What's The Difference Between Light, Medium, and Dark Roast Coffee?

Coffee lovers around the world appreciate the diverse range of flavors and aromas that coffee can offer. One of the primary factors that influence a coffee bean’s flavor profile is the roast level. In this article, we'll explore the key differences between light, medium, and dark roast coffee, helping you make the perfect choice for your taste buds.

Light Roast Coffee

Light roast coffee, like Cherry Blend’s Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, is known for its light brown color and mild, delicate flavor profile. The beans in a light roast are roasted for a shorter duration, thus preserving some of the elements of the bean that are diminished as the bean is roasted for longer. Here are some distinctive characteristics of light roast coffee:

Acidity: Light roasts typically have a higher acidity, providing a bright and lively taste. This is often described as a "crisp" or "zesty" flavor.

Floral and Fruity Notes: Light roasts often feature floral and fruity notes, making them a favorite among those who enjoy a more complex flavor.

Crisp Aromas: The aromas of light roast coffee are subtle and often include notes of flowers, fruit, or nuts.


Medium Roast Coffee

Medium roast coffee, like Cherry Blend’s Colombia RA Excelso, is a balance between lighter and darker roasts, with a medium brown color and a more rounded flavor profile. Here's what you can expect from a medium roast:

Balanced Flavor: Medium roasts strike a balance between the acidity of light roasts and the body of dark roasts. They are often described as having a well-rounded flavor.

Aromas: The aroma of a medium roast is richer than a light roast. Depending on the type of bean, this can result in hints of nuttiness and a mild sweetness.

Versatility: Medium roast coffee is a versatile choice, suitable for those who enjoy both traditional and specialty coffee.


Dark Roast Coffee

Dark roast coffee beans, like Cherry Blend’s Tanzania, Mt. Kilimanjaro, are roasted for a longer period, resulting in a rich, dark brown to almost black color. Dark roast coffee has a very distinct flavor profile:

Low Acidity: Dark roasts have minimal acidity, resulting in a smoother, less tangy taste.

Bold and Robust Flavor: The longer roasting process brings out bold, often smoky, and earthy flavors. Depending on where the bean is sourced from, you may detect hints of cocoa and roasted nuts.

Full-Bodied: Dark roast coffee has a full-bodied, thick mouthfeel that many coffee enthusiasts appreciate.

Bittersweet Aromas: Aromas in dark roast coffee lean towards dark chocolate, caramel, and toasted bread.


If you enjoy bright, fruity, and floral flavors, opt for a light roast. For a balanced, versatile option, go with a medium roast. If you prefer a bold, smoky, and full-bodied brew, dark roast coffee is the way to go. When choosing between light, medium, and dark roast coffee, consider your taste preferences. 

If you’re unsure of which to try, give one of our Cherry Blend Coffee Roaster team members a call at (330) 483-5297 or send us an email and we’d be happy to help you pick some roasts to try! We also offer a full sample pack which includes fourteen different coffees and individual smaller sample packs of light, medium, dark, and decaf sample packs.

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