Light roast coffee beans are roasted for a shorter amount of time than dark roast beans. This results in a coffee with a lighter body and bright acidity. While dark roasts are often described as having a “burnt” flavor, lightly roasted coffee is more delicate and nuanced.
There are many different types of light coffee roasts, from the bright and fruity Ethiopian Yirgacheffe to the floral and nutty Kenyan AA. And within each type of light roast, there are even more flavor profiles to explore.
So, if you’re looking for a coffee with more complex flavors, light roasts are a great place to start. To help you find the best light roast coffee for your taste, we’ve put together a list of our favorites.
What is light roast coffee?
Light roast coffee is roasted less than medium or dark roasts. This produces a brighter tint and a less bitter, more acidic taste. Light roast coffee provides more caffeine than darker roasts because the roasting process breaks down caffeine less. The lighter roast brings out the coffee’s origin taste, making it ideal for speciality and single-origin coffees. Light roast coffee tastes bright, crisp, and delicious.
The study by Michael Greger M.D.FACLM mentioned dark roast coffee is more effective than light roast coffee in reducing body weight.
What are the Health Benefits of Light Roast Coffee?
Light roast coffee’s flavour and health advantages are attracting coffee aficionados. Lighter roasts have more acidity and less bitterness than darker roasts. This coffee is also healthier than other caffeinated drinks.
There is a study that suggests that light roasts offer more health benefits than other types of coffee.
Antioxidants make light roast coffee healthy. Antioxidants fight free radicals, which damage cells and cause chronic illnesses. Light roast coffee contains polyphenols, antioxidants that lower inflammation and cancer risk.
Light roast coffee boosts attention and alertness. Light roast coffee has less caffeine than darker roasts but still boosts mood and cognition. It boosts energy and reduces weariness, making it a good morning or afternoon drink.
Light roast coffee improves physical and mental wellbeing. For weight loss or maintenance, it boosts metabolism and burns fat. Light roast coffee contains vitamins B, E, magnesium, and potassium.
Finally, light roast coffee reduces the incidence of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and liver damage. Light roast coffee’s polyphenols and antioxidants defend against certain illnesses and boost health.
🏆Best Light Roast Coffee – Editor’s Choice: Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Breakfast Blend
This breakfast blend coffee is a fantastic representation of the light and delicate characteristics found in this roast level, and it is rich with nutty flavor notes, balanced sweetness, and a silky mouthfeel.
This is the perfectly balanced American-style coffee that has just enough to wake you up; not weak, not strong, just right!
And it is also an agent of worldly good! These professional roasters are committed to sourcing only sustainably raised coffee and using recyclable packaging.
What Makes a Light Roast Coffee… Light?
First of all, coffee beans are not at all like the beans you picture when you think of coffee beans before they are roasted. They are green in color, instead of the delicious chocolate color you expect.
In this raw stage of the coffee, they don’t smell like coffee at all in fact; rather, they smell more like grass or dirt, which is not at all appetizing.
So, green coffee beans need to go through a roasting process. The question is: what temperature beans are roasted at and for how long? This is what differentiates between different roast levels.
As you keep roasting green beans, they absorb more heat and turn from light to medium, and darker roasts. There are a few things that contribute to making lightly roasted coffee:
- The beans are roasted for a shorter period (taken off the fire as soon as they begin to crack) than dark roast beans. This means that they retain more of their original flavor and have a more delicate flavor profile.
- Light roasts are typically brewed at a lower temperature (380-400 degrees Fahrenheit). This allows for more of the coffee’s delicate flavors to be extracted.
- Light roasts generally have a higher acidity. This makes them more bright and more vibrant in flavor.
That’s why your coffee will have less body but much stronger tastes that come from the original beans. This is fantastic for unique coffee beans because when they are lightly roasted, you can truly taste what makes them exceptional.
How does light roast coffee compare to other types of coffee?
