If you’re like most adults, you enjoy drinking coffee every day, whether it’s one cup or a whole pot. But how much do you really know about coffee? More specifically, what’s the difference between dark roast and light roast? Is light roast coffee stronger than dark, or is it the other way around? And is light or dark roast coffee more acidic? These are some of the most common questions about coffee, and it turns out not many people know the answers, because there are lots of myths surrounding coffee beans. So it’s time to get some answers to these questions before you choose the best roast for you. Here’s what you should know about the main differences between dark roast and light roast.
What Gives Coffee Beans Their Color?
You might assume light-roasted coffee beans would be light brown or tan in color, while dark roast coffee beans would be dark brown or black. However, it’s not always this easy to tell light roast from dark roast.
In fact, it’s surprisingly difficult, as some dark roasts look deceivingly light in color, and vice versa. One detail that can help you tell them apart is that dark roasts have more external oil, since that oil has been roasted out from inside the bean, while light roasts are more matte in color since the oils are still trapped inside.
Granted, you don’t have to even look at the beans as you shop for coffee to tell if they’re light roast or dark roast. Most coffee brands state on the package if it’s light or dark roast, but you can look for certain terms that are often used to describe each variety. For example, light roast is often referred to as half city, light city or cinnamon. Dark roast coffee may be called French, Italian, Spanish, espresso, continental or New Orleans.
Is Light Roast or Dark Roast Coffee More Acidic?
Another difference between light and dark roast coffee is that light roasts can be more acidic. Acidity in coffee is more commonly known as “liveliness.”
They’re also generally considered to be light in body compared to dark roasts. In general, light roast coffee lets you taste the original flavor–and acidity–of the green coffee beans. For this reason, many artisan coffee roasters prefer to roast light or light-medium coffees because these coffees have more of the original flavors of the coffee’s origin. And in general, the longer you roast the coffee, the less you’ll be able to taste these origin notes.
So the simple answer to the question of “is light or dark roast coffee more acidic?” is light roast. But the more complex answer is that you can find some light roasts that are low in acidity, and some dark roasts that have maintained their acidity.
Is Light Roast Coffee Stronger Than Dark?
One of the most common coffee questions is “Is light roast coffee stronger than dark?” And the answer is that it depends on what you mean by strong.
If you’re looking for a coffee that tastes particularly roasty and a little bitter, go with a dark roast. The roasting process brings forth strong aromas and flavors, so the fact that dark beans are roasted longer can make the coffee more intense for your taste buds. Conversely, some light roasts are considered bold in the sense that they’re tart and fruity, which can be intense for new coffee drinkers.
And finally, if your idea of a strong cup of coffee is one with the most caffeine possible, you will want to go with a light roast. This is because the longer the roasting process continues, the more the caffeine is cooked out of the coffee beans.
Is There an Option Between Light- and Dark-Roasted Coffee?
If you’re not sure whether light or dark roast is best for you, you can always try a medium roast. This way, you can get the best of both worlds. For example, medium roasts have a good balance of acidity and full body. They also have a medium amount of caffeine, because they’ve been roasting for longer than light roasts and for less time than dark roasts. Additionally, you get some of the original coffee flavor as well as some of the flavor that the roasting process adds, creating a good balance between light- and dark-roasted coffee. Medium roast coffee is often called breakfast roast, American or city, so look for these terms when you buy coffee.
Now that you know the difference between dark roast and light roast–and the option in between the two–you can determine which one you prefer. At Javaya, we have a huge selection of coffee beans, including light-, medium– and dark-roasted coffee. Our website makes it easy for you to shop for coffee based on your preferred roast if this detail is important to you. Or you can shop depending on the coffee’s origin or type–such as whether it’s single origin or a blend. No matter which coffee you choose, you can expect to receive a fresh bag of coffee beans shipped to you, with no extra cost for shipping. So if you’re ready to find your favorite coffee, check out Javaya’s selection today!