Everything You Need to know About Blonde Roast Coffee

Are you a fan of blonde roast coffee, or are you unfamiliar with both the benefits and the drawbacks inherent to the lightest coffee roast?

This article contains everything you need to know about blonde roast coffee beans and the coffee drinks they produce, including the full scope on how they look, how they are prepared, how they taste and what makes light roasts different from medium and dark coffee roasts.

Blonde roast coffee, interchangeably referred to as light roast coffee, tends to divide people into two camps – those who prefer it and those who would always choose a medium or dark roast coffee before it. Do you already know which camp you belong to? Whether you do or you don’t, there is bound to be plenty of new information here for you to take into consideration.

Without further ado, let us get right down to it.

Light roast coffee – our top picks

If you are looking to try blonde roast coffee for yourself, we have got a few suggestions for you. They are:

  1. Optimist Light Roast available from Lifeboost Coffee. A low-acid, premium blend, the Optimist Light Roast is among the lightest coffee roasts you are ever likely to try.
  2. Blonde Espresso Roat available from Lifeboost Coffee. Delicious Arabica coffee from the Nicaraguan rainforest, featuring interesting flavor notes including cherries. The ideal blonde coffee roast for espresso and beyond.
  3. Light Roast Indian Instant Coffee available from Waka Coffee. Not one to be missed, the Light Rost Indian Instant Coffee is made from 100% Arabica Beans grown in India, and characterised by hazelnut and chocolate flavor notes, which are uncommon for light roast coffees.

What defines blonde roast coffee beans and how blonde roast coffee differs from medium and dark roast coffee

For the purposes of this article, let us assume that you are not yet at all familiar with light roast coffee. Let us fill you in.

Appearance

Visually, blonde roast coffee beans are milk chocolate in color, but they are not necessarily easy to distinguish from medium roasts. There is no clear, universally agreed-upon cut-off point at which a blonde roast becomes a medium roast – just as there is no clear, universally agreed-upon cut-off point at which a medium roast turns into a dark roast. 

Roasting process

The reason why blonde or light roast coffee beans have a lighter shade than medium and dark roasts is that the beans have been roasted for a shorter amount of time. If you were to compare coffee bean roasting to cooking a steak, blonde roast coffee beans would be a very rare steak while dark roasts would be nearly charcoaled. 

The roasting process that produces light coffee roasts is differs from the roasting process that produces medium and dark roasts. First of all, the temperature is lower – to produce a dark roast, the coffee beans need to be roasted at temperatures ranging between 437-446°F, whereas the ideal temperature for producing light roasts is between 355-400°F. When coffee beans are being roasted, they tend to crack at approximately 400°F, and for lighter roasts, you want them right on that edge, where the beans are only barely cracking.

Caffeine content

Most people would probably assume that light roast coffee contains less caffeine than darker roasts, the opposite is actually true. 

Coffee beans, before they are roasted, naturally contain caffeine in very large quantities that are then released, to a degree, during the roasting process. Essentially, some caffeine is always excreted and therefore during the roasting process, but because light roast coffee beans are only lightly roasted, and at lower temperatures at that, light roasts contain more of their original caffeine.

Other nutrients

What is true for the caffeine contents found in light roast coffee beans is also true for other nutrients. 

During the roasting process – particularly, if the roasting is done at temperatures exceeding 400°F – the coffee beans secrete oils, which contain caffeine as well as some of the many other nutrients that contained in coffee beans. 

In their original state, all coffee beans are decidedly packed with nutrients and antioxidants, which is also why coffee is beneficial, when enjoyed in reasonable quantities. Coffee does not only taste good, it can also be a healthy part of a balanced everyday diet. 

Simply put, light roast coffee beans simply maintain more of their original antioxidants and nutrients, while the darkest roasts out there are bound to contain only minimal amounts of antioxidants and nutrients.

Flavor

Now we get to the truly exciting part – the flavor. Both light, medium and dark coffee roasts are capable of yielding a flavorful cup, but how do does the coffee flavors and mouth feel vary depending on whether light, medium or dark roast coffee beans were used to brew your espresso, latte or Americano?

Of course, there are great variations between different blonde coffee roasts, but generally speaking, light roast coffee beans and coffee drinks are known for their soft mouthfeel, mellow flavor profiles and light bodies. If you like your coffee bright, mild and fruity, you are going to love blonde roast coffee. 

Light roast coffee is suitable as a base for any of your coffee favourites, from espresso, via latte, to Americano, Cappuccino and so forth and so on. However, it is important to be mindful of the inherently mild flavor of blonde roast coffee, which can sometimes be overwhelmed in milk coffee recipes.

Want to learn how to spot a good versus a bad cup of blonde roast coffee right from the get? Assuming the the answer is yes, this is how to do it. A good cup of blonde roast coffee is going to contain light, fruity and sometimes citrus-like taste notes, and the overall taste and feel of the coffee is going to be light, bright and mellow. A bad cup of blond roast coffee can be easily identified by its grassy, watery taste. 

If you are a lover of the intense, slightly bitter, often sweet caramelly, chocolatey and brown sugary flavors than are characteristic of darker coffee roasts, you might find light roast coffee to be a bit of a letdown, as these deeper, darker, sweeter flavor notes are mostly missing from light roasts.

