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Choosing Your Coffee Roast During the Annual Coffee Sale

How do you take your coffee? We talked with the owner of Hammerhead Coffee Roasters, Mitchell Steed, to learn about the differences between light, medium, and dark roast coffees. 

The Community Food Co-op’s annual coffee sale is around the corner, September 17 and 18. Get 20% off all coffee including bulk, prepackaged bags, and coffee drinks. Use this opportunity to stock up on favorites, or to try something new from our community-owned store.

Light Roast Coffee

Roasted for a shorter period of time, light roast beans expand less during roasting. Your bag of light roast may seem smaller than a bag of dark roast because of bean size! Some roasters, like Hammerhead, sell their bags by weight not by volume. So, despite the look of the bag, you’re still getting the same amount of coffee beans as someone buying dark roast. 

This roast is defined as more acidic, and those who move to light roast from dark roast often notice citrus notes. Defining a coffee’s origin and tasting notes is easiest at this stage, so many single-origin brews are light roast. 

Some argue light roast has the highest caffeine content because the caffeine dissolves along with the sugars during roasting, but the jury’s still out on that one. 

If you like light roast, try…

  1. Tony’s Coffee, Colombia Marco Fidel Lopez. Notes of orange blossom, vanilla, and melon.
  2. Pachamama Coffee Farmers, Ethiopia. Notes of lemon, jasmine, and milk chocolate.
  3. Tony’s Coffee, Ethiopia Bedhatu Jibicho. Notes of orange, pineapple, and grape.

Medium Roast Coffee

Roasted longer than a light roast, many say this roast is defined by sweet flavors such as vanilla. Medium roast is also the stage at which chocolate notes begin to shine. 

However, “the coffee is only as good as the green.” This means the origin of the coffee can determine the flavor and quality just as much as, if not more than, the roast. 

Even without a definitive answer on caffeine levels by roast, medium roast is in the middle! If you’re concerned about caffeine level, consider a medium roast. 

If you like medium roast, try…

  1. Hammerhead Coffee Roasters, Stout. Lovely, balanced flavor that is perfect for drip coffee or French press.
  2. Bellingham Coffee Roasters, Homebrew. Mellow sweetness accompanied by hints of chocolate.
  3. Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Coffee, Mind, Body, and Soul. Smooth and creamy with chocolate notes.
  4. Café Femenino, Peruvian. Notes of toasted caramel. 

Dark Roast Coffee

Roasted for a long period of time, the beans expand much more during roasting. This means you’ll need a higher volume of dark roast beans as compared to light in order to drink the same amount of coffee. 

This roast is often used for mixed origin coffees because the various flavors meld together as roasting goes on. Because of this, dark roast has a more consistent flavor than the other two.

Dark roast can be defined by a stronger, more bitter, and smoky flavor. This is great for pairing with cream and sugar. If you love diner coffee, this is your pick! 

Some people argue dark roast has the highest caffeine to sugar ratio because caffeine does not evaporate as rapidly as the sugar during roasting. As stated previously, this is a heavily debated argument. 

If you like dark roast, try…

  1. Hammerhead Coffee Roasters, Velvet Elvis. Full-bodied, well-rounded, and ultra smooth for great drip or cold brew.
  2. Moka Joe, Italiano. Bold, sweet, and intense. 
  3. Raven’s Brew Coffee, Double Dead. Double the caffeine with a rich, heavy body. 

Not into brewing your own coffee? Head to our deli counters to order a nice latte or to pour yourself a drip — 20% off September 17 and 18!