Light vs. Medium vs. Dark Roast Coffee
When it comes to coffee, there are three different types of roasts: light, medium, and dark. Each type of roast has its unique flavor notes that can range from sweet and fruity to rich and smoky:
|Coffee Roast||Description||Flavor Notes|
|Light Roast||Lighter in color and has a more delicate flavor. Roasted for a shorter period, preserving natural bright acidity.||Fruity or floral notes.|
|Medium Roast||A happy medium body between light and dark. Roasted for a longer period than light roasts, but not as long as dark roasts.||Chocolate or nutty notes.|
|Dark Roast||The darkest and most intense type of coffee. Roasted for a longer period, bringing out natural sugars and oils.||Smoky or even burnt notes.|
1. Light Roast Coffee
Light roast coffee is typically lighter in color and has a more delicate flavor. The beans are roasted for a shorter period, which preserves their natural bright acidity.
Lighter roast coffee taste is often described as having fruity or floral notes.
2. Medium Roast Coffee
Medium roast coffee is a happy medium body between light and dark. The beans are roasted for a longer period than light roasts, but not as long as dark roasts.
This results in a coffee that has more body and flavor than lighter roasts but is not as intense as darker roasts. Medium roasts are often described as having chocolate or nutty notes.
3. Dark Roast Coffee
Dark-roasted coffee is the darkest and most intense type of coffee. The beans are roasted for a longer period, which brings out their natural sugars and oils.
This results in a coffee that is full-bodied and has a deep, rich flavor. Dark roast coffee is often described as having smoky or even burnt notes.
Why Do People Drink Light Roast Coffee?
Many people prefer lighter roast coffees because it has a more delicate flavor than their dark counterpart. Light roasts are also less likely to cause heartburn and other digestive problems because it’s less acidic.
Here are some common reasons people are choosing light coffee roasts:
- It’s Healthier – Some health experts claim light roast coffee is healthier than dark roast. They point to studies showing that they have more antioxidants than dark roasts. Antioxidants are believed to protect the body against cell damage and diseases.
- It Tastes Cleaner – Lightly roasted coffee has a brighter, cleaner flavor that is less intense than dark roast coffees. Also, it’s typically less bitter than dark beans. This is because the coffee beans are roasted for a shorter period, which prevents them from picking up the smoky, charred flavors that can make dark beans taste bitter.
- It’s More Caffeinated – Contrary to popular belief, light roast beans generally higher in caffeine than dark. This is because the roasting process breaks down some of the coffee beans’ caffeine content, so dark roast has less caffeine per cup than light roast coffee. So, lightly roasted coffee beans are the way to go, if you’re looking for a coffee that will give you a little extra boost.
- It’s More Eco-Friendly – The blonde roast coffee beans use less water and energy to produce, making them better for the environment.
- It’s More Affordable – Lightly roasted coffee is typically more affordable than dark roast coffees because they don’t require as much time or resources to roast. This makes them a great option for those on a budget.
Potential Drawbacks or Negative Aspects of Light Roast Coffee
Light roast coffee does not have as much caffeine as dark roast coffee. Caffeine is burned off during the roasting process, and lighter roasts simply spend less time in the roaster. So, if you’re hoping for a caffeine rush, light roast coffee might not be the way to go.
Another issue to consider with light roast coffee is acidity. It is more acidic than darker roasts, which can cause stomach discomfort or even heartburn for certain people.
Light roast coffee may be weak in body or mouthfeel when compared to deeper roasts. The roasting procedure eliminates some of the natural oils from the beans, which add to the body of the coffee.
How We Picked the Light Roast Coffee Beans to Review: A Buying Guide
We here at the Boat Basin Café blog are passionate about specialty coffee. So passionate, in fact, that we decided to dedicate our time and energy to reviewing as many different kinds of the coffee bean as possible.
But with so many light roast coffee brands on the market, how did we decide which ones to review?
