What's the difference between light roast and dark roast? Part 2

by Angelica Galland November 11, 2016

What's the difference between light roast and dark roast? Part 2

Last week, we talked about light roasts coffee and you learned they have the highest caffeine content and that the unique flavors of the bean origins are more distinct in a light roast. This week we'll cover medium and medium dark roast. Both of these roasts are most often used for drip coffee. 


Light roast was heated to the point of the beginning of the first crack, the sound the bean makes as moisture escapes and the bean begin to expand. Medium roasts start from the end of the first crack to the just the beginning of the second. Internal temperatures reach between 210°C (410°F) and 220°C (428°F).

The medium roast is the most common served in the US. Medium Roasted is a compromise that often brings out the best flavors in coffees that have begun caramelization but don’t yet have any burnt or chocolately darkness to them. It contains a balance of the beans’ natural flavor without so much acidity.  You’ll still be able to taste the original coffee, but the beans’ brightness will be complemented with the fuller body that is introduced by the roasting process. Medium roasts lack the grainy taste of the light roasts, exhibiting more balanced flavor, aroma, and acidity. They also share in the dry and non-oily texture of the light roast. Caffeine is somewhat decreased, but there is more caffeine than in darker roasts.

Basic Roast Levels - Light Roast, Medium Roast, Dark Roast


Medium dark roasted beans are heated to a temperature of between 437-446F, from the beginning or middle of the second crack . The flavors and aromas of the roasting process become noticeable, and the taste of the coffee may be somewhat spicy. Beans roasted to medium-dark have a light coating of oil and a rich deep brown color. A medium-dark roast has a heavy body in comparison with the lighter or medium roasts. They are characterized by a heavier body than the lighter roasts and caramel flavor with muted acidity and a slight bittersweet aftertaste. Any origin characteristics have become eclipsed by roast at this level. 


Angelica Galland
Angelica Galland


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.