Light Roast Vs Dark Roast Coffee: What’s the Difference?

Whether you are a new coffee lover or you’re a long-time coffee enthusiast, creating the perfect cup of coffee for your taste buds is key. Light roast and dark roast are the two popular roasts that consumers enjoy, but what is the difference between the two? 

What is Light Roast Coffee?

Light roast coffee is a delicately roasted coffee variety that captures the intricate nuances of the coffee beans' origin. Characterised by its light brown hue and dry surface, light roast coffee beans undergo a shorter roasting process that preserves their original flavours, resulting in a vibrant and complex taste profile. 

With heightened acidity and floral, fruity notes, light roast coffee offers a crisp mouthfeel and a captivating aroma that reflects the distinct qualities of the beans' growing region. Ideal for those who appreciate the subtleties of coffee's natural flavours, light roast coffee embodies a refreshing and nuanced coffee experience.

What is Dark Roast Coffee?

Dark roast coffee has a bold and robust character, achieved through a longer roasting process that transforms coffee beans into rich, dark brown gems with an oily surface. The extended roasting time caramelises sugars and intensifies flavours, resulting in a cup that exudes smoky, roasted, and often earthy notes. 

Dark roast coffee showcases lower acidity, delivering a smoother, full-bodied taste experience with a depth of flavour that resonates with those who savour a more intense and slightly bitter coffee profile. 

The aromatic allure of dark roast coffee is unmistakable, offering a strong and lingering fragrance that encapsulates the soulful essence of a well-developed roast.

The level of roast has a significant impact on the flavour, aroma and characteristics of the resulting coffee. Here's a breakdown of the differences between light roast and dark roast:

Colour and Appearance

Light Roast: Light roasted coffee beans are typically light brown in colour and have a dry surface. The beans may still retain some of their original oils.

Dark Roast: Dark roasted coffee beans are much darker in colour, ranging from a medium to dark brown, and have an oily surface due to the longer roasting process.

Flavour Profile

Light Roast: Light roasts preserve more of the original flavours and characteristics of the coffee beans. They tend to have brighter acidity, more floral and fruity notes and a lighter body. The flavours are often described as more complex and nuanced.

Dark Roast: Dark roasting tends to diminish the original nuances of the coffee beans and introduce more roasted, caramelised, and sometimes smoky flavours. The acidity is generally lower and the body of the coffee can be heavier.


Light Roast: Light roasts often have a more pronounced aroma that highlights the specific fragrances of the coffee's origin. The aromas can be floral, fruity, or even tea-like.

Dark Roast: Dark roasts have a stronger and more pungent aroma, often with hints of roasted and earthy tones.

Caffeine Content

Light Roast Vs Dark Roast: Contrary to popular belief, light roast coffee beans generally contain slightly more caffeine than dark roast beans. The longer roasting time of dark roasting can cause some caffeine to degrade.

Body and Mouthfeel

Light Roast: Light roasts typically have a lighter body and a crisp, clean mouthfeel. The flavours are more distinct and can be more dynamic.

Dark Roast: Dark roasts tend to have a heavier, fuller body with a more pronounced mouthfeel. The oils on the surface can contribute to a slightly thicker texture.


Light Roast: Light roasts usually have a higher level of acidity, which contributes to a bright and lively flavour profile.

Dark Roast: Dark roasts have reduced acidity, resulting in a mellower and smoother taste.

Ultimately, the choice between light roast and dark roast comes down to personal preference. If you enjoy the original flavours of the coffee beans and prefer a more complex and acidic profile, you might lean towards light roasts. 

On the other hand, if you prefer a bolder, more robust flavour with less acidity, you might opt for dark roasts. It's also worth noting that the quality of the coffee beans themselves, their origin and the roasting process all play significant roles in determining the final taste of the coffee.

Here at Esquires, a successful coffee franchise, you can be sure that every cup you enjoy with us is Fairtrade certified, 100% organic and delivered with no compromise on quality, price or convenience. 

We apply artisan care to every stage of our coffee’s journey, with immense respect for every bean we grind, pour and serve. So, with every sip, you can taste the love that’s gone into it. Find out where your local Esquires store is to experience it for yourself!