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

Matthew Berk Matthew Berk • March 31, 2021

Are you someone who avoids dark roast coffees like the plague, or do you prefer a brew that's so dark it'll make your spoon stand on end in the morning?

Either way, we don’t judge. But here's how to tell the real difference between light roast and dark roast coffee (and why you may have an affinity toward one versus the other).

Light Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee

Light Roasts

  • They have generally higher acidity, as in flavor peak. 
  • They have a higher brightness (flavors that stand out).
  • They're slightly more caffeinated
  • They allow you to taste more of the original flavor of the beans.
  • There's very little oil on the surface of the beans. 
  • They have names like Light City, Half City, Cinnamon Roast, and New England Roast.

Dark Roasts

  • Dark roasts have stronger, smokier, or earthier tastes.
  • They have a fuller body, especially when it comes to adding milk and/or sugar.
  • They have shiny appearances from oil on surface of their beans. 
  • They tend to spoil faster since more oils are released from beans as they sit, causing them to oxidize.
  • Dark roasts have slightly less caffeine. 
  • They lose some of the original flavors as they take on flavor from the roasting process. 
  • They have names like French Roast, Italian Roast, Espresso Roast, Continental Roast, New Orleans Roast, and Spanish Roast. 
Here at Bean Box, we are equal opportunity coffee drinkers. But we often come across customers who have a taste preference, even though they might not really know about (or care about) the specific difference in roast profiles. If you're new to fresh coffee and open to expanding your palate, it's best to try a range of roast profiles and then try to determine whether and/or which profile you prefer.
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