What Are the Differences between Light, Medium & Dark Roast

By June 13, 2017

Difference between Light, Medium & Dark Roast

Quite often you’ve went on selection of either a dark rich cowboy coffee or a fruity light roast coffee. You may ask what are the differences between Light, Medium and Dark Roasts? More than just color, the caffeine content, taste and brewing temperature are distinct respectively.

Light Roasts – original characteristics retained

light roast

Light Roasts are light brown or tan in color, which retain the most original flavors of coffee beans. Being the brightest among the three roast levels, they bring out a wildly diversified taste at the great extremes. Light Roasts have highest acidity and a light body as they are called, while no oil remained on the surface of the beans.

Light-roasted beans generally reach its internal temperature from 180℃ to 205℃ and have not been first crack. Because the latter temperature serves as a guideline for brewing, whose beans will crack and expend in size upon exceeding it. (Learn: How to make Latte at home without espresso machine)

Recommendations for the Light Roasts

Light City, Half City and Cinnamon Roast are roasted to just before the first crack.

New England Roast is roasted to the first crack, gaining popular in the northeastern part of America.

Medium Roasts

medium roast

A medium roast has a darker brown color than the light roast. It is widely beloved by brewers for a balanced acidity and aroma with increased body and various ranges of flavor, citrus and berry included. There remains to be some coffee oils visible on the surface of the coffee beans, and thereby it turns out to be richer. Compared to the Light Roasts, the medium roasted coffee has less content in caffeine and lacks a toasted grain taste. (Learn: How many mg of caffeine in a cup of coffee)

Medium Roasts come with the temperature at 210℃-220℃, which is within the period from the end of the first crack to the beginning of the second crack.

Recommendations for the Medium Roasts

H.C. Valentine Costa Rica Tarrazu, Regular Roast, Breakfast Roast, City Roast and American Roast which is a traditional roast in the eastern of the United States roasted to the end of the first crack.

Dark Roasts

dark roast

When coffee roasts become darker, the origin flavor of the beans eclipses at its process and the caffeine content deceases drastically.

Dark Roasts are bold, rich and darkness. Since it has a full body, people grant it as whole milk contrasted to the Light Roasts as a skim milk. Oils on the surface of the beans can be seen clearly when brewing the dark roast coffee in the cup. Bitter or even charred taste is not uncommon to happen due to unskilled hands or weak-controlled brewing method.

Dark Roasts requires an inner roasted temperature of 240℃ to reach or beyond the end of the second crack. While, basically, you would better comply with its limitation to 250℃, for which point the body of the beans are thin and features tar and charcoal flavors. But, be careful about the over roasted coffee, which may make your coffee taste burnt

Recommendations for the Dark Roasts

Common Dark Roasts go by the French Roast, Italian Roast, Continental Roast and Espresso Roast. Actually, darker roasts work better for espresso, because the sugar added into the blends which has been fully caramelized can boost flavor. (Tip: Difference between regular coffee and espresso)

After reading this, hope you are well known with the difference between light, medium & dark roast.


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