So you’re standing there at your local coffee shop, thinking about which coffee you’re going to order. Typically you see Light, Medium and Dark Roast available. You know you have a favorite, but as you patiently wait to order you start wondering how are these really different? What does light, medium and dark roast actually mean?

Sure, you’ve tried the different styles and know which one you like the best, but do you know what makes your favorite roast so special to you?

Before most of us started here at Contigo, we didn’t know either. But since we pride ourselves on being beverageware experts, we quickly learned. We want to know as much as we can about the stuff that goes inside our travel mugs so that we can continue to design and engineer awesome vessels to enjoy those experiences.

The first thing we learned was just because it says dark roast coffee doesn’t mean that it has more caffeine than a lighter roast. In fact, scoop for scoop, the opposite is true. So don’t think that darker coffee is going to give you the jolt you need to get out of that afternoon slump. The second interesting tidbit is that the darker the roast, the more the original flavor of the bean goes away.

Light Roast Coffee

Light roast coffee tends to be tan or light brown. Its light color comes from being roasted at a lower temperature point. The coffee tends to taste more acidic than darker roasts. While that might not sound appealing to everyone (drinking acid, pass), the coffee exhibits more of the “origin” of the bean. That’s coffee lingo for the processing, location, soil content and weather conditions of the bean that come through in the flavor.

Medium Roast Coffee                                                                                          

As expected, medium roast will have a darker color than a light roast. The acidity will start to not be as forward in the flavor as it gets more balanced by the roast. The roast itself will allow for a fuller body of flavor while still being able to taste the unique “origins” of the coffee.

Dark Roast Coffee

Dark roasts will be dark brown and in some cases almost black. The aroma and flavor from the roast are evident as the roasting process creates a fuller body than the other roasts. Most of the coffee’s origins are gone, as the roast has fully taken over Flavortown. This roast has a reputation for being the most bitter option, and that’s because most of the time it is!

One sentence summary: The lighter the roast, the more you taste the coffee bean; the darker the roast, the more you taste the roasting process.

So now you’re a coffee expert. Go and brag to your friends about how much you know about coffee. Or sample the different roasts and put your new found knowledge to the test!

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