Here are the factors we considered when choosing the light roast coffee beans to review and you should also consider while buying:
1. The Origin
The origin of the coffee bean is the single most important thing to consider when buying light roast coffee. Because the core idea of drinking from light roast is to taste the original flavors.
That’s why single-origin coffee is the best when you want to try light roast. You’ll experience the whole, unadulterated flavor of that particular coffee bean, which may have some pretty intriguing tastes.
Every coffee-growing region has distinctive traits of its own. Central and South American beans are often well-balanced, vibrant, and sweet. More earthy, fragrant, and delicious beans are grown in Africa. Additionally, Indonesian beans are a bit wilder, spicier, and more intense.
You may choose single-origin coffee beans if you know a little bit about their history.
We wanted to make sure we were reviewing light roasts coffees from coffee-growing regions all over the world, so we made sure to include a variety of coffee beans in our selection.
The date of the roasting should also be considered. Older beans might gradually lose some of their taste, especially when roasted lightly.
You should purchase freshly roasted coffee and consume it within a week or two after the roasting date. A good general rule of thumb is to avoid buying beans if the bag doesn’t indicate the date of roasting.
3. Ground vs. Whole Beans
Most coffee lovers will tell you that they prefer whole-bean coffee over ground coffee any day.
If you have the luxury, you should ground lightly roasted beans with a coffee grinder just before brewing which often results in better-flavored coffee.
However, being able to bypass that additional step in the morning will help you get more time in your necessary REM sleep period and save you the startling sound of entire beans being ground in a coffee grinder.
And, properly maintained ground coffee may also result in excellent brews. So ultimately, it’s your choice.
4. The Price
There are high-quality coffees available at reasonable prices. You often pay extra for a bag of beans just because of the name on it.
For instance, Starbucks, which is perhaps the most well-known coffee business ever, can get away with charging more for beans.
However, you may take advantage of the chance to buy light roast coffee at a reduced price if you’re willing to purchase from a brand you’ve never heard of.
We wanted to make sure we were reviewing light roasts of all different price points, so we made sure to include both expensive and budget-friendly coffees in our selection.
The art of producing coffee beans doesn’t always go well with the term ‘ethics’. Many light roast coffee brands give poor salaries to workers or severely damage the environment to manufacture large quantities of coffee at low cost.
However, the good news is that bridging the gap is possible. Paying fair salaries and having as little of an impact on the environment as is humanly possible are two priorities for many businesses.
And you should only buy from those businesses having a “fair trade” badge on their packaging.
Just keep in mind that ethically produced coffee often costs more to manufacture and, therefore, costs more to buy.
Introducing the Best Light Roast Coffees in the Market – A Detailed Review
After considering all the above factors, we started by narrowing down our list to the coffees that we thought were the lightest in color. From there, we cupped each coffee and took detailed notes on each one.
We looked for coffees that had a bright, clean flavor and a light body. We also made sure to include a variety of coffees from different roasters, so that our readers would have a good selection to choose from.
In the end, we picked the coffees that we thought were the best of the bunch in their category. We hope you enjoy reading our light roast coffee reviews!
1. Our Top Pick – Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Breakfast Blend
Origin – Hawaii, Guatemala, Peru, Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Indonesia
Certification – Kosher (Orthodox Union)
Tasting Notes – Floral and citrus fruit
Brewing Method – Use in k-cup system brewers
No, Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Breakfast Blend is probably not the most luxurious option out there, but it’s the most balanced option in the specialty coffee market in terms of taste, packaging, sustainability, and price, which will appeal to a wide demographic of coffee aficionados.
The rich and lightly toasted nuts flavor of the Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Breakfast Blend will satiate your palate and help you start your day off fast. It has a smooth texture, yet a rich coffee taste filled with sweetness.
It comes with recyclable pod-style packaging and any coffee machine that is K-cup compatible will accept the pods. These pods are quite simple to use and don’t blow up as often as many of the less expensive generic pods in this kind of setup.
