Light Roast vs Dark Roast
By Tyler Workman
In todays blog we are going to dive into the touchy topic of light roast coffee versus dark roast coffee.
You are probably asking yourself "which one is better"? and the short answer is, it depends. The taste of coffee and what is considered to be good and bad is somewhat subjective. Exactly what is considered to be light and what is considered to be dark is also subjective. As you can probably tell already, this is where things can get a little murky. Most coffee roasters including us at Kaha will display a roast bar on our bags to indicate the level of roast that has been applied to the coffee. You can see this on the image below.
We will advise you however to take this roast bar as a general indicator, as each variety of coffee will taste different under the same degree of roast. For example, a light roast coffee from Brazil, will taste significantly different than a light roast coffee from Kenya. The same can be said for a dark roast. A dark roast coffee from Colombia will taste vastly different from a dark roast coffee from Sumatra - even if the roast indicator shows the same degree of roast on the packaging.
What determines the level of roast is how far a particular coffee has been taken into the roast cycle. To put it simply, every minute the coffee spends inside the coffee roaster, darker the coffee will become.
So the question you really need to ask is - what one is right for me?
In order for us to come closer to your answer, we need to break down the pros and cons of each. Because this is fully subjective, we would like to point out that this is just a guide to help get you one step closer to the coffee of your dreams :)
Light Roast Pros:
-Tastes amazing as a Pour-over. (Use very hot water to help with extraction).
- Fruit notes and floral aromas are what light roasts are all about.
- Typically higher quality coffee is selected to be roasted lighter.
- A light body and can be very refreshing over ice.
- Can be super exciting if brewed correctly.
Light Roast Cons:
- Can taste flat, bland or astringent if it has not been brewed correctly.
- Can taste thin and like grass if it has not been roasted correctly.
- Won't be super tasty as a French Press (Immersion Brewing).
- Not a lot of room for error. (Easy to make it taste bad).
Dark Roast Pros:
- Tastes amazing as a French Press (Immersion Brewing).
- Chocolatey and smoky notes are what you will find here.
- Tastes amazing as espresso (Latte, Cappuccino, Cortado).
- Has a more "traditional" flavor that you are likely more familiar with.
- More body in the cup to add that comfort factor.
Dark Roast Cons:
- Can taste extremely bitter if roasted very dark (Extremely common).
- Does not hold up well to a Pour-over brew method.
- Low grade coffee is commonly used for dark roast coffee (Not us though)!!
- Can taste very thin and ashy if roasted too dark.
So there you have it! Hopefully this gives you a little bit of direction when selecting your next bag of coffee. However if you are still scratching your head, we have a delicious medium roast blend that will land you right in the middle. This is often the best way to start. That way you will know if you want to explore a lighter roast or a darker roast. Win win!!
Check out our medium roast blend here.