Many times in coffee shops you get two different drip choices: light roast coffee, or dark. Though overlooking the distinctions between the growing regions they come from, they’re typically offered as, simply, light or dark.
Truth be told, most consumers can’t differentiate between the nuances of Sulawesi and Colombian beans. Rather, they’ve learned that a light roast coffee may be livelier, while the dark roast may tend to stick around longer on their palate.
But, what else should a coffee connoisseur know about their choices of dark or light roast coffee?
Some folks like to categorize coffees based upon how “strong” they are, though that may really only point to the depth to which they’re roasted. It’s in a light roast that the difference between origins is most distinct. It’s where it’s most obvious if the bean is a citrusy East African treasure, a volcanic soil-grown Indonesian, or a nutty highland Guatemalan.
It’s in a light roast that the beans are at their highest acidity as well, though not to be confused with being bitter. Bright, lively, sometimes fruity, the light roasts will become less so if they’re roasted longer. Needless to say, the smell and taste will change as well.
You’ve probably heard it said that a light roast coffee has less caffeine than a dark roast. Truth be told: it does, and it doesn’t. How’s that for a paradox? Luckily, it’s a much simpler one than that of Schrodinger’s cat.
When coffee is roasted, the process actually changes the chemical state and size of the beans. So, the roasting is what produces, or brings out, the characteristics of your favorite varieties, in part by expanding the beans.
Perhaps you, too, have chosen a French Roast over a Breakfast Blend because the one pound bag is larger, seeming like a better value. Well, that’s not entirely the case, because since the French Roast is roasted way darker than the Breakfast Blend, the beans have expanded in size. Yet, one pound still equals one pound, of course.
If you’re still concerned about caffeine content, you’ll find yourself left with two choices in brewing: scoop the same amount (size wise) with either light or dark – OR – weigh out equal amounts for brewing. It’s more work, perhaps, but for those of you who want things to be relatively the same from day to day, it’s an option. Realistically, the difference is slight, but either way, if you don’t care for light roast but want to make sure you get all the caffeine possible, you can always brew another cup.
What it really boils (well, roasts) down to is that you’re going to drink the coffee you prefer, regardless. You don’t need science to tell you that. So, forget the “diagnosis” and brew away, without stressing about the details of the beans. Whether you choose a dark or light roast coffee – you’ll have the choice to make again tomorrow and the day after, anyway.