffee roasts is easier than you think. If you’re wondering which coffee roast is best for you, this article will help you.
The 5 Coffee Roast Levels Available on the Market
When buying coffee, you’ll find only five types on the market: light, medium, medium-dark, dark, and extra dark. Each roast results in a different taste and look than the others. Here’s an overview of each roast, so you’re able to choose your favorite well.
Light Roast Coffee Beans
Light roast beans are the lightest in color because they don’t spend much time roasting. As a result, the beans will come out without any oil on their surface, and they’ll have preserved their natural acidity. Not only that, but light roast beans also result in an authentic flavor, unaffected by the roasting.
Author Note: These beans get roasted at a 350–400 F degrees temperature. So, they barely reach the first crack, where the moisture inside the coffee beans merely breaks through the external wall. That’s why you won’t find traces of oil on the surface.
Light roasting causes the beans to preserve their aroma and flavor; that’s why, upon tasting it, you’ll feel the pure aftertaste that feels a bit bitter. Plus, the floral and fruity flavor notes of the light roast will hit your taste buds the second you take a sip.
If you want to taste coffee in all its glory without any extra taste, a light roast is your go-to option. It’s also a favorite of the coffee industry because it allows for vibrant flavors to be ingrained into the coffee. Besides, they keep the coffee’s taste intact, which typically allows for its characteristics to appear more vividly.
Medium Roast Coffee Beans
Medium roast is mostly known as the American roast. Although the other two types are widely consumed in the country, the medium roast got the exclusive naming because it’s used in American coffee.
Medium roast coffee beans have a brown color that’s a bit darker than light roast ones. Unlike light roast beans, you may find some oil on the surface. That’s because the beans roast for a while longer, causing the moisture to crack the outer wall and get out.
Although medium roast beans take a while roasting, they still preserve some of the coffee’s natural acidic flavor. The only difference between these beans and light roast ones is the subtle bitter taste that results from the roasting.
Coffee cups made of medium roast beans will have a balanced taste, contrary to that of light and dark beans. The acidic taste and bright floral tones will be eliminated after the roasting, but the toasty notes will compensate for it.
If you want a conventional coffee cup that tastes traditional, you may want to go for a medium roast. It contributes to a balanced drinking experience. It’s no wonder it’s the most used roast in the US since it’s at the center of the spectrum. It also tastes the smoothest and doesn’t have the strong acidity that may not appeal to mild drinkers.
Medium-Dark Roast Coffee Beans
The medium-dark roast may be the most uncommon type out of the five. It’s mostly called Vienna roast, and its beans have a dark brown color. Their surface is oily due to the long roasting process they go through. On top of that, the roasting taste dominates the beans, but there’s still a subtle taste of the original acidic flavor.
Medium-dark beans have bolder bodies, and they have a bittersweet taste. You’ll find them flavored with walnuts and chocolate most of the time.
If you’re looking for a taste bolder than medium and light roasts, but you don’t like the bitterness in dark roasts, this is the one for you. It’s made for people who want to get a balanced taste that has an edge to it.
Dark Roast Coffee Beans
Dark roast is known in the markets as Italian roast or French roast. It typically has the darkest color out of all types and the oiliest surface. These beans almost have no trace of the coffee’s original taste; it’s been masked by the deep roasting the beans go through.
Dark beans taste outright bold without any acidity in the taste. It all gets lost during roasting. That’s why the coffee is mostly paired with bittersweet flavors, such as brown sugar and chocolate. The manufacturers normally go for the flavors that won’t ruin the bold taste.
Author Note: Furthermore, dark roast beans go perfectly well with creams and dairy products because the vibrant, vivid taste won’t be affected. If you add milk to a light roast, the coffee taste will completely get masked, unlike dark roast.
If you like your coffee paired with cream, you’ll likely love the taste of dark roast coffee. It’s also suitable for people who love the deep flavor of dark roast beans.
Unlike light roast, dark roast coffee doesn’t allow for a lot of variations. That’s why you’ll only find one or two offerings of dark roast at coffee roasters. There isn’t much you could do with the deep-roasted beans.
Lastly, dark roast coffee has been the most used type for a long time because the roasting masks the taste of low-quality beans. That’s why people mostly roasted coffee to a deep grade, and it quickly gained worldwide fame.
Extra Dark Roast Coffee Beans
It’s hard to believe, but there are coffee roasts darker than dark roast. They aren’t that common, and they’re only sold in specific locations, but they’re real. For example, there are espresso roast, continental roast, and New Orleans roast. The three are too dark for coffee lovers.
Extra-dark beans have lost the coffee’s original taste entirely. The roasting taste masks the bitterness and acidity completely, resulting only in an ashy burning taste.
You’ll rarely find expensive beans in extra-dark roast offerings. No one would do that to high-quality beans! They’d be wasting a perfect patch of coffee beans to taste ash—literally!
Which Coffee Roast Has the Most Caffeine?
Most people think dark roast has the most caffeine. The misinformation is kind of justified since dark is on the spectrum’s end. However, it doesn’t work that way with coffee roasts. You may be surprised that a 3-ounce pack of dark roast beans will have the same amount of caffeine as a 3-ounce pack of light roast beans.
Here’s the thing, when measuring your beans by weight, you’ll get the same amount of caffeine, no matter which roast you have. Measuring them by volume will also get you the same result. That’s because the amount of caffeine depends on its density in the coffee bean, regardless of its weight.
The reason is simple; dark roast beans let more moisture out in the process, causing them to get smaller than light roast coffee. So, comparing two scoops, for example, will be unfair because it won’t consider the size difference. The scoop of the dark roast will have more beans than the light roast.
That’s also the reason the comparison won’t ever get accurate results. There’s simply no coffee roast with more caffeine. It depends on the number of beans you use in every cup. If you use the same amount of dark and light roast beans, the dark beans will likely have more caffeine because of the higher density.
Other Factors That Affect the Coffee Taste
The roast level isn’t the only factor that affects the coffee taste. There are a couple of other characteristics that’ll determine the taste you’ll be getting in your cup. If you want to get the best taste for your preference, you ought to take a look at the labels. That way, you’d know all the qualities of the beans you’re getting.
Here are the essential factors that affect coffee’s taste:
- Bean body
- Acidity level
Conclusion – Which Coffee Roast Is Best for You?
To wrap up, you must be asking yourself now, which coffee roast is best for you?
It’s pretty easy to determine once you understand all the roasts and their qualities. For starters, a light roast is suitable for people who love the coffee’s pure acidic taste. The beans don’t get roasted for long, so the natural taste is preserved without getting masked. If you’re aiming for that bitter aftertaste in your mouth, a light roast is a way to go.
Author Note: Meanwhile, medium roast is ideal for people who drink coffee daily. It gives a balanced taste that doesn’t mask the coffee’s pure taste. Plus, it goes well with or without cream.
Lastly, dark roast coffee is for people who don’t mind an edgy taste in their cup. The roasting results in a bit of ashy taste, eliminating the coffee’s acidity. So, it might be a good choice for people who love their coffee cup bold!
Stay caffeinated friends!