Fire Department Coffee
Hands holding some dark roast coffee beans

Dark Roasts: Properties, Myths & the Best Dark Roast Coffee

July 11, 2021

Are you thinking of joining the dark side?

Dark roast coffee is a deeper-tasting alternative to light roasts, and it might very well be what your taste buds have secretly been craving.

However, there are still a few coffee myths around it, so let’s shine a light on dark roasts together.

What is dark roast coffee?

Dark roast coffee consists of beans that have been roasted between 430 and 450°F and for longer than light and medium ones.

While roasting them for too long past the second crack can actually spoil them, the fact that dark roasts reach it means that the trapped oils can break free from the center of the bean. 

That’s why these roasts have a darker brown and shinier, oilier surface!

As for flavor, because they’re roasted for so long, they lose many of the beans’ natural characteristics, but don’t worry: whatever they might lack in brightness and coffee acidity, they definitely make up for in body thanks to those oils.

You might have already noticed that dark roast coffee has a stronger, richer-tasting body, and even results in deeper flavors with sweeter chocolaty and caramel tones.

Interested? Discover more about the differences between light, medium and dark roasts in our simple, jargon-free article.

Some dark roast coffee beans in a cup

Does dark roast have more caffeine?

Here’s the shocking news: no, dark roast coffee hasn’t got more caffeine than lighter roasts. Technically? It’s the other way around!

While caffeine levels aren’t actually affected by the roasting process, the beans’ mass is. This means that:

  • Light roasts become denser, so they’ll have more caffeine if you’re measuring them by scoops;
  • Darker roasts come out of the roaster with a smaller mass, so they’ll have more caffeine if you measure them by weight.

Well, what does this actually mean for you? 

To be honest, the difference is minimal. 

However, if you usually add two scoops of grounds per person to your coffee maker, you’ll get slightly more caffeine when using a light roast.

Is dark roast coffee more bitter?

Yes, dark roast coffee is more bitter than lighter roasts. That’s simply how the roasting process works: while acids are broken down first, bitter notes are among the last. 

This means that lighter roasts don’t get there, but dark roasts (which, as we’ve already established, are roasted for longer) unlock most of these notes.

If you’re personally not a fan of hints of bitterness in coffee, then switching to light roasts can be the easiest bitter coffee fix for you.

Which is better: light or dark roast coffee?

Whether light roast coffee is better than dark or vice versa really depends on your personal preference:

  • If you like fruitier and brighter coffee that retains most of the beans’ unique characteristics but has a thinner body, then you could say that light roast coffee is better;

  • If, on the contrary, you prefer a stronger body and deeper, more bitter flavors, then you should definitely stick to dark roasts.

The best dark roast coffee: Fire Dept. Coffee’s recipe

Being firefighters as well as coffee roasters, you can trust us: we know the importance of saving something from burning!

While some of the dark coffee out there has been roasted for so long that it ends up tasting like bitter sadness, we know exactly when to stop.

That’s why we make the best dark roast coffee to ensure a full-bodied, rich, and flavorful taste.

From our signature blend made with high-quality Indonesian beans to extra-strength options with double the usual caffeine, you’re guaranteed to find the best dark roast coffee for your palate!



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