Does dark roast have more caffeine

Does Dark Roast Have More Caffeine? Busting a Coffee Myth

November 18, 2020

Does dark roast have more caffeine or is it actually light roast coffee that does? 

This seems to be a bit of a chicken and egg situation in the coffee community, with strong advocates on both sides. Luckily, though, it’s actually got a much simpler answer. 

Take it from a team who roasts coffee all day!

Does dark roast have more caffeine? 

Caffeine in different roasts

No, dark roast hasn’t actually got more caffeine than light roasts or any other roast. Boom! 

Caffeine levels are rather stable throughout the entire roasting process. It all depends on how you measure it:

  • If you measure coffee beans by scoops, light roasts have more caffeine because they’re denser than the beans that have gone through a longer and darker roast;
  • If you measure them by weight, darker roasts have more caffeine because of their smaller mass.

Potayto, potahto. At the end of the day, the caffeine levels are the same despite this popular caffeine myth.

So what’s the actual difference between coffee roasts?

Caffeine aside, there are big differences among light, medium and dark roasts, especially when it comes to flavors.

To give you a little overview, coffee starts out as green seeds: for them to turn into the brown beans that you’re used to buying, they must undergo both physical and chemical transformations, which is actually what the roasting process is all about.

The heat reduces the water mass of the beans, produces CO2 and other gases, makes them more soluble in water, and releases oils. 

Difference between coffee roasts

Obviously, as well as color and size, this affects the final flavor of your coffee.

  • Light roast coffee is roasted for less time than others, only up to the ‘first crack’.
    It retains most of the unique characteristics of the beans and is high in acidity, which means that it includes a wider range of flavors derived from acids.
    Light roasts do however result in a thinner body than medium and dark alternatives.
    As for flavor, they’re fruitier and more vibrant;
  • Medium roast coffee goes beyond the first crack, but doesn’t reach the second (spoiler alert: there’s a second crack!).
    Because they still retain most of the characteristics of the beans but also reach some of the sweetness of darker roasts, they have a more balanced profile.
    In general, they have medium acidity and a fuller body: a great compromise for those who are torn between light and dark roasts;
  • Dark roast coffee usually goes beyond the second crack.
    Because it’s roasted for longer, it loses some of the original characteristics of the beans, but it compensates for it in body and depth.
    Dark roast coffee develops richer flavors with sweeter notes.

The moral of the story? You should pick a roast depending on the type of flavor and body that you prefer rather than worrying about the ‘does dark roast have more caffeine’ dilemma! We promise that you’ll still get the strong caffeine kick that you’re craving either way.

At Fire Dept. Coffee we offer light, medium and dark roasts that are perfect to give you the right flavor nuances without compromising on caffeine. Trust us: we know how important it is!



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