Roasted Coffee & The 'Dark' Debate

With the world of superior coffee being vast and complex, it was only a matter of time before opinions became divided. One particular contention, which has lasted for many years, is that of 'dark roasted' coffee beans.

For some people - a dark roast is what coffee is all about. With its discernable 'strong' and 'bold' coffee taste, any other roast level just doesn't doesn't seem on par. 

For many others - by taking coffee to a dark roast level, the unique origin characteristics are no longer identifiable and the coffee beans are wasted.

Why would you want to spend money on premium beans if it tastes the same as the coffee from the supermarket??

  • So, where did this difference in opinion come from?

    In a nutshell - advertising.

    It is thought that years of instant coffee TV ad's focusing on descriptions of, 'Strong, Intense Flavours' and 'Extreme Roasts', has massively influenced perceptions.

  • Why would coffee companies want to influence roast level preference?

    When you consider the impact of a roast level on the flavours present in your beans, it becomes more clear.

    If consumers have a preference for dark roasted coffee, the quality of the beans used in the making wouldn't have any importance. They would all taste the same anyway.

    So, if you used low quality beans and roasted them really dark, the sub par characteristics could be completely masked.

    As the beans are essentially - burnt - all you have to do is repeat this process to replicate the same flavours with little effort but high consistency.

  • Quality Coffee Beans

    For this reason, when it comes to premium and speciality coffee, some have a preference to avoid darker roasts in favour of light and medium profiles.

    For those flavour profiles which dictate a darker roast level, this is still completed way before it is 'over roasted'. The flavour is supposed to be enhanced,by the roast, not dominated.

  • The Roast Is Dictated By The Beans

    As speciality coffee beans come with a 'premium' price, it is argued that by roasting too dark, you can no longer taste the variations and diversity of the beans. So, by carefully considering the flavours of the beans and selecting their roast profiles accordingly, each batch can be balanced and appreciated in its full complexity.

    When you consider the extremely hard work our coffee farmers put in to cultivating their superior crops, if all coffee tastes the same 'strong' and over roasted flavour then all this effort is lost.

So, which side of the debate do you sit on? Are you an extra dark fan, enjoying the dependable bold taste?

Or do you prefer to let the origin of the beans dictate the roast level?

To give an indicative look at the variances in roast profile, we have put together a quick reference guide for each roast level. This illustrtates the impact on flavour, acidity and bitterness.

  • Roast Level & Impact