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June 25, 2016

How to Choose Between Dark and Medium Roast Coffee

Coffee drinkers have a large selection of options to choose from. There are many different types of beans and brewing styles, and some even enjoy their espresso on ice. Everyone has their own preference for how they consume their coffee, but few know the real differences between coffee types. For instance, what about dark and medium roasted coffee beans – are they really that different?

If you’re a coffee drinker and would like to know a bit more about coffee than just how much sugar and milk to put in it, then this article is for you. Let’s review the background of coffee beans and their processing.

Factors Contributing to the Taste of Your Coffee

The taste of your coffee depends on a number of factors, but perhaps none more so than the roasting time of your beans. How long and at what temperature they’re roasted will also determine your coffee’s strength. Other factors that affect the taste of your coffee include the geographic location it’s grown in. For instance, you may find the coffee grown in South America to taste different than those grown in Italy.

Other important factors that contribute to the taste of coffee beans include the harvesting style, how long the beans sit before being roasted, the processing used, the method for grinding and the brewing techniques used.

Why Some Coffee Beans Are Lighter than Others

When coffee beans are first harvested, they are green in color and smell nothing like coffee you’ve come to know. In fact, freshly harvested beans have an aroma similar to grass. If you were to brew them at this stage they would have no flavour – at least not one you’d want to consume. The roasting process is what turns coffee beans into varying colors of brown and gives it the beloved flavours and smells many of us have grown to love.

Coffee beans absorb heat during the roasting process, which allows their color to darken. As the temperature rises, more oils are extracted. Darker colored beans will have more oil than than those that have a medium or light color.

Which Has More Caffeine?

Caffeine is perhaps the number one reason why people drink coffee in the morning. It helps to wake up your brain and give you more of an energetic start to your day. Most people believe that dark coffee means more caffeine. However, the truth is that medium roasted beans have more caffeine than their darker counterparts.

As coffee beans absorb heat during the roasting process they lose some caffeine. Because lighter coffee beans are exposed to heat for a shorter period of time than darker colored beans, they retain more of their caffeine.

Comparing Medium and Dark Coffee Beans

There are three main styles of roasted coffee beans – light, medium and dark. Light roasted coffee isn’t very popular because it has more of an acidic flavour. It’s also said that lighter beans grind better than darker beans and they tend to turn into muck when ground in a coffee machine.

Medium roasted coffee beans tend to have more body, aroma and a balanced flavour than lighter beans. Medium roasted beans also don’t collect oil on their surface, much like lightly roasted beans. In comparison to a dark bean, you’ll find more caffeine in the medium roasted variety. Some feel medium roasted beans have the best flavours since they are roasted until just before carmelisation takes place. There are also a variety of flavour notes to choose from including citrus, berry, fruit and acidity.

Dark roasted beans have a deep hue, sometimes appearing almost black. You’ll find that these normally have a heavier coating of oil on top of its surface as a result of the intensity of heat these beans have been exposed to. You might also find this oil floating at the top of your coffee after it has been brewed.

Also, because of the extended time roasting in hot temperatures, the caffeine level is significantly decreased. The flavour of dark roasted coffee is considered bolder and richer by many and often has more of a chocolatey darkness due to its state of full carmelisation.

The type of roast you choose for your coffee ultimately comes down to the flavours you enjoy and the strength you desire. You’ll find that the coffee machines used plays a big role in the brewing process, which is why it’s best to invest in a quality coffee machine for work. You can find an office coffee machine available for rental or short term hire on our rental page.

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