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Battle of the Beans: Light Roast vs. Medium Roast

Battle of the Beans: Light Roast vs. Medium Roast

If starting your day with the perfect cup of coffee sounds a little like heaven, you most likely pride yourself in knowing what type of beans went into your cuppa and exactly how you like them prepared. When it comes to coffee, we like what we like. The banter over which region grows the perfect bean calls for another cup of coffee and the following facts about light roast coffee versus medium roast coffee.

When you start your day with a good cup of coffee (or savor a cup in the afternoon), you are in good company. Half of the people in the United States over age 18 drink coffee every day, consuming more than 450 million cups. The average coffee consumer may enjoy three and a half cups of the magical brew every day!

How Important is the Roast to Coffee Flavor?

The Perfect Espresso Coffee in Bag

The roast is everything. Before roasting, coffee beans are green and have a grassy aroma – they don’t smell like coffee at all! There is a great deal of flavor in that green bean, and there are various scientific reasons why they end up tasting like the coffee we crave. But we will focus on how the different roasts bring out the aromas, flavors, and overall Zen that we need in our morning mug.

Stages to Roasting Coffee

  • Drying stage
  • Browning stage
  • Development or roasting stage

Every bean must go through a roasting process to bring out the desired flavors. During the browning stage, the Maillard reaction starts, which ultimately makes hundreds of different aroma and color compounds in the roasting beans. This is the point called the first crack, and it’s time to start developing the desired flavor profile and roast degree. The first crack and any subsequent cracks create a vital difference in the color of the roast and the flavor of the coffee that fuels your day.

Light Roast Coffee versus Medium Roast Coffee

Jars of Roasted Coffee Beans on Shelves

Whether you are drinking your coffee the healthiest way or stirring in a touch of cream and sugar, the roast degree of the coffee beans is the deciding factor of what will best enhance that blissful beverage. It is assumed that light roast coffee best brings out the character of raw coffee. It is easier to discern different light roast coffees from each other when served without additional enhancements, such as cream or sugar, which is more difficult with a darker roast.

Other Names for Light Roast Coffee Beans

  • Light City
  • Half City
  • Cinnamon Roast
  • New England Roast

Light roast coffees are more acidic and more commonly fruity flavored due to high amounts of an organic compound, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, which breaks down as the roast gets darker. Light roast coffee has bright floral notes, and, despite its density, the same amount of caffeine found in dark or medium roast coffees. (Don’t buy into the myth of more caffeine in darker roast coffees!)

The Profile of Medium Roast Coffee

Medium roast coffees are often a specialty coffee roaster’s favorite! They are considered more approachable because they are less acidic and intense and can showcase a wider variety of coffee’s natural profiles. Medium roast coffees are balanced, well-rounded, and slightly darker with a deep caramel sweetness if roasted longer.

Other Names for Medium Roast Coffee Beans

  • American Roast
  • Breakfast Roast
  • Regular Roast
  • City Roast
Bodum 34oz Stone Street French Press

Medium roast coffee beans are rich and light, making them perfect for a French press. Though we may get caught up in the hustle of our day and go for a quick drip, medium roasted coffee is best when steeped for four minutes or more. Medium roast coffee is light and easy to drink yet still complex without being too strong. Perfect for that everyday cup of joe!

Does Coffee Have Health Benefits?

While we may love to start our day with a hot cup of coffee to wake us up (thank you, caffeine!), there are other effects of drinking coffee that are beneficial to our health. Most of us think of it as the perfect beverage to regain focus and boost energy, but drinking coffee has other benefits that we may not be aware of.

Health Benefits of Coffee

  • May be linked to lower risk of type-2 diabetes
  • Linked to lower risk of depression
  • Could protect your liver
  • Supports heart health
  • Live longer (and enjoy more COFFEE!)

Health Benefits of Light Roast Coffee

Worlds Fair 1964 Coffee in Bag

Studies reveal that light roast coffees offer more antioxidants than darker roasted coffees. Light roast coffee contains higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid, which help protect against cell damage and inflammation in humans. To enjoy the greatest health benefits light roast coffee can offer, your brew is best served black!

Health Benefits of Medium Roast Coffee

Medium roast coffee may just be the perfect middle ground in body, flavor, and health benefits. Medium roast coffee also contains the powerful antioxidant chlorogenic acid (CGA) that gives coffee its health-boosting benefits. In addition to benefits in reducing inflammation, CGA can also lower cholesterol and improve your complexion. 

What Does Your Coffee Roast Say About You?

Whether you drink light roast coffee or medium roast coffee, your choice says you are a fan of great flavor! Some might say a medium roast coffee is more middle-of-the-road and non-committal, whereas a light roast coffee is a strong choice for a natural, bright, acidic flavor. What if you choose to mix up your AM Java from time to time? Now that is living for flavor!

It is quite possible that our coffee order says a lot about us. Black coffee drinkers may be single-minded and focused, while a latte drinker is just looking for something that tastes good without too much risk. Coffee is the most popular beverage in the world, so you are in fabulous company with anyone who shares your taste for deliciousness. 

Bring Quality to Your Everyday Coffee Experience

To fully experience all the benefits of a light roast coffee or a medium roast coffee, you must start with the freshest coffee beans. Artisanal quality coffee is what makes the difference in every cup of magic you wrap your hands around. When you are looking for quality, look for small batch roasting of the best coffee beans to be found!

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