Updated: Jun 9
Knowing what is the difference between coffee roasts can transform your morning pick-me-up into a luxurious experience.
You will be surprised at the significant differences you can experience regarding flavor, texture, and color in your coffee.
In this guide, we explore the different types of coffee roasts and how to achieve them for the perfect cup.
How Do I Choose a Coffee Roast?
Knowing which coffee roast is best for you will involve plenty of trial and error.
The best way to know what coffee roast you’d prefer to try is to taste all different kinds across the spectrum.
The flavor profiles of every roast are uniquely different.
What Is The Difference Between Coffee Roasts Profiles?
Let’s explore some of the most popular coffee roasts and the flavors you can expect from each.
Light roast is one of the most popular coffee roasts. This is because it highlights the beans’ acidity.
These flavors have a more mellow approach but they can also enhance the flavor with bold fruit or floral notes.
Depending on the light roast you choose, you can find an assortment of different aftertastes, aromas, and flavors.
Typically, a light roast is a recommendation to coffee drinkers looking for the full complexity of a bean with health benefits.
You’ll find every cup has a more elevated and sophisticated flavor, helping you appreciate the entirety of the bean.
Coffee drinkers typically prefer medium roast for a smoother flavor experience.
You’ll find their flavor profiles combine natural flavors and elements picked up from roasting.
Medium roasts are highly recommended for well-rounded cups with a balance of unique flavors.
Most of these blends will find their acidic notes are lost due to roasting but will enhance toasty tones.
It’s also common for medium roasts to have a caramelized flavor, which contributes to their smoothness.
Out of all of the different roasts, medium-roasted coffee beans are the most traditional option.
If you enjoy medium roast coffee but are looking for more punch, a medium-dark roast is a great option.
These roasts have a fuller flavor profile and we often regard them as being bittersweet.
One of their most significant advantages is they can help you transition to darker roasts for full-bodied flavor.
With that said, medium-dark roasts aren’t nearly as bold as dark roasts, the most daring of all roasts.
This type of coffee maintains its original flavors during the roasting process but in a more subdued way.
This profile makes you more likely to experience walnut and dark chocolate tones.
Dark roast coffee is the perfect option for coffee enthusiasts who love deep and bold flavors.
It’s the most bittersweet option out of all types of coffee, with a subtle sweetness.
You might find some dark roast blends have chocolate or brown-sugar flavor to combat its bitterness.
It’s crucial to note dark roast is best appreciated without dairy but can pair well with these products.
One of the most significant benefits of this roast is that it doesn’t have any acidity, just pure richness.
Which Coffee Roast Has Most Flavor?
When determining which coffee has the most flavor, the type of flavor needs to be factored in.
Although a dark roast is regarded as the boldest, a light roast is also known for having the most original flavors.
It all depends on what you prefer the most from a standard cup of caffeinated coffee.
Dark roasts have the boldest flavor but don’t maintain as much of the bean’s natural tones.
Instead, the roasting process brings out deeper notes with minimal acidity.
If you prefer the natural flavor of beans, light roasts are your best option.
Since they require the least amount of roasting, you won’t have deeper tones such as dark chocolate or walnut.
Instead, the notes will be brighter, often emulating floral or fruit flavors.
What Is the Best Coffee Roast?
The pros consider light and medium roast the best coffees, with dark roast close behind.
With that said, choosing the best coffee roast is a subjective experience.
It’s important to make a note of each of the individual benefits that each roast can offer.
Color: Light brown
Flavors: Toasted grain, floral, and fruity
Caffeine Level: High
Varieties: New England, Half-City, Cinnamon, Light City
Light roasts are highly regarded in the coffee industry because they are immaculately created to maintain the initial flavors of coffee beans.
These roasts are highly recommended for highlighting the unique characteristics of beans from around the world.
In fact, you’ll find they can be the most diverse out of any other coffee roast.
There’s very little oil on the surface with light roasts, and they’re often pale to light brown.
Each sip contains immaculate information about the quality, origin, and traits of a specific bean.
They’re also highly versatile, accommodating multiple aromas, aftertastes, and flavors.
