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Light, Medium or Dark Roast Coffee - What's the Difference?

Posted by Funsational Finds on

Roasting coffee transforms the green coffee beans into roasted coffee products we love. It brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside. A green coffee bean is nothing like a roasted coffee bean. The green coffee bean is soft and spongy to bite and smells grassy. Roasted beans smell like coffee, and weigh less because the moisture has been roasted out. They are crunchy to the bite, ready to be ground and brewed. Once roasted, however, they should be used as quickly as possible before the fresh roast flavor begins to diminish.

Most roasters have specialized names for their flavored roasts and there is very little industry standardization. This can cause some confusion for coffee buyers. In general, coffee roasts fall into one of four categories: light, medium, medium-dark and dark.

Light Roasts:

Light roasts are light brown in color. This roast is preferred for milder coffee varieties. The surface of the beans has no oil because they are not roasted long enough for the oils to break through to the surface. Some common names of light roast coffees are Light City, Half City, or Cinnamon Roast. 

Medium Roasts:

Medium roast is medium brown in color with a stronger flavor and a non-oily surface. It’s often referred to as the American roast because it is generally preferred in the United States. Some common names of medium roast coffees are City, American or Breakfast Roast.

Medium-Dark Roasts:

Medium-Dark roast has a rich, dark color. This roast has some oil on the surface and has a slight bittersweet aftertaste. A common name of medium-dark roast coffee is Full City.

Dark Roasts:

Dark roasted coffees are dark brown in color, like chocolate, or sometimes almost black. Dark roasting produces shiny black beans with an oily surface and a pronounced bitterness. The darker the roast, the less acidity will be found in the coffee beverage.  Some of the more popular designations for a dark roast include French Roast, Italian Roast, Espresso Roast and Continental Roast.

In the search for The Perfect Cup, it’s all about the taste, the flavor, and the aroma. You may prefer a light roast in the morning (light roasts have more caffeine - believe it or not) and a dark roast later in the day. When it comes to coffee, everyone has their personal preference. There is no right or wrong answer.

Light, Medium or Dark Roast Coffee?

If you brew your own coffee in the morning with k-cups, check out these Coffee Fun Boxes you can subscribe to. It's a great way to try different brands, roasts, and flavors!

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