Strength vs. Roast

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A blog answering the commonly asked question: Is a darker roasted coffee a stronger coffee? 

Customers often ask us: "is a darker roasted coffee a stronger coffee?"

The word ‘strength’ has two variations in the coffee industry. Firstly, it can describe the amount of caffeine contained in a coffee. 

This is what you need to know, there are two varieties of coffee bean (Robusta and Arabica), Robusta has about double the amount of caffeine as Arabica (on average, Robusta has 2.7% caffeine, where Arabica has 1.5%).  You should see this for yourself by purchasing one of our Robusta coffees and experience the highly charged caffeine kick!

 ‘Strength’ can also refer to the flavour or how much ‘bite’ the coffee has. Each coffee is different and requires varying degrees of roasting to bring out its best flavours. One type of coffee may require a light roast such as the Colombian Veracruz, whereas another coffee may require a darker roast like the Indian Monsoon to bring out its best and unique flavour notes. 

A darker roasted coffee generally has more of a ‘bite’ to its taste as more of its natural oils are created and allowed to be released (the darker the roast the oilier the beans). This may give the impression of a ‘strong’ coffee. As the beans are roasted darker, tasting notes closer to cocoa, toffee, caramel, charcoal or smoke are developed. But it is not ‘stronger’ coffee. To summarise, darker roasted coffee will usually taste bolder and may give the impression of being a stronger coffee due to its taste, but it won’t be any stronger as far as the caffeine content is concerned.

This brings us to coffee blending. Some roasters may blend xx% of Robusta coffee with xx% of Arabica coffee. Depending on the proportion of Robusta to Arabica in the ‘blend’ of coffee, a varying degree of strength will be determined. 

As we are solely a single origin coffee roaster, you will be able to tell if your morning brew is 1.5% caffeine or 2.7% by simply following the rule of thumb of, Robusta = ‘Stronger’ in terms of caffeine, whilst a darker ‘roast’ of Arabica beans = ‘stronger’ taste.

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