When it comes to roasts, many of us tend to lean towards the extremes, i.e., light or dark. There are very few who prefer medium roasts. Let's talk more about this underrated and distinct roast waiting to be experienced.
The middle child of coffee roasts, medium roast, is famous for its wacky and delightful flavors. The medium roasts are usually are medium brown (duh) and have little to no oil on their surface, as opposed to the dark roasts, which have quite a bit. They're a sweeter and bolder, with a little more acidity than light roasts. Pretty much the balance that light and dark roasts miss out on.
In the world of "Speciality coffee," medium roasts are the fancy roasts, specially curated for the ones with great taste. By keeping the roast just perfect enough for the bolder and delicate flavors, the medium roasts have created a consumer base of their own. Pretty much known as the "gateway coffee', medium roasts are the middle ground between dark roasts and their strong flavors along with notes of fruits and nuts. But just because its "just right" in terms of a roast doesn't mean it possesses all the characteristics of dark and light roasts. Medium roasts can also range from tea-like mouthfeel to creamy, with acidity ranging from delicate to complex. In coffee terms, it's more balanced and round-bodied.
Let's get into the specifics of this roast.
First things first, what's a roast? Coffee is roasted to turn the raw green coffee bean into brown. It's pretty easy to tell between roasts just by looking at their color and texture. Because medium roasts are the best of light + dark roasts, they're less acidic and intense but can retain a coffee's natural flavor. This is also because medium coffee roasts are roasted at 400-430 degrees Fahrenheit, right between the roasting temperature ranges of light and dark roasts.
Fun fact, light roasts are roasted until a crack is heard, also known as the "first crack, medium roasts are roasted just a little longer, but not until you hear the second crack. The longer a bean is heated, the darker and lighter it becomes.
What about caffeine?
Now let's talk about the caffeine properties of the beloved medium roast. A popular belief is that since they're not roasted for longer periods of time, they might retain more caffeine. But this isn't true at all. Even the color of the bean has nothing to do with its caffeine content.
In general, lighter roasts have a little more caffeine than darker roasts if measured by volume. This is because light roasts are denser than dark roasts. Why? Cause during the roasting process, the beans puff up and lose their moisture. So while a scoop of a light roast may have 70 mg of caffeine, a scoop of a dark roast may have 65 mg, and a scoop of a medium roast may have 67 mg of coffee.
The actual difference between caffeine levels of all the roasts is negligible! That's right. All of them have pretty much the same amount of caffeine. To be specific, medium roasts may have a little more caffeine than light roasts but less than dark roasts.
The actual amount of caffeine depends entirely on the quantity and the brewing method of your coffee. Basically, a higher quantity of beans will always lead to a higher amount of caffeine.
Now, this begs the question, should you brew medium roasts in a specific way to get more caffeine out of them? What else can affect caffeine levels?
Instant, drip, and French press will always have less caffeine than a cold brew or espresso. So one could try making a cold brew to get the most amount of caffeine out of their roast. Pro tip: you must also pay close attention to the grind size, temperature, time, and freshness of the beans. As the coffee beans age, they tend to oxidize, leading to a change in flavor after the first couple of weeks. Fresh coffee = best flavors.
So the next time you consider buying some coffee, I highly recommend going for the medium roasts as it's a whole range of flavors and notes waiting to be explored.