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What Is Dark Roast Coffee? (You’ll Be Shocked)

What Is Dark Roast Coffee? (You’ll Be Shocked)

Dark roast coffee is made from coffee beans that are roasted longer than the other coffee beans. This results in a richer and fuller taste.

You must have seen people discussing different coffee drinks that they love or hate. Some hate the bitter-tasting coffees like espresso and some hate sweet coffees like affogato. Some live for the sweet taste of light roast coffee and some absolutely adore the bold flavor that comes with dark roast coffee. Either way, everybody has their own preference.

So, today, we’ll discuss everything there is to know about dark roast coffee.

Let’s begin. 

What Is Dark Roast Coffee?

They are raw coffee beans that are roasted for a longer time than others. They have low acidity, a richer body, and a dark flavor profile.

Coffee is not so simple. There are hundreds of things that make that ‘aromatic cuppa’ that you enjoy every day. There’s just so much that coffee has to offer.

You see, each factor can determine a different taste. Like if you brew coffee for long it can get bitter, if you add too many coffee grounds, it will be sour yet too strong. So things like these are very delicate features of brewing coffee.

One such thing that we’re talking about today is dark roast coffee. You must be familiar with this term or would have at least heard about it in a coffee shop. Coffee that you see comes from a plant like any other food we consume. The coffee plant grows and makes fruit which we call coffee cherry.

The raw bean is often referred to as green coffee. This green coffee has a very high level of chlorogenic acid and other coffee compounds. The chlorogenic acid is responsible for the high antioxidants content that coffee contains. This is not what we know as coffee.

What happens is that this raw green coffee gets roasted, and the longer it’s roasted, the darker the bean gets. Dark roast coffee beans are ones that have been roasted more than the others. Thus, this is named dark roast coffee.

So, simply put, dark roast coffee is just raw green coffee beans that have been roasted for a really long time.

Have a look at this video where they explain the difference between roasts.

How Is It Different From The Other Type Of Roast?

Dark roast coffee is different from other roasts in, taste, look, and aroma. For one, it’s the one that’s roasted the longest, and because of that, it’s a lot bolder in taste and looks a lot darker.

Coffee has a lot going on. From different roast levels to various types of coffee beans, it can get a bit confusing if you’re new to this. But it’s not that difficult. There are three types of roast, which are:

  • Light Roast
  • Medium Roast
  • Dark Roast

You might see some other kinds of roasts floating around in the grocery like light blonde or medium-dark but those are very small batches and are mid-level roast between each roast level usually referred to as specialty coffee. So, for the most part, these are the only three kinds of roasts that coffee beans have to offer.

Light Roast Coffee

As the name suggests, this is the initial type of roast that the coffee beans go through. The temperature that it’s roasted at is about 350 – 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This is the initial roast where the water doesn’t even evaporate and they don’t even pass the ‘first crack’ stage.

These coffee beans have a high acidic content because the coffee compounds like chlorogenic acid and caffeine don’t get a chance to burn off. In the coffee community, lighter roast coffee beans are usually preferred for specialty coffee.

Medium Roast Coffee

Most people who prefer balanced flavors of coffee with sweetness enjoy medium roast coffee. You see, once the coffee bean has reached the light roast stage, if roasted for a little while longer, it makes a medium roast coffee.

The beans have a nice brown color with no oil visible on the surface. Medium roast coffee has a full body taste but it also preserves the flavors that come from its origin.

It is roasted to a temperature of 400-430 degrees Fahrenheit and usually a little beyond the first crack, but not all the way to the second crack. Since it has been roasted a bit longer, it has a sweetness coming from the dark caramel notes. It’s also less acidic and has a bit intense than light roast coffee.

a portion of all type of roast level of coffee beans.

Dark Roast Coffee

Now dark roast coffee is what most coffee shops use while brewing coffee. Once the coffee beans have reached the medium roast stage, if you roast it for some more time, you’ll get dark roast. This type of roast has dark chocolate and nutty notes with toasty and deep flavors.

When coffee beans are roasted to this level, it doesn’t contain any origin flavors but instead has more dark caramel notes. Acid has burned off by now and even the caffeine is less in dark roast coffee.

In the roaster, dark roast coffee reaches temperatures of 430-450 degrees Fahrenheit, if not slightly higher.

A cool fun fact: Did you know when roasters don’t have high-quality beans and are left with low-grade coffee beans, they roast them to dark roast level to make them have a uniform taste and aroma? And most people can’t even tell the difference.

Here I’ve prepared to highlight the difference of characteristics with their caffeine levels for regular coffee.

Roast LevelsAcidity LevelAverage Caffeine Content Per 8 oz CupTaste Profile
light roast80 – 90%60 mgacidic
medium roast40 – 50%56 mgintense & sweet
dark roastLess Than 10%51 mgcaramelly & dark

Is Dark Roast The Healthiest Type Of Roast?

Coffee, in general, is healthy but dark roast coffee is healthier because it has very little acid and caffeine while giving rich flavors of great coffee.

Coffee is one of the largest sources of antioxidants for Westerners. You can read about those antioxidants here if you’re interested.

By drinking coffee regularly, you can burn fat, prevent diseases like liver cancer, dementia, Alzheimer’s, and even type 2 diabetes. The caffeine in the coffee is responsible for giving you electrifying energy as well as elevating your mood as it activates serotonin – the happy juice.

But one thing to keep in mind is that you should not overdose on caffeine. The FDA suggests consuming only 3 to 4 cups of eight-ounce coffee a day, which is 400 mg total. If you don’t do that you might end up overdosing on caffeine. The symptoms would include:

  • Elevated heartbeat
  • Anxiety
  • Shortness Of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Depression

So, how healthy is dark roast coffee?

Dark roast coffee can be considered healthier than the rest. This is because dark roast is usually less acidic and contains less caffeine due to its prolonged roasting time. This makes it easier on your stomach.

But one thing I would like to mention is that caffeine content can get higher depending on how it was brewed. For example, an espresso shot contains more caffeine than a cappuccino. So in the context of volume and brewing method, you need to be mindful of that.

Therefore, in conclusion, dark roast is healthy other roasts.

a portafilter filled with coffee grounds

What Does Dark Roast Taste Like?

Dark roast coffee usually has this dark chocolatey slash toasty taste, sometimes with a hint of caramel.

Now with all that information about dark roast coffee, you must be intrigued as to how it tastes. After all, all major coffee chains use dark roasts quite commonly.

If you brew a cup of light roast and dark roast, you’ll notice the difference in taste instantly. By the time the coffee beans reach the dark roast level, the coffee oils are on the surface of the beans and the bean has shrunk in size. This condenses the flavors profile and makes it more intense.

You’ll get dark chocolate mixed with nuttiness. Also, richer flavor and aroma with dark caramel notes along with the toasty flavors.

My Two Cents

Dark roast coffee is very popular. But someone who is new to this can get confused very easily. The raw coffee beans get roasted at different temperatures and yield a different tasting bean. One such level out of three is a dark roast. You’ll find dark roast coffee available almost everywhere.

This roast level is achieved by surpassing the medium roast level. The dark roast entails a deeper and darker flavor profile with toasty chocolatey notes.

If you really want to know in even greater detail about coffee roasts, you can check out my other article here.

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