What Roast Of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine

What Roast Of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine?

Last updated on October 26th, 2023 at 13:04

That question, what roast of coffee has the most caffeine, is a very complex and difficult question to answer. It’s hotly debated and no matter what is said or claimed, it is correct both to say that a dark roast has more caffeine and a light roast has more caffeine.

It all depends on how your coffee is measured.


Then keep reading for the details!

What Roast Of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine?

It depends.

That is not just the quick and easy answer; it is surprisingly the factual and scientifically correct answer.

If that has piqued your curiosity, then keep reading.

Let’s get started by dispelling a very common coffee myth that dark roasted coffee has more caffeine due to the intense and stronger flavor.

That is of course false!

The amount of caffeine in a light roast or a blonde roast and dark roast and even the darkest of roasts, an Italian roast, are virtually equal.

The opposing view of a lighter roast like a blonde roast and the very rare white roast coffee beans are lighter in flavor and have more caffeine due to less caffeine being lost during the roasting process is not true either.

The maximum roasting temperature of 473F (245C) is well below the 600F (315C) needed to have a destructive effect on the caffeine.

Caffeine, due to the 315C (600F) temperature, is very stable during even the darkest of roasting processes and remains constant across all coffee roasts.

What Roast Of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine
Does Dark Roast Have More Caffeine?

Read: How much caffeine in Starbucks iced coffee?

Caffeine Content By Weight And Volume

Even though the caffeine content in coffee beans remains stable during the roasting process, the size and weight of the beans alter.

The longer that a coffee bean is roasted for the lighter that it will become due to the water content evaporating. Also, the longer coffee beans are roasted, the more the beans expand and the bigger they become.

This is what affects the caffeine content. Their size and their weight, and how you measure your coffee.

If you measure using a coffee scoop, you are measuring based on volume. Since a dark roast expands more during the roasting process than a light roast, there will be less dark roast coffee in your scoop than a light roast.

Due to the dark roast using less coffee beans to fill the scoop the caffeine content is reduced.

And thus, when you are measuring your coffee with a coffee scoop a light roast will have more caffeine due to a greater amount of coffee by weight being used. This can be demonstrated at home when you measure and weigh 10 level scoops of blonde roast and 10 level scoops of a dark roast coffee.

The blonde roast will be heavier, despite filling the same volume of 10 scoops. More coffee has been used and thus more caffeine.

If you brew your coffee at home using the best and most accurate way of brewing coffee, which is by weighing your coffee, you’ll find that a dark roast uses more coffee due to having less water weight due to a greater amount of the water content being lost through evaporation.

That minor detail means that more dark roast coffee beans are used to make 10 grams than blonde roast coffee for the same weight. This can be proven if you count 100 blonde roast coffee beans and count 100 dark roast coffee beans and weigh them separately.

You will find that your 100 light roast coffee beans are heavier than your 100 dark roast coffee beans.

You can continue the experiment and keep adding coffee beans to your dark roast until it reaches the same weight as the 100 light roast coffee beans.

Right there, in front of your own eyes, is proof that it takes more dark roast coffee to achieve the same weight as light roast coffee beans. Which means when you are measuring your coffee by weight a dark roasted coffee will have more caffeine.

That right here is your correct, scientifically and mathematically correct and definitive answer to what roast of coffee has the most caffeine. It depends on how you measure your coffee, with a scoop or by weight.

Caffeine Content By Weight And Volume
How You Measure Your Coffee Matters

Read: Best Starbucks drink for energy

What Affects The Caffeine Content Of Your Coffee?

There are many factors that affect the overall caffeine content of your coffee drink. The main factors are the temperature of your water, the amount of coffee used and the brewing methods.

Brewing Temperature

The brewing temperature affects the overall total caffeine content of your coffee beverage as hot brewing extracts the caffeine much more efficiently than cold water extraction.

Notably a cold brew coffee is highly concentrated coffee with a high caffeine content due to the coffee to water ratio and the long brewing time which is required for cold brew coffee.

The Coffee To Water Ratio

A very focused coffee to water ratio like a ristretto which has a 1:1 ratio or an espresso which has a ratio of 1:1.5 have a high concentration of caffeine, as does a cold brew coffee which uses a strong 1:8 ratio.

You can use this to make your coffee not only stronger in terms of caffeine content but in taste too. For example, altering your moka pot from the standard 1:10 to 1:8 will result in a stronger coffee.

The Brewing Method

The brewing technique used has an effect on the amount of caffeine extracted from your coffee grounds. Some methods like pour over, espresso, percolator, and moka pot are better at extracting the caffeine content than other techniques like a French press and drip coffee.