Health benefits of blonde roast coffee

Yes, indeed, drinking blonde roast coffee comes with certain health benefits, and these are very much worth knowing about! After all, is there anything better than enjoying a delicious and indulgent cup of coffee in the morning, knowing that it doesn’t only taste good, it is good.

All right, let us get specific. These are the noteworthy health benefits of light roast coffee.

More antioxidants and nutrients

We have already touched on this earlier on in this article, but it bears highlighting here: Blond roast coffee contains many more antioxidants and nutrients than medium and dark roasts.

In other words, if you are looking to get in as many nutrients and beneficial antioxidants as possible on a daily basis, this in and of itself could be a good reason to consider switching some of your regular medium or dark roast coffee for blonde roast.

Less inflammatory

Because of the many antioxidants found in blonde roast coffee, lighter roasts are less inflammatory than darker roasts. This is great news, particularly if you have been avoiding coffee due to inflammation.

Who blonde roast coffee is perfect for

Blonde roast coffee is the most divisive coffee roast there is, no doubt about it.

While just about any coffee lover can get onboard with a medium or a dark roast coffee, not everyone enjoys the light body and light, fruity, even flowery flavor notes of lighter roasts. If you are someone who prefers their coffee dark, intense, bitter or sweet, light roast coffee probably isn’t your jam.

Blonde roast coffee is ideal for people who often find the intensity and the bitterness of darker roasts to be too much. It also goes without saying that light roasts are more beginner-friendly, simply because the taste is more mild and less typically coffee-like.

Light roast coffee is also a great coffee to have in the morning if you are health conscious and want to kickstart your day not only with plenty of caffeine, but also plenty of beneficial nutrients as well as antioxidants. By the same token, blonde roast coffee is also ideal to have just before a workout, for an extra boost of energy.

Blonde roast coffee FAQ

Is blonde roast strong coffee?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. 

In terms of nutrient and caffeine content, blonde roast coffee is higher in both than darker roasts At the same time, blonde roast coffee tends to taste more mellow and less intense than dark roast coffee, which can easily leave the casual coffee drinker the impression that blonde roast coffee is in fact milder than dark roast coffee when the opposite is true.

Does blonde roast coffee have more caffeine?

Yes, blonde roast coffee beans and coffee drinks have a higher caffeine content than dark roast coffee beans and coffee drinks brewed on darker roasts. 

The reason for this is that the roasting process causes some of the nutrients, including caffeine, found in coffee beans to evaporate. It follows that blonde roast coffee preserves more nutrients and caffeine, since the beans are only roasted lightly and for a much shorter period of time.

Is blonde roast hot?

Just like medium and dark roast coffee, blonde roast coffee can be served either hot or iced.

Is blonde coffee less bitter?

Yes, blonde coffee tends to have fewer bitter flavor notes than medium and especially dark roast coffee. 

There is a simple reason for this: The bitter flavor notes found in some coffee roasts are caused by the roasting process. When blonde roasts are made, the beans are roasted for a much shorter amount of time, which means that the beans are burnt less, and thus have less time to develop bitter flavor notes.

What’s the difference between blonde roast and medium roast?

What sets blonde and medium roast coffees apart is simply that medium roasts have been roasted for longer. 

A blonde roast has one been very lightly roasted, while a medium roast has been roasted for a little longer than that. Having said that, there is no official cut-off point that separates blonde and medium roasts.

Is Blonde espresso at Starbucks strong?

Yes, the Blonde roast espresso at Starbucks is significantly stronger than the Original espresso. 

To be exact, one ounce of Starbucks Blonde espresso contains 85mg caffeine, while a corresponding one ounce of Starbucks Original Espresso only only contains 75mg. If you want even less caffeine, go for Staruck’s regular black coffee, which has somewhere between 7.5 and 25mg caffeine per ounce.

Is blonde roast stronger than pike?

Starbucks prepare and sell a number of different coffee roasts in-house, including the popular Blonde Roast and the Pike Place Roast.

Starbucks’ Blonde Roas is characteristically light, smooth and mellow, while the Pike Place roast is a medium-dark roast, which means it has less caffeine and less acidity, but a stronger, bolder and more bitter flavour.

Does blonde coffee taste different?

Absolutely, blonde roast coffee tastes markedly different from darker roast coffees. 

The lighter the roast, the more light-bodied and mellow the flavor of the coffee is going to be. By the same token, the darker a roast is, the more intense and bitter the flavor is going to be. You might prefer the softer, smoother taste and mouthfeel of lighter coffee roasts, or the intensity, richness and slight bitterness of darker roasts might be more to your liking. Remember that when it comes to coffee, there is no right or wrong, only personal preferences.

Takeaway

You have made it to the end of this article, and we certainly hope that you have learned something new about coffee roasts broadly speaking, and about blonde roasts in particular. 

Blonde roast coffee tends to be more divisive than darker roasts – you either love it or dislike it. This in itself should be enough reason for you to order a blonde espresso next time you are at Starbucks, or alternatively to pick up a bag of blonde roast coffee beans next time you shop. Who knows, you just might discover a whole new dimension of coffee flavors to fall in love with.

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