Does Roasting Coffee Affect Caffeine Content?

Does Roasting Coffee Affect Caffeine Content?

You want to cut down on your caffeine consumption.

Or maybe you want to do the opposite and try to find the most caffeine-packed coffee roast you can! To achieve your goal, you might think you have to buy a lighter or darker coffee roast.

Why is caffeine content associated with the type of coffee roast?

It’s easy to think that a lighter roast will be lighter on caffeine, while a darker roast will have more caffeine content.

An example of this can be seen in how we view espresso coffees. These are dark and rich in flavor, so we think they will have more caffeine than other types of coffee, and they do (via Consumer Reports) but it’s because of many factors, not just the roast!

So, Do Darker Coffee Roasts Contain More Caffeine?

So, Do Darker Coffee Roasts Contain More Caffeine?

When you see darker coffee beans, you might assume that this means they have a stronger caffeine content. But is this true?

No!

Although it’s easy to think that dark roasts will have more caffeine and taste stronger, this is actually a myth. The caffeine that you find in coffee won’t change during the process of roasting it.

Although coffee beans do undergo many chemical changes when they are roasted, this does not affect their caffeine content. So, the amount of caffeine they have before the process will be the same afterwards.

When it comes to different roasts, what changes during the roasting process is how the coffee tastes.

Earlier, we mentioned that an espresso has more caffeine than some other types of coffee and this is true but the factors that contribute to this include how it’s brewed as well as the coffee beans that are used.

That said, there is one instance when the coffee roast will influence the  caffeine content of coffee: how you measure coffee will change the amount of caffeine in it. If that sounds weird, let’s break it down.

Basically, if you choose to measure caffeine content by weight, both light and dark coffee roasts will have the same amount of it. If, on the other hand, you decide to measure it by scoop, a lighter coffee will have a bit more caffeine than a darker one. Why?

This is because the beans are denser than those in a dark roast, as Kicking Horse Coffee explains, and because darker roasts are roasted for longer and this causes their mass to lessen.

Now you know! 

What Type Of Coffee Contains The Most Caffeine?

As you already know, there are some coffees that will have more caffeine than others. But there are two main types of coffee that are really popular: robusta and arabica. Which one has more caffeine?

Let’s find out!

  • Robusta coffee: This type of coffee first came about in central and western sub-Saharan Africa, and is the second most popular coffee in the world. Robusta coffee has an earthy taste, but it also has a grainy and bitter flavor, as well as a nutty aftertaste.
  • Arabica coffee: Although this coffee originates from Ethiopia, it’s the most popular coffee to consume globally. Arabica coffee has a sweet taste, with tones of berries and sugar. It’s higher in acidity than Robusta coffee.

Now, the amount of caffeine that they contain is as follows: one Arabica bean will have 1.9mg of caffeine while a Robusta bean contains 2.9mg, so Robusta is definitely the winner when it comes to the most caffeine content!

The Differences Between Light, Medium, And Dark Roast

The Differences Between Light, Medium, And Dark Roast

So, we know that their caffeine content is pretty much the same, but what are the differences between the different coffee roasts?

Light Roast

Light roast coffee is light brown in color. Coffees that are made from lightly roasted beans are slightly acidic with vibrant flavors.

The beans don’t have any oil on them and you’ll find that light coffee roasts tend to have a mellow body. Their unique traits are preserved during the roasting process. Examples of light roasts include Half City and Cinnamon.

Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee beans have an oily appearance and they’re brown in color.

They have medium acidity and rounded flavors. Medium roasts are loved by many coffee drinkers because they’re less intense than light roasts. Examples of medium roasts include American and Breakfast.

Dark Roast

Dark roast coffee beans are dark brown in color and they also have an oily appearance.

While dark roast coffees have low levels of acidity, they do provide deeper flavors. They work well with other flavors too, such as caramel and chocolate. Examples of dark roasts include Italian, French, and High. 

How Does Roasting Coffee Change It?

The Differences Between Light, Medium, And Dark Roast

While their caffeine content will stay the same, there are many changes that coffee beans go through during the roasting process.

Ultimately, roasting coffee is important because it is what brings out its flavor. By choosing different roasts, coffee roasters can choose what flavors they want to bring out of the coffee.

The more coffee is roasted, the more its fruity compounds are broken down. When sulfuric compounds are increased, this is what gives coffee a lovely burnt flavor. 

Chemical changes that occur during the roasting process are triggered by the high temperatures that are used. After the beans have been roasted, they are cooled down quickly so that the process comes to an end.

One of the most important chemical reactions that occur is the Maillard reaction.

When coffee is roasted at very high temperatures, this causes carbonyl groups from sugars and amino acids to create flavor and aroma compounds – hundreds of flavor compounds are formed in this way, as American Chemical Society reports.  

Can You Get Decaf Versions Of Different Coffee Roasts?

Can You Get Decaf Versions Of Different Coffee Roasts?

If you drink decaf coffee, you might wonder if you can find decaf varieties of light, medium, and dark roasts. You certainly can get decaffeinated coffee beans that have been roasted and that display all the different roast levels to suit your favorite coffee flavors. 

The process of decaffeinating coffee beans involves being careful, as decaf beans are more susceptible to heat. They also have a darker appearance than regular coffee beans, which can be misleading.

You might’ve assumed they would have been much paler in color than caffeinated beans, huh?

When making decaf coffee, the goal of coffee roasters is to ensure that the caffeine is eliminated from the coffee beans without allowing them to lose their delicious flavor.

Here are some of the best decaf light, medium, and dark roasts to try if you’re a coffee lover but need to keep your morning cup the decaf variety.

Café Don Pablo’s Colombian Decaf

This light roast coffee is mellow and flavorful, with low levels of acidity. To make it even more delicious, it contains notes of citrus, cocoa, and caramel. As a bonus, it’s free of GMOs.

Koffee Kult Colombian Decaf

This medium roast has had its caffeine removed with water, so that means no chemicals have been involved in the process. The beans are 100-percent Arabica.

Kirkland Signature Dark Roast Fine Grind Decaf Coffee

This coffee comes from Colombia and is full of flavor.

It’s regarded as some of the highest-quality decaf coffee you can purchase, being featured in lots of reviews of the best decaf coffee, while also being convenient because it’s so finely ground you won’t have to pop it in the coffee grinder before use.

Related Questions

Are light coffee roasts healthier than darker ones?

Research (via Journal of Medicinal Food) has found that lighter roasts tend to contain greater amounts of antioxidants than darker roasts, which makes them healthier to consume.

Which beans are cheaper: Robusta or Arabica?

Robusta coffee beans are cheaper, and this is as a result of how they can handle tougher growing conditions which makes it more cost-effective to produce as well as sell these beans. 

Conclusion

Which has more caffeine: light or dark roast?

If you’ve ever purchased a certain coffee roast in the hope that it had less or more caffeine, after reading this article you now know that how coffee is roasted doesn’t affect its caffeine level.

Light, medium, and dark roasts will all have the same amounts because roasting coffee doesn’t increase or decrease its caffeine content.

After exploring more information about coffee roasting and caffeine, we’ve also provided you with some of the best decaf coffee in various roasts, so you can enjoy a decaf cuppa without missing out on the flavor profiles provided by all the coffee roasts.

Whether you’re a light, medium, or dark roast aficionado, there’s a decaf coffee for you.

Last Updated on November 12, 2020

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