The Type Of Beans Used

Different types of coffee beans have different amounts of caffeine. Namely, and specifically I am talking about Robusta coffee beans and Arabica beans which make up 90% of all coffee sold worldwide.

Robusta coffee beans have as much as 1.8x to 2.25x more caffeine than their Arabica counterparts.

Frequently Asked Questions About What Roast Of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine?

Which Coffee Roast Has The Highest Caffeine?

There is not at all that much of a difference between coffee roasts of the exact same beans and brewing a cup of coffee using the same brewing method with just the roast being changed.

While dark roast coffee has a notably stronger taste, consistently it is a lighter roast that has a little more caffeine, with a blonde roast coffee having the greatest caffeine content.

The only exception to this is the rare and hard-to-find white roast.

This of course depends on how you are measuring your coffee; by scoop it is light roast that will have the greater caffeine content and hard to find white roast. If you are measuring by weight, a dark roast coffee and an Italian roast in particular will have more caffeine.

Which Coffee Roast Is Strongest?

The caffeine content of coffee beans is almost equal with very little difference between all roasts, even when comparing one extreme with another, a dark roast coffee with a light roast coffee for example.

Caffeine content should not be the reason you select one roast over the other. However, a blonde roast coffee bean has slightly more caffeine than a dark roast.

If it is a strong coffee in terms of taste that you are looking for, a dark coffee roast will be better suited for you. In terms of caffeine content, as I stress a lot through this article, it depends on how you measure your coffee. If you are measuring by weight, a dark roast will have more caffeine due to a greater amount of the water having evaporated.

If you are measuring by volume, by scoop a light roast will have more caffeine. This is due to the expansion of dark roast while roasting and taking up a greater area.

What Coffee Is Best For Caffeine?

The coffee bean that is best known for its caffeine content is the robusta coffee bean. Robusta coffee has on average from 1.8 to 2.25x as much caffeine as an Arabica coffee.

Thus, if you are seeking a particularly strong coffee, and are using a coffee scoop to measure your coffee, a blonde robusta coffee will give you a good caffeine kick. If you measure by weight, a dark roast robusta coffee will be a better choice.

Read: Which coffee has the most caffeine?

Which Roast Has Least Caffeine?

A whole host of peer-reviewed studies indicate that dark roast coffee beans have a slightly lower caffeine content than light roast coffee beans. The difference, though, on a per-weight basis, is minimal.

Getting to the core of the science on a per-weight basis a dark roast has more caffeine due to the coffee beans having less water weight and a greater amount of coffee used.

However, when you weigh on a per-volume basis, due to being slightly smaller, a light roast will have more caffeine due to taking up less space and getting more coffee in the scoop.

Is Blonde Roast Stronger?

A blonde roasted coffee is only slightly stronger in terms of caffeine content than a dark roast coffee only if you are using a coffee scoop to measure your coffee.

If you are measuring by weight, the opposite is true, a light roast will have slightly less caffeine.

The difference, in almost all cases, with all other variables being equal, is so little that your body will not notice the extra stimulation.

Is Dark Roast Stronger Than Medium?

No, the difference in terms of caffeine kick between a dark roast is even less than a dark roast and a medium roast. A dark roast is notably stronger, deeper and more intense of a flavor than a medium roast with only a tiny amount of caffeine less.

Of course, how you measure your coffee depends on which roast has the greater caffeine content. By volume, the lighter roast has a minimal amount of extra caffeine; by weight it is the darker roasts.

Final Thoughts – What Roast Of Coffee Has The Most Caffeine?

If you have read this far, you know exactly how to answer that question of what roast of caffeine has the most caffeine and how to answer it correct much better than your average coffee lover or coffee enthusiast.

If you are looking for the quick answer, you really need to scroll back up and get the details because it 100% depends on how you measure your coffee.

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Derek Marshall, a certified barista by the Specialty Coffee Association possesses over two decades of experience in specialty coffee shops. He holds professional certifications for coffee brewing and barista skills. Derek is also an author with authoritative books covering various coffee topics including specialty coffee, sustainability and coffee, coffee brewing, coffee recipes, coffee cocktails and books focusing on Brazilian coffee, Vietnamese coffee, Indonesian coffee and Malaysian coffee. As a barista for over two decades, Derek Marshall has worked in specialty coffee shops across the United Kingdom, Spain, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. His expertise extends to the distinct coffee cultures, specialty beverages, and brewing techniques of each nation. Functioning as a coffee consultant, Derek charges US$50 per hour. To learn more about Derek Marshall and Latte Love Brew, visit his About Me Page. For coffee inquiries, contact him at +34-639-410-375 or Derek@LatteLoveBrew.com, mentioning your name and location

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