Light roast coffee beans

Understanding Light Roast Coffee: Properties, Flavor & Strength

July 11, 2021

Traditionally snubbed until a fairly recent epiphany (but still plagued by unfair coffee myths), light roast coffee is finally getting the recognition it deserves!

If you’re excited to learn more about it and discover what makes it different from darker roasts, you’re in the right place.

Let’s start by answering the most important question:


What is light roast coffee?

Light roast coffee consists of beans that have been roasted for less time than medium and darker options, just about reaching the ‘first crack’ (which is what happens when they pop and expand) between 356 and 400°F.

Since they’re roasted for less, they preserve most of the unique characteristics of each type of bean. That’s great news for your taste buds, especially if you enjoy trying to identify different coffee notes!

Coffee beans

As for appearance, light roast coffee beans are paler in color and, unlike darker roasts, haven’t got an oily surface.

For a proper comparison, check out our article on the difference between light, medium and dark roast coffee.

What does light roast coffee taste like?

Fruity and vibrant, light roast coffee tastes a lot brighter than other roasts thanks to its high acidity. 

Far from being a negative property (when it comes to roasts, at least), coffee acidity simply refers to the flavor characteristics derived from the beans’ acids.

However, this also means that, if you have a particularly sensitive stomach or suffer from problems like ulcers, it might not be the best choice for you. In that case, we recommend darker roasts instead.

Finally, light roasts have a more mellow and thinner body than medium and dark alternatives.

Some light roast coffee beans next to other types of roasts

Is light roast coffee less bitter?

Yes, light roast coffee is less bitter than medium and, especially, dark roasts.

This is because, in coffee, bitter flavors are unlocked towards the end of the roasting process.

Since light roasts are roasted for less time, they don’t really get there.

If that’s something that you’re particularly sensitive to (perhaps you usually complain because your morning cup tastes a bit burnt?), it’s definitely the best choice for you: switching to light roast coffee is literally one of the easiest and most popular bitter coffee fixes.


Does light roast have more caffeine?

Yes. Despite the widespread coffee myth of dark roasts being stronger, it’s actually light roasts that have more caffeine!

We’ll be honest, though: it really depends on how you measure it, since caffeine levels remain stable during the roasting process.

  • Light roasts are denser: if you measure them by scoops, they’ll have more caffeine. For example, if you usually use two scoops of grounds to brew coffee, the final cup will be slightly stronger with a light roast;
  • Dark roasts have a smaller mass: if you measure them by weight, they’ll have more caffeine.

The best light roast coffee: Fire Dept. Coffee’s popular blend

If you’ve decided to try this brighter type of beans, you can’t go wrong with the best light roast coffee, always roasted to order by our passionate team.

Our light roast is made with the highest-quality beans from sustainable farms in Colombia and Honduras.

From its distinctive aroma to the smooth body and the stronger caffeine punch, the Fire Dept. Coffee light roast is guaranteed to help you start the day right.



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