September 30

The Different Coffee Roast Levels

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Are you drinking the wrong coffeeIt’s not you who has been misinformed about roast levels.

Light roast is now a thing. This is not only for those who don’t like the taste of strong coffee, but also for those who prefer a light roast to their morning coffee. There are many options now than ever!

These lighter roasts allow you to have your cake while still enjoying it. These coffees are sure to please any palate, no matter how the beans are roasted.

What are they, and which one is the best?

We’ll show…

  • Modern light roast coffees are better tasting and more enjoyable
  • There are big differences in specialty roasts: light, medium and dark.
  • Why you won’t buy french roast beans ever again
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After we are done, you will have all the information that you need to navigate this new world of specialty coffee-roasting.

What is the reason coffee roast levels are changing? This is what you should do!

When it comes to coffee roast naming, there is very little standardization. You can buy a lighter roast at the grocery store, but it will likely be darker than what specialty coffee roasters sell.

One roaster’s dark roast is different from another’s light. It can be confusing.

Here are the reasons it is happening…

  • The quality of coffee beans is improving. Coffee beans with extraordinary flavors are becoming easier to find as farmers are better.
  • Coffee roasters don’t have the obligation to hide bad flavor. Dark roasts can mask lower-quality flavors like leathery or musty aromas. But, with coffee quality on the rise, this is no longer necessary.
  • Lighter roasts are more complex and have better flavor. Roasters can now roast lighter beans without getting terrible flavors. They’re also discovering new ways to highlight wild, unique flavors in high-quality beans.

This means that the light -> medium -> scale can be moved to a lighter area while still improving flavor.

It’s good, even though it is confusing. It means that coffee is getting better tasting every day!

But wait – Which One Has the Most Caffeine?

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My upbringing taught me that dark roast coffee has the highest amount of caffeine and is therefore “strong”. This was mostly misinformation and guesswork.

In fact, 50g dark roast coffee and 50g light roast coffee contain roughly the same amount. Regardless of the roast level, measuring by weight (mass), will give you the exact same amount of caffeine.

This caffeine myth has a clear origin.

Because light roast beans are denser than dark roast beans they contain slightly more caffeine. Because dark roasts are more dense, each bean contains slightly less caffeine.

The density of the beans is not taken into account when measuring volume (volume), which is why this myth was born. One scoop of light beans can contain 70 mg of caffeine while one scoop may yield 65 mg.

You can see that 5 scoops a light roast has slightly more caffeine than 5 spoons of dark roast. It doesn’t matter what roast level you use – it all comes down to the measurement.

Light Roast Coffee

Light roast coffee has a light brown color, and no oil on the beans. These coffees are known for their crisp acidity and bright flavor.

These coffees are roasted to retain the unique characteristics. They can produce many different flavors and aromas if the beans are well-grown, processed and roasted.

Specialty coffee professionals love light roasting for the unique flavor it brings out coffees. They emphasize the unique characteristics of coffee’s origin more strongly than any other style of roasting.

The internal temperature of light roasted coffee is often between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. These beans rarely reach “first crack”, which is when the vapors in the beans break through the outer walls and make a “cracking sound.”

You can also call them cinnamon, light city, or half city.

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Medium Roast Coffee

Medium roast coffee has a brown color, and rarely has oily surfaces. Medium roast coffees are medium in acidity and body. They also have a balanced flavor profile.

This roasting level preserves many of coffee’s unique flavors, but also allows for the deeper caramel sweetness that comes with a longer roast. These coffees are well-balanced, well-rounded, and slightly darker and more sweet.

Light roasts may lose some of the most vibrant notes, but this is a trade-off to get more balance.

Medium roasts are preferred by specialty coffee roasters because they are easier to drink than lighter roasts. Medium roasts are less intense and acidic, but can still showcase the coffee’s natural flavor.

Medium roast coffees are between 400-430 degrees Fahrenheit. They are usually roasted slightly beyond the first crack mark, but not to the full extent of second crack.

Other names are: American roast, regular roast, and city roast.

Other Coffee Roast Levels

French roast, Italian roast, continental roast and espresso roast are all darker than dark. These coffees are black as night, and they are oily on their surfaces.

These coffees have no trace of their origin. They taste like ashy, burned coffee for the most part.

The beans are never roasted this dark by specialty roasters. It would be a waste to have great tasting coffee. This is why we don’t recommend you buy coffee roasted so dark, unless you like the flavor of liquid charcoal.

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  • Darker-roasted coffees have fuller body with robust, bold taste
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coffee, coffee beans, coffee roast, dark roast, french roast, light roast, medium roast, roast


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