How to Prepare Light Roasts
Light roasts are best prepared using the drip method, also known as a pour-over method.
It’s a cost-effective way to make a clean, rich, and light-bodied cup of coffee with subtle flavoring.
To make pour-over coffee, you’ll need paper coffee filters, a pour-over container, and boiling water.
For your coffee, you’ll want it to have a medium-fine grind for the best results.
Simply put, the filter on top of the pour-over container and add the correct serving for the number of cups you need.
You can then pour the boiling water over the ground coffee slowly and allow the brewed beverage to drip.
Flavors: Balanced with aroma and acidity
Caffeine Level: Medium
Varieties: American, Breakfast, City
Medium roast coffee is easy to spot, as it has a browner color than light roast and has more of an oily surface.
Their medium-body flavors with adequate acidity make them a popular choice for a well-rounded cup.
You’ll find these roasts typically maintain some of their natural flavors while also developing new roasting tones.
On average, most cups are relatively bright and acidic with a hint of caramelized toastiness.
Most of these varieties are the most popular options in America, and they have a conventional taste.
How to Prepare Medium Roasts
The best way to prepare medium roasts is in a cold brew, which will enhance its genuine flavors.
Also, you have the flexibility of enjoying an iced coffee instead of a steaming hot cup of Joe.
With that said, if you prefer hot coffee, medium roasts are easily brewed using the pour-over method as well.
You can use any container for cold brews, such as a mason jar, water, and coffee grounds.
You’ll want to immerse the grounds in cold water within the container of your choosing.
Stir all the ingredients together and put a lid on the container, refrigerating it for 12 to 24 hours.
Once the steeping time is concluded, you can strain the coffee grounds, and you’ll have delicious coffee ready to enjoy.
Color: Rich, Brown
Flavors: Slightly bittersweet aftertaste
Caffeine Level: Medium-low
Varieties: Fall City
Medium-dark roast coffee is often referred to as Vienna Roasts or Fall City with its bolder body.
Unlike the lighter varieties, this type of coffee isn’t likely to maintain much of its natural flavors.
Also, you’ll find it’s significantly darker than a light roast with a much oilier surface texture.
Most medium-dark roasts exhibit a walnut or dark chocolate flavor, offering a bittersweet finish.
If you’re looking to enter the world of bolder coffee types, this roast is a great middle ground.
How to Prepare Medium-Dark Roasts
Our recommendation for preparing this coffee roast type is to use a French press.
French presses are incredibly affordable and user-friendly, allowing you to brew coffee in minutes.
Their most prominent advantage is they’re iconic for creating full-bodied cups of coffee with a silky finish.
With this device, you must use coarse grounds since they have a larger filter than paper filters.
To brew your dark roast, you’ll want to remove the French press filter before adding the coffee.
Once you add the coffee, you pour in your boiling water and then replace the filter.
The next step is to allow the grounds to steep for five to ten minutes and then push the filter down.
When complete, you’ll have a full pot of coffee ready to be poured.
Color: Dark Brown
Flavors: Full-bodied with hints of spice
Caffeine Level: Medium
Varieties: New Orleans, Italian, French, Viennese, Espresso, Continental, High
Dark roasts are one of the few coffee roast types with an impressively bold flavor.
Their beans are a deep brown and have incredible oiliness that contributes to their tones.
Most of the flavors you’re bound to experience are dark and nutty with hints of caramel.
One of the major reasons dark roasts are so popular is that they have little to no acidity.
You’ll have access to full-roasted notes with unmatched bitterness.
How to Prepare Dark Roasts
By far, the best way to prepare dark roast is to use an Aeropress machine.
You can make a wide assortment of caffeinated beverages, including cold brew, standard hot coffee, and even espresso.
The most considerable benefit of an Aeropress is that it creates a smooth and rich cup that benefits dark roasts.
Its process is quite similar to a French press, but it brews your coffee automatically for you.
You can expect to have a full cup within 60 seconds if used properly.
Difference Between Coffee Roasts: Final Thoughts
Learning the different coffee roasts can be a fantastic way to improve your favorite beverage.
With all the different coffee roasts globally, you can easily create a unique caffeinated beverage using multiple methods.