It’s Thursday and as I made my first cup of liquid gold, aka coffee, this morning I was thinking about what topic would I share today. Welp, here it is; roasts. No, not the kind that come from cows, although those are amazingly delicious and now I want one; but coffee roasts. There are lots of myths out there about coffee and what type of coffee roast has the most caffeine. How the coffee is roasted affects flavor, acidity, composition, bitterness and a whole slew of other things. Knowing about the roasting process will help you determine what type of coffee roast has the most caffeine content. Let’s start with the basics.
Light roasts have the highest caffeine content. Yes. Myth one busted. This is due to the short roasting time which affects caffeine levels in the bean. With roasting time only being 9 minutes, caffeine levels are kept relatively high. As the beans are heated they go through a series of “cracks”. Light roasts are taken off the heat just after the first crack and when the internal temperature is at 205 degrees Celsius. A light roast means it has not been roasted beyond that first crack. Light roasts will not have any oil on the surface of the beans; they will be completely dry.
Medium roasts, much like light roasts are dry and roasted for 16 minutes. They are removed from heat when the internal temperature reaches 210 degrees Celsius which is just after the first crack and just before the second crack. Medium roasts have the most balanced flavor and acidity with a decrease in caffeine but still more than dark roasts. Medium-dark roasts go a bit longer (225 degrees Celsius) and produce a more spicy flavor and are typically produced by allowing the bean to begin the second crack.
Dark roasts are the more chocolatey, almost black beans that have a pronounced oily surface. Roasting time is 30 min until the bean reaches an internal temperature of 250 degrees Celsius, where the bean has been allowed to complete the second crack process. This allows more of the bean to “roast” producing an almost bitter and often charcoal taste. The beans flavors are eclipsed in this process; dark roasts generate a more complete flavor profile of the bean as a whole. Despite popular belief, dark roasts do not contain as much caffeine as light roasts because it has been roasted out. This is why your espresso drinks have less caffeine content than a full cup of coffee.
So there ya have it. You’re now experts in the roasting process! How do ya feel? *pushes up glasses on nose* In short, morning is the best time to drink your light roasts (highest caffeine content) and save your dark roasts to sip on in the late afternoon or evening along with your fat slice of chocolate cake! Have you grabbed your free Coffee Roast & Brewing E-Guide? This is a handy reference to have on your mobile device when you are buying your favorite coffee! Subscribe to the monthly Coffee Corner to get your e-guide delivered to your inbox!