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What is light roast coffee?

What is light roast coffee?

All of our coffees at Balance Coffee are lightly roasted – but what does that mean, and how does light roast coffee taste different? In this post, we explain why we love light roast coffee, and why it has become so popular with speciality coffee roasters.

What is light roast coffee?

To answer this question, we first have to explain what happens when you roast coffee beans. They are originally green, and when roasted they turn brown. During the roasting process, the coffee beans reach an internal temperature of 205 C and then crack. Light roast coffee beans are beans that have just barely reached the first crack.

Lightly roasted coffee beans are a light brown colour, and have little to no oil on the surface. But they’re not just visually different to dark and medium roast beans – they also taste different! They tend to have a crisp acidity, mellow body, and bright flavours, as well as a light and silky body. They are more subtle than medium or dark roasted beans, and retain the unique characteristics of the coffee.

Why is light roast coffee so great?

Speciality coffee roasters like us love lightly roasted coffee because of the unique flavours we can get out of the coffee beans. It would be a shame to have speciality-grade single origin coffee beans and then not make the most of their subtle flavours! Lightly roasting the beans also means that the beans are highly aromatic when ground. Freshly ground coffee always smells good – but when it’s also lightly roasted, you’re in for a whole different experience!

Light roast coffee is also particularly good for people who might be new to the world of coffee. It tends to have a lower body than medium and dark roast coffee, which means it feels lighter in the mouth. It’s also usually less bitter than dark roasts, and often has sweet flavour notes such as fruits, teas, chocolate and more. Nothing could be further from stereotypical dark, bitter coffee!

Why do we love light roast coffee?

Why do we love light roast coffee?

But the flavour isn’t the only reason why we love lightly roasted coffees. Being able to light roast the beans shows that they are very high quality. This is because dark roast coffees are generally roasted so dark because they can mask low-quality flavours. In the past, coffee roasters would ‘roast away’ the less desirable flavours to create a more uniform coffee. It was a good way to improve low quality beans. But now that speciality-grade coffees are more prevalent, coffee roasters don’t have to mask the flavours anymore. Instead, the flavour of origin is celebrated with a light roast.

Finally, lightly roasted coffee beans are great for experimentation. Dark roast beans tend to end up making coffee that tastes the same, no matter how you brew it. Light roast coffee beans are much more versatile – you can get so many different flavours depending on what brew method you use, how long you brew the coffee for, and how finely you grind it.

How to find great lightly roasted coffee

You can find incredible lightly roasted coffee right here! All of our coffees are light to medium roast, as we believe in celebrating the natural flavours of the coffee bean. You’re more likely to find a lightly roasted coffee from a speciality roaster, as speciality-grade beans are better for a light roast. Furthermore, lightly roasted coffee will usually be labelled as such on the packaging, along with other information such as place of origin and altitude.

All of our coffee beans are light to medium roast - light roast coffee

All of our coffee beans are light to medium roast

If you buy coffee from a speciality roaster or shop and you’re not sure how the coffee has been roasted, then just ask! Coffee roasters and baristas are almost always happy to answer any of your questions.

How best to drink light roast coffee

You can enjoy lightly roasted coffee however you like! It is delicious when iced, because it makes a sweet cold coffee. However, it also makes an incredible espresso, and works well when brewed in a Chemex, Aeropress, and more. Many of our coffee recipes are best made with light roast coffee.

If you want to learn more about lightly roasted coffee and how it differs from medium to dark roast coffee, head to our other blog post!


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