Roast Types

July 23, 2020 • 5 min read

Roast Types


When you need a cup of joe, and we’re talking now, a pot of coffee is a pot of coffee. As long as it isn’t sludge, right? But a hardworking team shouldn’t have to choose between great taste and convenience. You deserve the best to keep you sharp, and that starts with selecting the right roast.

Now, choosing the perfect roast can be a little tricky– some compromise might be involved when it comes to a communal stockpile. But it’s always good to know your options. Muertos Coffee Co. is owned and operated by firefighters for our service community and those who support us, and we want to help you pick the perfect roast.

Not at all coffee is the same. Sometimes, the only option is the mud in your work’s coffee pot and that’s as good as it’s going to get. With Muertos, you don’t have to compromise on taste or quality. We’ve sourced some of the finest coffee from the world’s best growing regions and did it in a way that won’t hurt your wallet. Our coffee will keep you sharp, tastes great and is founded on a strong social cause. Remember, not all coffee is the same and you get what you pay for.

Everyone has their own unique pallet. What’s light, floral and fruity to some, might be too watery and bland for others. What might come off as smokey, bitter and over roasted to others, might come off as strong, bold and perfect to others. Choosing something for the entire group is a different story, some compromise is needed but we’ve spent countless hours trying to blend the perfect Medium and Dark Roasts to accommodate the needs of an entire crew.


There are three main types of roasts, from lowest roasting temperature (around 395°F) to highest (just under 485°F). These are:

• Light roast coffee
• Medium roast coffee
• Dark roast coffee

There’s no standardization throughout the coffee industry that dictates how people label their products. One roaster’s medium might be another’s dark if they’ve got a soft touch. But the beans don’t lie. When heated to specific temperatures, they “crack” and pop as moisture vapor is released, and that’s a good indicator of how far along they are in the roasting process. One crack, or none, will result in a light roast, while a second full crack will get you dark coffee.

But you don’t need to know how to roast coffee beans since we’re taking care of all that for you in this case. From a consumer point of view, color, flavor, and texture can signal what’s in your cup.


Light roast vs. dark roast coffee has been a recent struggle in the market. The two tastes are far apart in every way, so there’s no overlap if you prefer one, but can’t stand the other. There is something so refreshing about a light roast, though.

Light roast beans see the lowest temperatures and are lightest in color. They brew up as slightly more acidic, meaning light roasts can irritate unfamiliar stomachs.

A cup of light roast coffee has a sharp flavor without being very bitter, tastes toasty or nutty, and is pretty fragrant. They have a lot of wiggle room for individual flavor because a true roasted flavor hasn’t set in yet.

It’s described as “light-bodied” or mellow, meaning it feels light and somewhat thin on the tongue, with no oiliness.


Medium might seem like a compromise where light vs. dark roast is concerned, but it’s really the best of both worlds. Everyone should be able to find a medium roast they can enjoy.

Medium roasts are simultaneously mild and bold — the flavors of roasting start to seep in, which are reminiscent of caramel and bittersweet chocolate. Imagine a good cup of diner coffee (unless your favorite diner coffee has been unapologetically dark and brooding).

A medium roast brew is neither too light on the tongue nor too heavy. It’s got some thickness but still no oil.

A medium roast doesn’t taste as bitter as dark, nor as sharp as a light roast. It’s versatile and smooth and truly holds its middle ground, but can leave people on Team Light or Team Dark wanting more.


Everyone should have a nice, strong cup of dark roast from time to time. The best dark roast coffee is powerful by choice, never burnt or trying to mask the flavors of subpar beans.

Dark roast beans are a deep, dark brown, sometimes approaching a blackish sheen. They’ve got a great roasted fragrance that smells just like coffee should.

These brews will be bitter and have the least unique flavoring, as the flavors of the roasting process are most prevalent — still chocolatey at times, or a little smokey.

Dark roasts are thick and “full-bodied,” meaning they feel somewhat heavy in your mouth, with oil present. They stand up well to milk and sugar because they’re very robust, but by the same token, someone who craves a sweet cup of coffee faces an uphill battle.


If you prefer a cup of coffee that’s light and refreshing, light or medium is the way to go. They work better for sweetness and have delicate, nuanced flavors that are less intense but more interesting.

If you want coffee with a rich, deep flavor that’ll ‘wake the dead,’ dark is the way to go. It also works if you want to pour in some milk without worrying you’ll overpower the drink (get rid). Dark roasts are still the most popular coffee but the lighter roasts are growing in popularity with the younger generations. If you have a mixed bunch, a medium roast should be unobjectionable even if it’s not quite what everyone preferred in regard to light vs. dark. It can pair with sugar and cream, won’t feel weak when taken black and truly just tastes like an everyday cup of coffee.


Caffeine is an essential consideration for anyone pulling an evening or double shift, starting bright and early, or just trying to get through a rough afternoon. A lot of contradictory information flies around on this topic.

Do dark roasts have more caffeine? 
Not really.

Do light roasts have more caffeine?
In theory, it has slightly more caffeine per bean.

When you measure out coffee in scoops, light roasts have more caffeine by a little amount. When you measure out by weight, dark roasts have more caffeine by a little amount. If caffeine is the goal, just have another cup 😉

So what coffee has the most caffeine depends on how you measure it, but it shouldn’t be a significant difference that could make or break the caffeine’s effects (get rid of). While the light roast vs. dark roast caffeine debate will doubtlessly continue, don’t let a longstanding myth tell you and your team what to drink.

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