Attributes of Light Roast Coffee

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Apart of cream and sugar, it is often the most important preference: Light Roast Coffee or Dark Roast Coffee? Generally speaking, coffee drinkers who opt for light roasted coffee like it for its natural, earthy tastes and for the absence of burnt or smoky flavors that are often evident in darker roasted coffees. The amount of time spent roasting has an effect on many of the coffee bean attributes:

Natural Coffee Bean Flavors

Most origin coffees have very distinctive flavors due to the soil, growing conditions and altitudes. These gourmet coffee beans are highly sought after because of their unique earthy flavors and roast masters are careful to maintain the integrity of the flavors. As coffee beans are roasted, they lose their natural flavors and take on the flavors of the roasting process. This is why coffee beans with appealing and unique flavor attributes are roasted for shorter periods of time, as to maintain their original flavors. Some of these original “earthy” flavors include fragrant, fruity, nutty, sweet, wild or winy. If you are looking for a coffee bean without the smoky or burnt taste of many coffees, light roast coffee beans are the best option.

Higher Acidity Levels

Light roasted coffee beans are said to be more acidic than darker roasted coffee beans. This is because the roasting process caramelizes the natural sugars, fats and starches in the coffee beans. The higher acidity levels make light roast coffees taste dry in the back of your mouth. A light roast coffee can have a sharp, bright or lively taste whereas darker roasted coffee beans can have a flat taste.


Light roast coffee beans are said to have higher levels of caffeine. This is because the roasting process burns off caffeine. Since light roast coffees are roasted for the least amount of time, they maintain most of their original caffeine levels. However, it is said that these higher levels of caffeine are due to measurement methods and that there is a minimal difference in caffeine.

A Light Body Coffee

The body of a cup of coffee is a confusing attribute to understand. A coffee drinker can use the concept of drinking water compared to drinking cream. Water is fairly light in your mouth while cream is rich and heavy in your mouth. Light roast coffee beans have a lighter body whereas a medium roast coffee bean has a well-balanced body and a dark roast coffee bean has a heavy body.

Color and Appearance of Light Roast Coffee Beans

Green coffee beans are raw and non-roasted. The heat in the roasting process changes the coffee beans from their original green color, to yellow, light brown and finally, dark brown. A quick way to judge the roast of a coffee bean is to simply look at a color. A lighter coffee bean has spent less time being roasted. The heated roasting process also brings out the oils in the beans; a light roasted coffee bean will be less oily or shiny.

Buying Light Roast Coffee Beans

Perhaps the light, non-oily and natural flavors of light roast coffee beans perk your interest. When shopping for light roast coffee beans, look for beans labeled as Light City Roast, Half City Roast, Cinnamon, New England Roast or American Roast.

Popular Light Roast Coffee Beans:

Yemen Arabian Mocca – the natural chocolaty and fruity flavors if this high altitude coffee are preserved through the light-medium roasting process. Ethiopia Yirgacheffe – considered the best of east African coffee beans and highly sought after, it is sweet, fragrant and smooth bodied thanks to its light roast. Mexican Spirit of the Aztec – featuring a delicate acidity in its light roast with its fine aromas and smooth finishes.

“Attributes of Light Roast Coffee” courtesy of your online coffee bean store: Gourmet Coffee Beans


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