Roast wars: dark vs. light roast

Roast wars: dark vs. light roast

A battle of the beans

For ages now there has been some lively debate about which roast type is supreme. This is no easy discussion and opinions can get quite heated! Or dare we say, roasted? Well, nevertheless, today we will examine dark roast and light roast coffee beans. These two roast types have been pitted against each other in such categories as which one has more caffeine, which one has more acidity, and which one is the stronger of the two roast types. If questions like these pique your interest in dark or medium-dark roasted beans, then check out our Dark Cozy or Cozy Commitment beans to give these roast types a try. But for now, let the battle of the beans commence!


What are roast types?

Let’s begin by learning a bit more about roast types. Coffee beans begin as hard little seeds inside of a coffee cherry. These hard, bitter, vegetal green seeds become the coffee beans we know and love when they are roasted. Though edible on their own, green coffee seeds aren’t so palatable, and so we roast the beans, which not only makes the beans easier to grind, brew, and enjoy, but also imparts them with a unique flavour and aroma palette. 

The different roast types are somewhat fluid but usually are based on when the first cracks appear on the surface of the beans when they are being roasted by a roast master. The cracks form when moisture builds up inside the green beans and bursts forth from the surface. 

Light roasts are usually coffee beans that are roasted until the first crack in the beans occurs. Lightly roasted beans are usually a light mocha brown and possess a flavour more akin to their place of origin. This means that a light roast from say, Guatemala will taste very different from a light roast from Ethiopia for example.

Dark roasted beans like our Dark Cozy beans are roasted to the second crack in the surface of the beans. Dark roasted beans are dark brown to black in colour and are coated with a layer of oil that coats the beans the more they are exposed to heat in the roasting process. This happens because the heat from the roasting process makes the moisture expand and force its way to the surface of the beans, this is also why the beans crack. 

While light roasts will taste very distinct, showing flavour and aroma palettes typical of their place of origin, most dark roasts will have a flavour and aroma palette akin to their roasting method. So a Guatemalan bean and an Ethiopian bean that have both been dark roasted will taste more similar than if they were light roasted. 

There are other roast types in between such as medium light and medium dark, like our Cozy Commitment beans. These varieties have a lot to bring to the table, but for today we will focus more on the two extreme ends of the roasting table; light roast and dark roast. The war between the other roasting types will be covered another day. Today the battle is all about light and dark, speaking of battles, let us find out which roast type has more caffeine...


Caffeine content

When it comes down to caffeine content when comparing these two roast types, there is a lot to consider. Many folks in the coffee world say dark roast has more caffeine because the beans taste stronger and bitterer. Not to mention the false association of espresso and its powerful caffeine kick and dark roasted beans. Meanwhile, other folks across the coffee industry say that the caffeine content gets burned away the darker a bean is roasted and thus light roasted coffee beans possess more caffeine. 

The truth is a bit more complex. To put it simply, the caffeine content is actually the same. But lightly roasted beans retain more mass and density than dark beans. Dark beans lose surface area and become brittle as they are roasted. This means that lightly roasted beans are generally higher in caffeine because of their higher density levels. But let’s assume you grind an equal amount of dark roasted beans and light roasted beans. Then the caffeine content will be pretty much the same. 

But what about espresso and dark roasts? This one is sort of a false association. Espresso's high caffeine content comes from the fact that the beans are ground incredibly fine and then packed very densely. The short, powerful blast of hot water used to pull an espresso shot produces a super-concentrated bit of coffee. 

Espresso is almost exclusively prepared from dark roasted beans but mainly because dark roasted coffee beans are far easier to grind into a fine consistency. The flavour, too, comes from the ultra-concentrated nature of the espresso shot, and the generally more bitter flavour palette dark roasted beans possess and are not necessarily because of the espresso's higher caffeine content.


Acidity levels

This is a contest that is much more clear cut. Light roasted coffee beans are the more acidic of the two beans. The reason is that certain naturally occurring chemical compounds in the beans remain in light roasts but get broken down the longer the beans are roasted. 

As oils, fats, and sugars from within the core of the bean escape to coat the surface of the beans, so too do some of the chemical compounds that cause a bean to be acidic breakdown, too. But while dark roasts will be far less acidic than light roasts, they run the risk of becoming too bitter instead. This isn’t true for our Dark Cozy dark roasted coffee beans, though!


Which one is stronger?

As these two roast types duel back and forth across the world of coffee, one thing is generally agreed upon by coffee lovers; dark roasts have a stronger flavour. “Light” roast can refer to more than just the colour of the beans. Light roasts will generally have a lighter, airier, fruitier, and more floral flavour palette when compared to darker roasted bean varieties. This makes light roasts a bit easier to drink, and for those who prefer a less hardy cup of coffee, light roasted beans are the way to go. 

But if you want to enjoy a cup of java that packs a bit more of a punch flavour-wise then don’t hesitate to choose dark roasted coffee beans! Dark roasted beans have a stronger flavour because more of the natural oils, fats, and sugars coat the beans and become infused into the coffee as it brews. 

The roasting process also leaves an indelible flavour mark in the form of the more toasty and smoky flavours and aromas that can be enjoyed with dark roasted coffee beans. Our Dark Cozy beans are a great example of delectable coffee beans, and so too are our Cozy Commitment beans. Though not dark roasted beans per se our Cozy Commitment beans still deliver an abundance of remarkable flavour. 


Dark vs light; who is the winner?

Luckily, anyone who enjoys an amazing cup of coffee is the winner! This is to say that at the end of the day it is a matter of taste and individual preferences when it comes to coffee bean roast types. 

We will say though, that those who are seeking a less acidic, stronger tasting, and certainly enjoyable cup of coffee then choose dark roasted coffee beans. If you are seeking an ideal dark roasted coffee bean, then look no further than our Dark Cozy bean. Our Dark Cozy has a full body, and an illustrious flavour and aroma palette featuring dark chocolate, cherry, and some smoky hints and notes. 

For those who want a bit of a milder take on the dark roast, why not try our Cozy Commitment beans. A deep, rich body that has notes of dried fruit, cocoa, and brown sugar. Cozy Commitment is a truly incredible bean to start the day with. Hopefully this battle has ended in victory for every coffee lover out there, and definitely for those in the market for dark roasted coffee beans. Happy brewing!



  • “Different Coffee Roasts (Light - Medium - Dark - Etc).” Home Grounds, 19 Feb. 2021,
  • HeyCozyffee Coffee Company,
  • “National Coffee Association.” NCA, 

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