Light-roasted coffee, Dark-roasted coffee – what's the difference?

Light-Roasted Coffee, Dark-Roasted Coffee - What's The Difference?While some of us may be experts on coffee and coffee lingo, others are just getting familiar with this popular beverage. We hear about different types of coffee, such as light-roasted and dark-roasted coffee, but what exactly do those terms mean? Is one type of coffee roast superior to the other, or is it simply a matter of individual preference?

Let’s start at the beginning with the coffee bean, after it has been picked and is ready to roast. The roasting process changes the make-up of the green (raw) coffee bean and extracts the aroma and flavour of coffee.

Light-roasted coffee and dark-roasted coffee both come from the same coffee bean. The main difference between light-roasted coffee and dark-roasted coffee is the amount of roasting time, and the temperature at which the beans are roasted. As you would expect, the darker the coffee bean, the longer it was roasted, and vice-versa. Now let’s talk about some other differences between the two coffees.

Light-roasted coffee

The caffeine content of the coffee bean changes depending on the roasting level. The more the bean is roasted, the less caffeine it has, so if you’re watching your caffeine intake, know that light-roasted coffee contains more caffeine. It is also interesting to note that light-roasted coffee beans retain more of their original flavour, which is derived from the growing conditions of the coffee bean, such as location, weather, soil, etc. You may have heard of the light-roasted coffee beans from Kona, Java and Kenya.

Dark-roasted coffee

Dark-roasted coffee beans are roasted for longer periods of time, and contain less caffeine. Types of dark-roasted coffee beans are Vienna Light French Roast and Full French Roast. Some say that because the dark-roasted coffee bean is roasted longer, you lose the unique original flavour of the coffee bean. Some also say that dark-roasted coffees all taste similar to one another, but still remain an excellent choice.

What about espresso?

Espresso is another favourite coffee drink (and a coffee machine staple), but it is not a roast. Certain blends of coffee beans are used for espresso, and are roasted for a certain amount of time at a specific temperature.

Now you are ready to experiment with light-roasted and dark-roasted coffees and see which one appeals most, and who knows? Maybe someday, you may want to try roasting your own coffee beans to come up with the perfect roast – and the perfect cup of coffee – for you!

Image: Mark Walker/Flickr