Light vs. Medium vs. Dark Roast Coffee: Which is Best for You?

Did you know around 64% of Americans consume coffee every day? This leads to the consumption of over 400 million cups of coffee in a day! The coffee that you drink and savor every morning goes through a roasting process before reaching you. During this process, the color of the coffee beans starts changing from green to dark brown.

Image: associatedcoffee

Coffee can be classified into three major categories based on the extent of roasting done and the temperatures at which the process is carried on.

Light Roast

If you’re looking at a coffee with a lighter brown shade no oil on the surface and a light body, you have the Light Roast Coffee in front of you. Most people believe light roast coffee contains the least caffeine. However, the truth is exactly the opposite. The more the beans are roasted, the more caffeine cooks out of them.

Light roast coffee has the highest acidity as it retains most of the original characteristics of coffee as well as the maximum amount of caffeine. Whether light or dark roast, Robusta beans have a higher caffeine content than Arabica beans. Caffeine has several health benefits, as it can boost fat burning, protect your liver, and reduce the risk for Parkinson’s disease and Type 2 diabetes. Apart from caffeine, coffee also contains antioxidants and other active substances that protect against various diseases.

Image: lybrate

In light roast, the coffee beans are left in the roasting process for a very short duration, making them denser with moisture inside. The coffee beans are taken to a temperature of around 350-400 degrees. The popping sound at around 350 degrees is known as the “first crack” and is an indication that the coffee beans have reached the light roast level.

Light roast coffee is also known as light city roast, New England roast, or cinnamon roast.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffees have a thicker body and are brown in color, with a little darker shade than light roast. It is a result of roasting until the second crack, which usually takes place at 400-440 degrees. Medium roast also does not have any oil on the surface of the beans. Even if it has, it’s quite rare as the oil has just started to surface from the beans.

Though medium roasted coffee loses some bright floral flavors, they still have a more balanced flavor than light roast and the aroma and acidity are between the light and dark roast coffees. The level of roasting for medium roast coffees preserves the unique flavors of the coffee.

Medium roast is also referred to as American roast, breakfast roast, or city roast.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffees are dark brown in color and can even be almost black. They develop an oily surface at this stage. Coffee made from dark roast is often full-bodied and is roasted for the longest time and at higher temperatures than light and medium roast coffees. Dark roast coffees have lost the most moisture, are less dense, and have a bitter taste. The caffeine level is the least in dark roast coffees. The original flavor is lost due to the longer roasting process, but it takes more flavor from the roasting process.

Dark roast coffees are roasted to a very high temperature of more than 440 degrees or till the end of the second crack. The coffee starts tasting like charcoal if it is roasted at temperatures higher than 465 degrees.

Some other names of the dark roast include French roast, Italian roast, New Orleans roast, continental roast, or even espresso roast.

Some people prefer an even darker coffee than the dark roast, which is called French Toast. This is just a small step away from the beans being completed burned.

When preparing your favorite cuppa from roasted beans, remember that coffee is always measured by weight, rather than by volume. This is because coffee beans puff up with air as they are roasted. This is why light roasts have a lower volume than dark roasts of the same weight. Whether light, medium or dark roast, coffee is loved across the world, which is why around 120 million bags of coffee are produced globally every year.

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