Dark Roast vs. Light Roast Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Dark Roast vs. Light Roast Coffee

According to Statista, just about 74% of Americans drink coffee every day. The site also found that coffee was the second most popular drink after bottled water. Yet, those that drink coffee don’t necessarily know the difference between light and dark roast. 

Are you one of these coffee drinkers who don’t know their roast types? If so, never fear! This article will help you learn the difference between light vs. dark roasts. 

Read on! 

What Is Roasting? 

When they’re first picked, coffee beans are green and have a higher level of protein, sugars, acids, and caffeine. Roasting the beans changes the color of these beans and their chemical properties. They also change the taste. 

The longer that a roaster roasts the coffee, the darker the beans get. Expert roasters know to listen for certain crackling sounds that announce the beans’ transition from light to dark roast types. Light roast beans present a “first crack” and dark roast beans let off a “second crack”. 

After the roasters hear the cracks they want, they put the beans into the cooling tray. Other workers will then process these beans into the ground or whole bean coffee products. 

Light Roast 

Light roast beans have a light brown color, light viscosity (thickness), and do not have oil on their surfaces. These beans also contain more caffeine than their dark roast counterparts. 

As far as taste goes, light roasts tend to have more complex and delicate flavor profiles than dark roasts. People who often drink light roasts describe the taste of these caffeinated drinks as crisp, fruity, floral, and/or acidic. 

Dark Roast 

Most coffee drinks can identify dark roast coffee beans by the dark brown oil that covers their surfaces. Drinks made from these beans have a full and robust viscosity. 

Coffee drinkers often describe dark roast coffee as being more bitter than light roast coffee. The flavor often tends to be simple as most of the initial flavors get roasted out. Adjectives often used to describe dark roast coffee include bold, nutty, robust, smoky, and chocolaty. 

Bonus: Medium Roast 

Medium-roast coffee beans end their roasting process just before the second crack. Drinks made from these beans have a thicker viscosity than light roast drinks. But their viscosity is thinner than that of dark roast caffeinated drinks. 

Taste-wise, medium roast beans lose the bright and floral flavors of light roast beans. As you would expect, the taste is a mix between light and dark roast types. 

Learn More About Food and Drinks

Now you know the difference between light vs dark roasts. You can now use this knowledge the next time you buy coffee beans or coffee drinks. Hopefully, this will help you enjoy your daily coffee even more. 

What about the other food or drinks you consume? Do you want to learn more about them? If so, you may be interested in the tons of food and culinary articles that we have on this site. 

Check them out!