Light vs. Dark Roast: How Roasting Impacts Flavor

Light vs. Dark Roast: How Roasting Impacts Flavor

Some coffee tastes different from others. Roasting coffee beans at different temperatures changes the flavor. Light roasts are usually roasted at lower temperatures, producing a brighter flavor. Dark roasts are roasted at higher temperatures, resulting in a more decadent body of coffee and a more intense flavor. Read more to learn about light roast vs. dark roast coffee!

light roasted coffee

Light Roast vs. Dark Roast 

Light-roasted coffee earns the term “light” because less heat is used than with dark-roast coffee. By heating coffee beans, you are forcing water and moisture from the bean. Light roasted beans are not left on the roasting machine for as long, so they have more moisture. Light roasts will give you more caffeine and have a more acidic flavor. This coffee will taste more like black tea. Some light-roast coffees will have fruity flavors or herbal flavors to them. If you want a strong coffee, choose a light roast vs. dark roast to give you a suitable caffeine buzz. 

Is Dark Roast Coffee Strong?

You may have wondered, Is dark roast coffee strong to drink? The way it is produced is a bit different. The coffee beans are left on the roasting machine for longer and sometimes at a higher temperature. This means the beans will lose their moisture, making them have less caffeine. The good news is that you will experience a more authentic coffee flavor. This is the best choice if you like this flavor more than a floral one. Dark roast coffee can taste like caramel, graham crackers, and toasted nuts. A dark roast is way thicker than a light roast and will be more indulgent to sip. 

Become a Pro at Coffee Tasting

You can become a pro at tasting coffee just like a barista. Here are some tips to help you expand your palette and get comfortable with coffee tasting. Firstly, you need to learn what makes different coffee flavors. So many different flavors can appear in coffee, from fruit to chocolate to flowers. We recommend looking at coffee charts to get familiar with the names. Next, figure out where the coffee beans are from. Where the coffee is roasted can affect how the coffee tastes. For example, Ethiopian coffee can have a more dynamic flavor because of the Ethiopian soil. If you have the right amount of minerals in your soil, you can grow healthy plants, leading to healthy coffee. If your soil has a lot of potassium, this can increase the acid in the coffee. This then produces coffee that has a lemon flavor to it. 

Another thing to consider is the climate of the beans. There is an area called ‘The Coffee Belt.’ In this area, there are only two seasons- wet and dry. The rainy season can help the coffee beans absorb the nutrients it needs. The dry season can give coffee fruit the best chance to harvest. If you have ever gone hiking, you may notice that it is colder higher up, often with more rain. There are so many things that can impact the taste of coffee. Low temperatures can help coffee fruit mature slower. This affects the flavor as well as the sweetness. Coffee beans grown at lower altitudes taste milder and have less acid. 

taste coffee

How Is Coffee Processed? 

Green coffee needs to be separated from the coffee fruit. This can be done in many different ways:

  • Wet or Washed Process - the coffee fruit is stripped of its skin, then soaked in water to create a clean-tasting coffee. Our Ethiopian blend was made with a washed process
  • Natural or Dry Process - this process involves drying the whole fruit in the sun. This allows the fruit to absorb flavors from the skin as it dries. This will produce sweet coffee similar to jam, chocolate, or fruit. 
  • Honey Process - The coffee fruit is cleaned thoroughly, but a small layer of pulp is left, called “mucilage” or “honey.” This layer has a lot of sweetness when it is left to dry. This will lead to coffee that tastes like an orange but has a lot of sweetness. 

Brew It, Taste It, and Give Your Thoughts

Before you start your coffee tasting, cleansing your palate is essential. To do this, avoid strong-tasting foods beforehand and only drink water. Make sure you use fresh beans and clean equipment. Also, try to brew your coffee the same way for every taste. After brewing your first cup, take in the smell. Most coffee smells the same before brewing. Inhale for the whole fragrance. Write down what kind of flavors you pick up. Next, smell the aroma while you brew the coffee and write down your thoughts. Finally, taste the coffee! Is the coffee sweet? Does it have an excellent flavor? Does it taste like lemons? Does it have a specific flavor? Finally, think about how it all worked together. Did you enjoy the coffee overall? 

coffee beans

Roasting Coffee Beans at Home 

Command Coffee loves home roasting. We’ve heard from many customers roasting our delicious coffees at home. This process can be so much fun. Follow this guide for roasting coffee at home:

  • Buy green coffee beans- fresh beans are green. Once they dry, they become lighter in color. 
  • Next, turn on your machine, add quality beans, and follow the instructions. Listen for the first and second cracks. This will help you get a consistent roast level. 
  • Make sure to cool down your coffee beans and allow at least 12 hours for the beans to cool. 

After roasting coffee, you want to store it so it doesn’t taste bad. The best thing to use is something called a coffee canister. This is an airtight container that will help your coffee retain its freshness

The best part about tasting coffee is figuring out which coffee you prefer more than others. This can be helpful when ordering coffee at Command Coffee or stopping by an Indianapolis branch! You can choose any coffee from our menu or buy our high-quality coffee today for a delicious cup every time. 

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