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Every Type of Coffee Roast (And How to Choose The Right One For You)

Every Type of Coffee Roast (And How to Choose The Right One For You)

Jake Bonneman
5 minute read

The Different Types of Coffee Roasts

There are four main types of coffee roasts you'll find: light, medium, dark, and espresso (espresso is kind of a special case—we'll go into more on that later). While every coffee has its own flavor notes based on its origin, species, and other factors, each "roast level" has its own flavor tendencies. For example, light roasts tend to be more acidic, while dark roasts tend to be more bitter.

Besides differences in flavor, each roast level varies in caffeine content, with light roasted beans containing the most caffeine and dark roasts containing the least caffeine. (This runs counter to what most people think—since dark roasts have the “boldest” coffee flavor.)

However, don’t get too hung up on the differences in caffeine content, because while there is a difference, it’s really a very small one.

For most intents and purposes, you can think of each type of roast as having essentially the same amount of caffeine. If you’re just looking for the coffee with the highest caffeine content (in the world) I recommend you stop reading and just go with Black Insomnia.

Light Roasts

Light roast beans are roasted for a shorter amount of time, so they retain more of their original oils and flavor. If you're looking for a coffee with lots of intricate flavors, light roasts are a good choice. They tend to be more acidic than dark roasts, so if you're sensitive to acidity, you might want to go for a medium roast instead.

What about Blonde Roasts?

Some coffee lovers consider blonde roast to be its own category, but most consider it to be a type of light roast. Blonde roast is the lightest of the light roasts—the beans are roasted for an even shorter amount of time than light roast beans.

It definitely has its own characteristics—it's generally very smooth and delicate in flavor. Being "lighter than light," it technically has more caffeine than your average light roast, but again, the difference is negligible.

Medium Roasts

Medium roast beans are roasted for a bit longer than light roasts, giving them a "deeper" flavor. They're not as acidic as light roasts, but they can still have plenty of complex flavors to enjoy. If you want a coffee that's balanced and not too bitter or acidic, a medium roast is a good choice.

Dark Roasts

Dark roast beans are roasted for the longest amount of time, so they have a more "intense" flavor and less of the original bean's oils. If you're looking for a coffee with a bold flavor, dark roasts are the way to go. They can definitely be on the bitter end of the acidity/bitterness spectrum, but if you like that in your coffee, then you'll be all set.

Espresso Roasts

"Espresso roast" beans are a special case. They can really be any type of roast, but they're most often going to be dark roast beans.

You can, technically, use espresso beans to make coffee the same as you would with any other roast. But to make the best use of an espresso roast, you'll naturally want to make espresso with it—and to make "true" espresso, you'll need an espresso machine. (However, you can make coffee that's pretty darn close to true espresso by using a much-more-affordable AeroPress)

It may not fool the palate of an experienced barista or coffee aficionado, but it'll probably pass as espresso for just about everyone in your household—or neighborhood. Especially if it's going to be used in a latte, a macchiato, a mocha, or another type of espresso drink where there will be other flavors and textures besides the coffee itself.

Choosing the Right Roast for You

Now that you know a little bit about the different types of coffee roasts, how do you actually go about choosing the right one for you?

Well, that's the best part—you just try different coffees until you find your favorite! Because in the end, it all really just comes down to your personal preference.

For example, if you like strong, bold flavors, you'll probably tend towards liking dark roasts. If you prefer a more balanced flavor, medium roasts might tend to be a better choice for you. And if you're sensitive to acidity, you might want to stick with light roast coffees.

If you don't have any specific preferences yet, try them all to see which roast you like best!

Just remember that many different factors contribute to the flavors of individual coffees besides the roast—so it makes sense to try coffees from several different roasters/origins within each roast level. For example, it's very possible to find one specific dark roast you love even if you dislike dark roasts that you've tried in the past.

Have fun exploring all the different types of coffee out there, and if you need a place to start— Check out the huge selection of coffee brands we carry at Meadow Ridge Coffee.


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