Search our shop

Light, Medium, or Dark? How to choose the best coffee roast for me.

Have you ever walked down the coffee aisle of a grocery store and was faced with making the decision of what kind of coffee to buy? There’s so many options when it comes to origins, blends, and types of roasts. How do you know you're buying the coffee that you’ll love from first sip to last? The type of bean is a big part of the equation, but thats not all thats important. The roast of the bean is equally important. The flavor and aromas are extracted by the roasting process and depending on the length of time and temperature a bean is roasted will drastically effect the final product. Generally theres four types of roasts, light, medium, medium-dark and dark.


Light Roasts are roasted for the shortest amount of time. They are generally roasted to an internal temperature of 356 degrees-400 degrees. Light roasts generally aren’t roasted long enough to extract the natural oils in the beans. The caffeine content is also higher (by volume) because during the roasting process the heat used doesn't have enough time to extract the caffeine out of the bean. Light roasts can be slightly more acidic for the same reason. Due to the short roasting time, light roasts can have a very different taste profile, since natural chemical changes weren't reached within the short roasting timeframe. You may find that most light roasts have a more citrus or lemon-ish tone. Single origin beans allow for a more distinct flavor in light roasts because the lack of roasting flavors from the roasting process.


Medium Roasts are roasted around 410 degrees to 428 degrees. There is a little more body to its flavor compared to light roasts and less acidity. When you think of your regular coffee, this is generally the roast in which you’d expect to taste. House Blend, Breakfast Roast are common examples of medium roasts. Acidity and body can vary in this roasting profile dependent on bean selected. Medium roasts are always a fan favorite.


Medium-Dark Roasts are roasted to an internal temperature of 437 degrees to 446 degree. You will start to see a more oily texture to these beans once roasted because of the temperature of the roasting process. These roasts have more body to them. They are much richer, flavorful and less acidic in taste. Examples of these roasts are Vienna Roast, Full City, Light French and Light Espresso.


Dark Roasts are roasted around 464 degrees to 482 degrees. There are noticeable oils on the beans due to the roasting process. Most origin beans loose their natural taste profile at this high temperature roasting process. Dark roasts tend to be described as a little more sweet in flavor due to the natural sugars caramelizing during the roasting process. The long roast allows for a bold, rich flavor with a smooth buttery finish. Dark roasts also have the least acidity and least caffeine content in their taste profile. Most dark roast coffee is associated with European names due to their massive popularity there.


There you have it. These are the 4 major types of coffee roasts. Each roast have their specific characteristics and can vary from bean origin and even ground coarseness or fineness (more on this later). At this point you have enough information on coffee roasts to be able to confidently order a cup of coffee at a shop or select a bag at the grocery store or here at Uncharted Coffee Co. Honestly though, the only way to know the best roasts is to try them all!