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Medium Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee

Medium Roast vs. Dark Roast Coffee

When people come to my stand they often ask me for the strongest coffee.  This is a tricky question I reply.  Would you like the strongest tasting coffee or the strongest caffeinated coffee? They often rebut with… well dark roast has the most caffeine doesn’t it? Lets explore that by going through the roasting process.

During the coffee roasting process there are two areas of the roast that the roaster must pay careful attention to.  The first area is called first crack.  The second area is called second crack. 

As the green coffee roasts and becomes the roasted coffee we consume, it should reach first crack.  This is a sound the coffee bean makes similar to the sound of popcorn popping.  Typically the coffee is drinkable right around this time.  The roast can be stopped anytime here after to be consumed. From the beginning of first crack to the time first crack ends one may consider this to be a light to medium roast.

As the coffee beans continue to roast through they will reach a second crack.  The sound of second crack almost sounds like Rice Krispies in a bowl as you pour milk over them. This is when one may consider the roast to be transitory - moving away from the medium roasted range into the darker roasted coffee types.  The length of time one roasts through second crack determines the darkness of the coffee beans. 

Some people like their coffee burnt - this is extremely dark roasted coffee,  a “Charbucks Style Roast“.  I am not knocking this idea. Some company made a billion dollars roasting beans this way.  Just saying…

But back to caffeine and what happens during the roasting process. Contrary to popular belief, dark roasted coffee is NOT the most caffeinated.  During the roasting process, the caffeine burns off, and the longer you roast the coffee, the more the caffeine content drops.  The flavor of the coffee becomes more roasty and robust, but the caffeine vaporizes in the roast therefore leaving the coffee less caffeinated.

If you want the (strongest) most caffeinated coffee you should select a medium roast or a blonde roast.  If you are looking to take on the world, concur the day, or you just have a bunch of rambunctious children that you need to attend to This is the cup selection for you.

If you want the most pronounced, flavorful cup of coffee then a dark roast is the cup of Joe you're looking for.  A dark roasted delight does not have to be charred  or have a bitter taste, no that’s not it at all.  A dark roasted cup should dance atop your taste buds with a deep, rich flavor that leaves you yearning for another sip.  This is the intention of everyone who roasts dark coffee.

So if you want the strongest cup of coffee when you are making your selection you first need to decide what the word strong means to you, then choose accordingly. Can you tell that personally, I enjoy a darker roast?!

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