Until someone explains it to you, it’s also too easy to be misled about what different coffee beans mean. The qualities of light, medium, and dark roasts are not at all intuitive. The roasts get their categories from the length of the roast and the color of the roasted beans, so it’s hard to argue with the nomenclature. But before you rush to judgment and as a way to dislodge misconceptions about coffee roasts, here is a list of the 5 most common myths.
- Dark roast has more caffeine.
Most people think the lighter color means lighter caffeine, but the exact opposite is true. A longer roast creates a rich, robust flavor, but it also reduces the caffeine content. Lightly roasted coffee beans maintain more density and naturally occurring caffeine.
- Light coffee roast is less complex.
At a lower temperature for a shorter time, light roasts keep more acidity and flavor from their origin. In contrast, dark roasts emphasize the roast profile rather than the flavor of the bean. The coffee’s flavor is indicative of the roaster’s ability to create a sweet, decadent taste with a less complex profile.
- Strong coffee is created during the roasting.
Contrary to popular belief, coffee strength is determined by the ratio of grounds to water during the brewing, NOT during the roasting. The person behind the coffee machine determines whether the coffee will be strong or weak. Just because a dark roast may taste bitter doesn’t necessarily mean it’s stronger.
- Espresso is its own special kind of coffee roast or bean.
Espresso gets its telltale strength from the brewing process. Beans are ground finely to be used in the preparation of espresso, which is created using a highly pressurized, specially-designed machine with finely ground coffee beans. It can be brewed with light, medium or dark roasted coffee. Any roast can make for a delicious cup of espresso. It comes down to personal preference.
- Bold coffee is the same thing as dark roast.
Here, too, the boldness depends on how the coffee is brewed. Simply enough, for a bold cup of coffee, you’ll need a higher coffee to water ratio when brewing. What makes it bold is the fact that there’s more coffee jammed into that one cup, giving it more caffeine and a stronger flavor. But again, a bold cup of coffee can be made with light, medium or dark roasted coffee.