Can’t decide between light and dark roast because both contain more caffeine? What is the truth about which roast contains the most caffeine?
And more importantly, how does roasting affect caffeine in the first place?
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So, which coffee roast contains the most caffeine?
None. Caffeine levels are the same across all roast levels. The only factor influencing whether you use Arabica or Robusta coffee beans.
The only distinction, and it is hazy, is that the coffee beans expand slightly during the roasting process. As a result, the same amount of caffeine is present on a larger surface area, ground down for brewing.
Darker roasts may end up containing 1% less caffeine than lighter roasts. But you’d have to be a huge coffee fan to insist on that.
Still, it’s something you’ll hear over and over.
To further understand where all of this foolishness originated from, let’s take a look at some of the fallacies around caffeine levels and roasting.
Myth: Light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast coffee.
No, it does not. The main culprit here is the widespread belief that the size of a coffee bean changes dramatically during roasting.
It does change the size, but only slightly. It does less than when ground coffee blooms and even that isn’t much.
This means that light coffee, which is supposedly smaller than dark coffee, has more caffeine per surface area than dark coffee.
This means more caffeine when you grind your coffee.
Light and dark roasts are nearly identical in size and caffeine concentration, demonstrating that this is not true of light and dark roasts.
Even so, some people will believe it and insist that they are correct.
But there is one exception.
Light roast beans are typically very flavorful, and as such, Arabica beans are used. Because these beans have half the caffeine content of a Robusta bean, you could argue that light roast has lower caffeine content.
However, you’d have to be extremely picky about it.
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Caffeine is a solid substance that does not easily burn off.
Another reason light roasts do not have more caffeine than dark roasts or dark roasts have more caffeine than light roasts is because caffeine is solid.
This means that if you set it on fire, it will have difficulty catching fire and then burning off.
Consider this. You’ve got a bag of freshly ground coffee beans that are highly caffeinated.
If you leave the same bag open for a year, it will lose its flavors. Caffeine, on the other hand.
Caffeine is a very tough substance that will not dissolve and then evaporate. It can extract into your coffee, but if you let it evaporate for a few days, you’ll find a sticky mess at the bottom.
Because of the sugar, it will be sticky. Also, it will stink because of the spoiled proteins and fats in the milk.
And it will be hard, with a thin layer of caffeine on top. So it’s not going away.
Roasting coffee will not destroy the caffeine in the bean.
Why do some people believe dark roasts have more caffeine?
Okay, but what about that other ridiculous myth about darker roasts having more caffeine? Why do some people believe this?
It primarily has to do with the flavor of a dark roast.
It usually tastes like toffee, dark chocolate, or even burnt toast.
Which tastes very similar to pure caffeine. Caffeine is bitter on its own, but you won’t distinguish it in coffee.
Dark roasts have a harsh, strong flavor associated with strong coffee.
But why is this the case?
For the most part, people do not train their taste buds, which is difficult to do when you have a drink as strong as a cup of coffee.
It appeals to all tastes.
So, what do most people associate with coffee? Of course, they don’t have the best coffee, but they do have good coffee, which is what they (and I) grow up associating with a highly caffeinated coffee.
Some argue that stronger coffee equals stronger flavor. And, to some extent, it is, depending on what you’re looking for.
There’s also the fact that stronger-tasting coffee typically contains more Robusta beans, which are the strongest-tasting beans available.
They’re almost too powerful, but they have their moments.
They also contain twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans, which have a milder flavor.
As a result, we’ve grown up associating harsh coffee with strong coffee, and we’ve unconsciously decided that it’s more caffeinated.
In reality, the darker roasts aren’t more caffeinated; they resemble Robusta more and, as a result, taste like a very caffeinated cup should, in our opinion.
But how do you get a stronger, more caffeinated cup of coffee?
No, you don’t. Instead, add more coffee to the water, keeping in mind that you will most likely need to adjust the brewing time.
I only recommend using a filter or French press coffee because it allows longer steep times.
If espresso isn’t cutting it, consider switching to a drip filter, if only for the caffeine kick.
To get more caffeine, try a different brewing method.
One thing to consider is that some coffee brewing methods extract more caffeine than others, or at least better.
This is because a longer steeping time allows coffee to release everything required.
Unless you’re making cold brew coffee, you don’t need to wait long. There, you’ll need 12-18 hours of the steep time to finish extracting everything.
So, which method of coffee brewing provides the most caffeine?
Aside from the cold brew, there’s also the French press. It is recommended that you steep your coffee for a sufficient amount of time at the temperature of your choice, as this will release the majority of the caffeine.
There’s also Turkish coffee, which allows you to steep the coffee as much as you want.
There’s also filter coffee, which can be dripped or poured over.
Both methods contain more caffeine than a single cup of espresso.
When you buy pre-roasted coffee, the package will contain much information. Some of it is useful, such as where the coffee comes from and when it was roasted, and some of it is a little pointless and difficult to prove, such as the caffeine content.
Only roasts mixed with Robusta beans or purely Robusta beans contain more caffeine.
Which is not something that many people would willingly consume.
Still, it’s something to consider when deciding on a roast for your coffee.