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NAVIGATING ROASTS: LIGHT, MEDIUM, AND DARK


When you head to your local grocery store to purchase coffee, you are presented with the decision of choosing between light, medium, and dark roast whole bean coffee. Which roast produces the best quality coffee beans and what do these different roasts actually mean? Before roasting, coffee beans begin as a light green color. Roasting causes the beans to expand and change to a darker color.


1. Light Roast

Light roast beans are a light shade of brown and contain the most caffeine and acidity. These beans have no oil on the surface and are roasted for the shortest amount of time when compared to medium and dark roast whole bean coffee. The Light flavor is described as fruity, herbal, and ‘delicate’ with a thin body and high acidity. Light roasting stops once a single cracking noise is heard around 350º. A key takeaway is that light roasted coffee beans retain the most caffeine, therefore, are best for really strong coffee.


2. Medium Roast

Medium roast beans are a shade of darker brown and have no oil on the surface like light roasted beans. The beans are left in longer than light roast but less than dark roasts; they are roasted until right before the ‘second crack’. The medium roast flavor is described as ‘balanced’ and having a thicker body. For a good cup of coffee with a medium amount of caffeine, this roast is for you.


3. Dark Roast

Dark roasted whole bean coffee is the darkest shade of brown and has oil on the surface. They are roasted the longest at the highest temperature. Dark roasted beans have less of their original flavor. This is due to the intensity of the roasting. Their flavor is described as bitter, smoky, bold, and with a full body-- all accredited to the oil surfacing on the bean. Dark roasted beans are lowest in caffeine and acidity. The level of roasting causes the original flavor to be roasted out. If you want the best cup of coffee with the lowest caffeine content, dark roasted whole bean coffee is for you.

The main takeaway to remember: the lighter the roast, the stronger the coffee. Many people often have the misconception that a darker roast means a strong coffee, however, it is the opposite.

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