Coffee 101 : Light Roast vs. Dark Roast

Welcome to the first Coffee 101 article!

We’ve taken it upon ourselves to do some research and share with you some tips and tricks, as well as drop some science infused knowledge to help you achieve the best cup of coffee!

Remember waking up to the smell of coffee brewing in the kitchen when you were a kid? It smelled so good, but that first sip of black coffee usually came right back out, accompanied with a ew why!

Well, there is so much that goes into picking the perfect type of beans for that cup of coffee that your dreams are made of.

Our first article focuses on light roast versus dark roast, which is one of the main things we tend to look for when buying coffee. A big deciding factor is usually which one will give you the best energy boost!

We’re skipping ahead a little bit here, since we haven’t even touched on the processing of the coffee cherries to coffee beans, but that will be covered in the next articles.

Our main goal for today was to try and explain which roast, either light or dark, will have the best bang for your buck, aka. the highest caffeine content.

According to the science, light roast and dark roast beans pack the same punch when it comes to caffeine content! So if you thought that that dark roast was your golden ticket to a productive day, think again. The science shows that the difference between the caffeine content depends on the weight/amount used.

A light roast bean will be more compact than dark roast bean since it hasn’t had the chance to expand and release its contained volatile components (gas). So if you’re measuring your coffee by bean scoops, you’re packing in more caffeine in a scoop of light roast beans than dark roast. However, if you’re measuring by weight, the caffeine content will be roughly the same.

On that note, there is a difference when it comes to the type of beans you get. Arabica beans are the most common and the more flavorful ones of the bunch. Robusta beans are, well, robust and pack a bit more caffeine. They are rarely found on their own due to their acidity, but it is not uncommon to find them in blends. Usually they are found in big producer batches due to the fact that they are much cheaper than the Arabica.

From time to time, you’ll hear about peaberries, and these bad boys retail for a lot more money than do the Arabica beans. The “science” behind the reasoning is shaky at best, and since coffee taste and its effect on us differs, take this with a grain of salt. Pre-roasting and drying process, coffee cherries (the fruit) develop a seed inside and this seed usually splits in half, which explains why a coffee bean has a rounded side and a flat side. However, peaberries are seeds that don’t get split. If you think logically, the surface that will be dried and roasted will be different than the seeds with two different faces. This will, according to some, change the flavor profile. And since these peaberries are rare, there is a premium price to pay if you want to get your hands on them. Worth it? I don’t know! If it’s anything like Kona coffee, I’m convinced it’s a game of who wants to look better than who.

Knowing this, next week, we will get into the fun part of making coffee: picking the roast profile! This is the most personal thing about a cup of coffee: you and I probably don’t like the same thing and that’s fine!

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