The names of coffee roast types can seem like an endless road map; City roast, espresso roast, dark, light, blonde, cinnamon roast, the list goes on and on! But never fear, today we are going to learn a little bit more about one roast type in particular – the light roast coffee!
While other roast types bring something new and special to the table, today our focus will be on light roasted coffee beans! So get ready for some caffeinated goodness in the form of light roast coffee.
What Makes It Light Roast Coffee?
It may be helpful to first learn a little bit about roasting types and what they are. So, after coffee beans are processed they come out as hard, pale, greenish little beans. In this form, they are difficult to grind and have a very vegetal taste.
But when they get roasted up a bit the beans soften. Then natural fats, oils, and sugars from inside the bean boil up to the surface where they coat the bean as a healthy sheen. Then they become easier to brew into that oh so tasty of beverages; coffee.
The more a bean is roasted, the darker it gets and the more its flavor, character, and aroma change.
Dark Roast Coffee Vs Light Roast Coffee
The darker roasts tend to taste more like the roasting methods used to prepare them. They are generally a bit smaller, oilier, and grind up into much finer grinds. This is because so much of the liquid inside the bean has evaporated or been excreted out as a tasty natural oil on the surface of the bean.
The lighter roasted beans are generally a little bit bigger, thicker, harder to grind, lighter in color (of course!), and taste more like their place of origin. Lighter roasts also tend to be lighter, fruitier, and more acidic when brewed. The darker the roasts become more toasty tasting and can take on a more bitter flavor.
There is also a whole range of roast types in between light and dark. They exist on a spectrum more so than as a set and definite concrete level of roastiness. And while beans can be used any which way a coffer lover prefers, lighter roasts tend to do better as coarser grinds compared to their darker roasted cousins.
The reason is that the lighter roasts are still hard and durable, while the darker roasts crumble and break into finer grinds more readily. And a light roast is also a great way to get the full flavor experience in regards to a bean’s origins place.
For example, if you’d like to taste how a Sidamo compares to a Yirgacheffe, opt for light roasts. This will retain lots of their natural and original flavors more than darker roasts will. And though light roasts may not be ideal for espresso, choose light roasts for pour-over, cold brew, AeroPress and French Press, where their coarser grind types will truly shine and make for an exquisite taste and flavor experience.
In short, light roasts are coffee beans that have been roasted for a considerably shorter amount of time. Some roasters may roast their beans until the very first signs of the beans cracking in the heat Others may roast their beans a little longer. Either way, they will come out a light brown color, bursting with natural flavor and very little oil, so no shiny surface like a dark roasted bean.
How much caffeine is in a light roast coffee versus a dark roast coffee?
For a long time, there has been discussion about which type of bean contains more caffeine. And in this discussion, dark roasts were often believed to be the stronger of the two coffee beans. Probably due in part to their stronger, bitterer, and more robust flavor giving dark roasts an aura of power and thus perceived caffeinated superiority.
But actually, as it turns out lightly roasted beans have a little bit more caffeine than dark roasts do. But why? This is mainly due in part to the higher density and volume light roasts maintain during their roasting process.
The caffeine levels of the beans stay relatively constant. This is because light roasted beans are usually a little bigger and thicker which gives them more of an edge when it comes to caffeinated goodness. But, the differences are not so pronounced, and actually if you have the same amount of grinds, the caffeine levels will mostly be the same no matter the roast type!
For coffee lovers who want a less caffeine-packed coffee, make sure to brew with a higher water to bean ratio. On the other hand, for those who like their morning cupnice and robust, do the opposite! Add more grinds compared to your water ratios. This way no matter what roast type you choose you will get as much or as little caffeine as you like!
The 6 Best Light Roast Coffee
So of course your next thought with all this talk of tasty light roasted coffee beans is “where can I get in on this light roasted goodness?” luckily we have a keen list of some wonderful light roasted coffee beans on the market. Feel free to give one or even all of them, a brewing!
This light roasted coffee bean is an expert blend of beans from Colombia’s famous Huila region and Ethiopia. Huila is an idyllic place to grow coffee plants, located in vaulting mountains in a tropical region, the soil itself is volcanic and porous, while the cloud coverage and regular rains keep coffee plants in a happy place until they produce their ripe little red coffee cherries.
Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee and so beans from that wondrous country are bound to be amazing. Expertly paired, this light roast blend has a floral aroma. Peet’s Coffee has done it again with this truly delectable light roasted blend!
Another legend of the coffee scene, here we have an amazing light roasted blend courtesy of Kicking Horse. Central and South American beans take the spotlight this time around and have an aroma invoking nougat, cocoa, and brown sugar with flavors of acidic, red, juicy fruits, and a body that is akin to honey. A truly tasty bean for certain!
If you are looking for a good light roast, Starbucks actually does serve up a really nice light roast in the form of their Veranda Blend. Using their famous “blonde roast” style beans, which are in turn actually just a style of light roast. This roast is nice and mellow, featuring some nutty and cocoa hints, flavors, aromas, and notes that make for a pleasing cup of coffee for sure.
Organic beans are certainly an enticing bean to opt for and in light roasted form to boot! The Bean Coffee company offers us up some South American Arabica that highlights some excellent flavors and aromas as well as a nice, smooth roundness and clean finish in its body.
A light and sunny name that does justice to a light roasted and elegant cup of coffee. Sweet, smooth, and possessing cherry and floral overtones with a bit of nutty caramel to finish it up, this coffee is a perfect light roasted blend with South American and Africa coffee beans.
This keto-friendly light roast has some amazing aromatics in the form of smooth citrus and ties it all up with amazing tasting notes of milk chocolate and even orange. So, if you are in the market for something keto but also a light roast, look no further!
Light Roasted Coffee
So, what is light roasted coffee exactly? Usually, they are beans that are roasted until the first crack appears, or a few seconds right after the first crack. They are light brown and possess airy, citrusy, fruity, and floral flavor palettes that contain lots of brightness and acidity. They make for incredible cold brews, work great in a French Press, and dazzle as a pour-over. And when it comes to caffeine, they have got you covered in that department and then some. So what are light roasts? The best way to find out is to brew up a cup of light roasted beans and experience the magic for yourself. Happy brewing.