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What's the difference between Dark Roast, Medium Roast and Light Roast Coffee?

Coffee lovers often find themselves navigating the vast and complex world of coffee roasts, each offering a different flavour profile and aromatic experience. The journey begins with the beans, where they come from and how they're roasted. In this blog post, we look at the differences between dark roast, medium roast and light roast coffee - a spectrum that caters to different palates and preferences.

Dark roast coffee:

Dark roast coffee is a bold and intense member of the coffee family, characterised by a deep, rich flavour and smoky undertones. The beans undergo a longer roasting process, typically at higher temperatures, resulting in a shiny, oily surface. This process often masks the intrinsic flavours of the beans, making dark roast coffee known for its robust and full-bodied taste.

The longer roasting time caramelises the sugars in the beans, giving them a bittersweet and sometimes charred flavour. Popular dark roast varieties include French Roast and Italian Roast, each offering a unique take on the intense coffee experience. Dark roast enthusiasts appreciate the strong, almost espresso-like qualities of these brews, often accompanied by notes of chocolate, nuts and a lingering smokiness.

Medium roast coffee:

In the middle of the spectrum, medium roast coffee strikes a balance between the robustness of dark roast and the brightness of light roast. The beans are roasted to a moderate degree, preserving more of their natural acidity and allowing the inherent flavours to shine through. The result is a well-rounded coffee with a pleasant acidity and a range of nuanced flavours.

Medium roast coffee is known for its versatility, making it a favourite with a wide audience. It retains the characteristics of the bean's origin and offers a wide range of flavours, from fruity and floral to nutty and chocolatey. Common medium roast coffees include Breakfast Blend and Colombian, each with the distinctive flavour of the region in which it is grown.

The medium roast process retains a good amount of caffeine, providing a balanced and energising cup without the overpowering bitterness found in dark roasts. This makes medium roast coffee an ideal choice for those who appreciate a flavourful brew without the extreme ends of the flavour spectrum.

Light roast coffee:

At the opposite end of the spectrum, light roast coffee is celebrated for its bright acidity and ability to showcase the unique characteristics of the beans. Light roast beans are roasted for a shorter time at lower temperatures, resulting in a dry surface with no visible oils. This allows the beans to retain their original flavour notes, bringing out the nuances of the specific coffee variety.

Light roast coffees often have a more pronounced acidity, creating a lively and vibrant cup. Flavours can range from fruity and floral to tea-like, with a lighter body than darker roasts. African coffees, such as Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, are often favoured in light roasts, showcasing the beans' inherent brightness and complex flavour profiles.

Coffee lovers who appreciate the subtleties and complexities of different origins are often drawn to light roasts. The distinct lack of bitterness allows for a more delicate and varied experience that celebrates the coffee's origin and the nuances of the bean.


In the world of coffee, the spectrum of roasts offers a wide range of options, ensuring that there's something for every palate. Whether you enjoy the boldness of a dark roast, the balance of a medium roast or the lively acidity of a light roast, each cup offers a unique journey through the world of flavours and aromas.

As you embark on your coffee journey, consider experimenting with different roasts and origins to find the perfect cup that matches your taste preferences. The beauty of coffee lies not only in the caffeine kick it provides, but in the intricate dance of flavours that unfolds with each sip, inviting you to savour the journey one roast at a time.

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