Coffee and Coffee Beans

Coffee: What do the different roasts really mean?

by Cheryl Moreo


As an Indiana farm child, coffee meant my mother brewing (more like cooking) it in an old aluminum pot on the back burner of our gas stove. By the end of the day, it looked like dark brown sludge and smelled bitter. It’s no wonder that I started drinking hot tea instead. My hot tea in those days had a more than ample amount of sugar.

About the time I left home, Mr. Coffee brewing pots appeared on the scene. I discovered that I liked coffee with lots of cream and, yes, lots of sugar.


Today, I enjoy making a cup at a time in a Keurig machine. I use a light roast with some cream, a little salt, and no sugar. My husband brews a decaffeinated medium roast coffee in a Mr. Coffee pot.

I really didn’t know what “light” roast really meant. Did it mean less caffeine and/or lighter flavor?

Maybe I should research this.


I listen to audiobooks daily. In the “Goldy Bear Culinary Mystery Series by Diane Mott Davidson” audiobook series, Goldy was always drinking both warm or iced espresso from her espresso machine to keep her going on her caffeine high so she could solve the current murder mystery. I thought, well, that must be good stuff.

Never mind, I should reduce my caffeine intake. Because I was still curious, I started trying different blends of K-cups for my Keurig machine. The more I tried, the more confused I became over the terms light, medium, medium-dark, and dark roasted.


As a result of my research, this is what I have learned. The terms refer to the roasting temperature and the amount of time the beans are roasted. But, the light roast (the one I have been drinking) has a slightly higher amount of caffeine by volume than the other three. As the bean is roasted, the bean gets lighter in weight, and the bitter oils are released, resulting in a bitter denser, darker bean.

Remember the question our elders used to ask: “What weighs more a pound of feathers or a pound of bricks?” Well, the answer was neither, as they both weigh a pound. However, you have a lot more feathers per pound than you do bricks. That is how coffee roasting works.


The bean is stored green and then gets roasted. Because the bean becomes denser and starts to darken as the moisture is removed and the oil releases, a light roast bean has a higher concentration of caffeine and weighs more than a dark roast bean resulting in fewer beans per pound and slightly more caffeine.


Light roast is just barely roasted, so it is light brown in color and retains more caffeine, and the oils do not get released, leaving a milder flavored coffee. It weighs more than the following roasted beans and has slightly more caffeine.

Medium roast is a medium brown color with a stronger flavor than the light. This is what most Americans prefer.

Medium-dark roast is a rich, dark color with some oil on the surface and leaves a slight bittersweet aftertaste.
Dark roast results in a dense, shiny black bean with the oil being released and bitterness.


Here is the link to the “Coffee Roast Guide.” (Blog talks about a video at the bottom of the blog, but there isn’t a working link.)

Here is the link to the “Coffee Roast Guide.” (Blog talks about a video at the bottom of the blog, but there isn’t a working link.)

Roasting is a heat process that turns coffee into the fragrant, dark brown beans we know and love. Why roast? Roasting brings out the aroma and flavor that is locked inside the green coffee beans. Beans are stored green, a state in which they can be kept without loss of quality or […]

via Coffee Roast Guide — Fans coffee Jakarta TEMPAT


Since I originally wrote this article, I have started following the Keto Lifestyle. Check out my article on Keto to find out how I now prepare my coffee.

What is your favorite roast? How do you drink your cup of deliciousness? Reply below.

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