What’s Your Roast? Light, Medium, Dark

One of the most frequently asked questions on coffee drinkers’ minds relates to the difference between coffee roasts. Everyone has their go-to roast level, and we are here to help you understand the differences between each of these levels. The most common words to describe different levels of coffee roasting are Light, Medium, and Dark.

Coffee roasting is one of the most influential factors of coffee taste. Roasting transforms green beans into the aromatic and flavorful coffee that wakes our senses in the morning. However, roasting beans at different levels achieves more than merely darkening the bean; it also changes many of the beans’ physical attributes as well.

Before we break down all of the roast levels, here are a few talking points to help you differentiate between roasting levels:

  • Light roasts last until a single crack is heard, called the “first crack”
  • As beans roast darker, both the caffeine content and origin flavors roast out
  • Darker roasts are slightly less acidic and have the least caffeine
  • Dark roasts get their bold, smoky flavor from oil that surfaces on the bean
  • Light and Medium roasts have no oil on the surface of the bean
  • As a bean roasts, the body gets thicker and heavier up until the “second crack”
  • After the second crack, beans start to thin and taste more like charcoal