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Light roast vs dark roast coffee

What’s the difference between how light roast coffee is made vs dark roast?

Light roast coffee beans are roasted to a lower temperature compared to dark roast beans - between approximately 200-205 C. They are typically roasted slower after the first crack, which is a stage in the roasting process when so much of the moisture content has been turned into gas that the cell structure of the beans break and they expand, resulting in a  cracking sound. This typically occurs at around 190-195 C.

Dark roast coffee beans are roasted to a higher temperature, between 205-220 C, beyond the first crack, to a point where the beans release oils and develop a shiny surface.

Does light roast coffee look different from dark roast?

Yes, light roast coffee beans are lighter in colour than dark roast. They have a dry surface and retain some of the bean's natural oils. In contrast, dark roast coffee beans are darker, ranging from medium brown to almost black, sometimes with a shiny, oily surface due to the longer roasting process.

Is light roast coffee stronger than dark roast?

Light roast coffee preserves more of the unique flavours inherent in the coffee beans. Since the beans are roasted at lower temperatures, they retain more of their natural acidity, sweetness and subtle flavour notes for a more complex and nuanced flavour profile. 

Also, light roast coffee typically has a higher acidity compared to darker roasts. This acidity adds brightness and liveliness to the flavour profile, creating a refreshing and vibrant cup of coffee.

Does light roast coffee have more caffeine than dark roast coffee?

Light roast coffee beans are roasted for a shorter duration, which means they retain more of their caffeine content compared to darker roasts and are usually perceived as having a stronger caffeine kick. However, the caffeine content of coffee is not determined solely by the roast level, so other factors such as bean variety and brewing method will also determine caffeine content.

What’s the taste difference between light roast and dark roast coffee?

Light roast coffees tend to preserve more of the bean's inherent flavours and acidity. They often exhibit brighter, more complex flavours with fruity, floral or citrusy notes. 

Dark roast coffees have a bold and more robust flavour profile. The roasting process caramelises the sugars in the beans, resulting in a rich flavour with a hint of smokiness. Dark roast coffee typically has a heavier body and lower acidity compared to light roast.

Is light roast coffee healthier than dark roast?

Some studies suggest that light roast coffee may retain more antioxidants compared to darker roasts. Antioxidants have various health benefits, including reducing inflammation and protecting against certain diseases.

How should I prepare light roast coffee?

Light roast coffee is really versatile and can be enjoyed in various brewing methods, including pour over, cafetiére (also called French press) and espresso. Its bright and complex flavours shine through in different brewing techniques, so explore the brewing methods and find your favourite.

Are there other roasting techniques?

Yes, medium roast coffee falls between light roast and dark roast, making it a great option to enjoy the benefits of both roasting styles. Medium roast coffee beans have a medium brown colour, and balanced flavour profile.

Whether you prefer light roast or dark roast coffee is ultimately down to personal preference, so try them for yourself and discover some new favourites. View our range of light roast and dark roast coffees.


Light roast vs dark roast coffee

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