What coffee roast level has the most caffeine?

What Coffee Roast Level Has the Most Caffeine?

Caffeine in coffee, delicious coffee… A common question I’m asked is, “What has more caffeine, light roast or dark roast?” There’s a lot of falsehood out there about caffeine and coffee. Like, “The darker the roast, the less caffeine,” or, “Light roast has more caffeine” — these statements are not true.

All Arabica coffee beans (what 100% of our coffees are made from)  have the same amount of caffeine in them. You simply cannot roast the caffeine out, no matter how hard you tried. If you did try, you would be left with nothing but ash (and ash doesn’t make for very good coffee). So here’s the scoop: it comes down to a weight vs. volume thing.

Visual of 40g light roast vs 40g dark roast

As the coffee goes through the roasting process, you roast the moisture out and the beans expand. Beans are roasted longer to get a dark roast, so the darker the roast, the more moisture is taken out, therefore taking more weight out of the coffee. This means it takes more dark roast to weigh out 40g of coffee than it does a light roast. So, using this method you may have a tiny bit more caffeine in your brew because you are using more dark roast to brew with.

Visual of 40g ground light roast vs 40g ground dark roast

Light roast coffee is more dense than dark roast, so if you use the same volume of dark roast as you do light roast when brewing your coffee (for instance if you typically use a coffee scoop), you are using less coffee with a dark roast, therefore less caffeine, if that makes sense.

Happy brewing!

Get to know Patrick Dinkins, Cameron’s Roastmaster and Certified Arabica Q Grader.

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