Besides quality, the roasters pay attention to sourcing all the coffees ethically, but at affordable pricing.
What You Should Know
Though it’s meant to be your first sip of the morning, most people who consume this morning blend reported that they also drink it in the evening and multiple times throughout the day; and it’s still great to pick them up.
One problem we found is that, although the coffee has a wonderful flavor, the brewed cups sometimes lack some strength. We also observed that after you drink coffee, there is a harsh aftertaste left behind on the taste buds.
2. Best Organic Light Roast – Kicking Horse Coffee, Hola
Origin – Central and South America
Certification – Fairtrade, USDA Organic
Tasting Notes – Juicy red fruit and creamy honey
Brewing Method – Pour over / Drip machine / Cold Brew
The highest standards of quality and ethics are upheld in this certified organic and fair-trade coffee. Kicking Horse Coffee is still going strong after 25 years of its founding because of the quality of its beans.
Their light roast variant is roasted in the Canadian Rocky Mountains following agricultural practices that don’t sacrifice today for a better tomorrow. It’s fair trade and organic, so you can drink without worrying about the world’s economic or environmental fate.
Kicking Horse Coffee also nailed it when it comes to scent and flavor. They have a distinct flavor and scent of brown sugar, creamy nougat, and cocoa powder, all of which are reminders of the beans’ origins in Central and South America.
The initial taste of this coffee reveals a harmonious interplay between the acidity of red fruits and the sweetness of honey. This bean works well in a broad number of brewing techniques, including the French press, drip machine, pour-over, espresso machine, and cold brew.
What You Should Know
In our opinion, Kicking Horse Coffee did great with its minimalistic packaging and the name “Hola” which is lively. However, the flavor is outstanding, and the taste will be appealing to a lot of people, especially those who like their coffee without milk chocolate or creamer.
One criticism about Kicking Horse is that it seems close to the medium body or light-medium roast rather than super light. Also, it’s a little bit pricier than the other light variants in the market. However, it’s worth every penny if you like the fruity and creamy taste it provides.
3. Best Light Roast Coffee for Cold Brew – Cameron’s Coffee Cold Brew Blend
Origin – Ethiopia, Kona, Sumatra, Jamaica, and Central & South America
Certification – N/A
Taste Note – Nutty and sweet
Brewing Method – Cold coffee maker / French press / Mason jar
If you like to drink your coffee cold with milk/cream, you’re going to love Cameron’s cold brew light roast coffee blend. It’s a relatively new product in the cold brew community.
However, if you’ve previously enjoyed Illy, Lavazza, Door County, or Caribou coffees, you should definitely try this one. It’ll instantly become your favorite. It is a rich and flavorful coffee that is perfect for cold brewing.
The beans are coarse ground and ready to brew, and the mix of vanilla and hazelnut flavors makes this coffee unique, delicious, and anything but plain.
Cameron’s Coffee is also committed to sustainability, sourcing only the top 10% of beans in the world and roasting in small batches to reduce water consumption. If you’re looking for a delicious and sustainable cold brew coffee, Cameron’s is a great option.
What You Should Know
What we liked about these lightly roasted coffee brew blends is the amazing robust flavor it provides. It’s not super acidic or bitter. The mixture had a vibrant tone and didn’t have any lingering strong flavors that made us lose focus on our meal.
The only thing about these light coffee beans we didn’t like was how costly they were. You will also need more grounds than the roaster suggests on the packaging; otherwise, it becomes a bit watery. However, this is the cost involved in trying quality light coffee beans for cold brew.
4. Best Decaf Light Roast Coffee – The Organic Coffee Gorilla Decaf
Origin – Rwanda, Kona, Mexico, Panama
Certification – USDA Organic
Tasting Notes – Big and strong, yet mellow
Brewing Method – Works with all coffee brewers
If you’re looking for a delicious light roast coffee that is also decaf, look no further than The Organic Coffee Gorilla Decaf! This coffee has a full-City roasted taste that is strong yet mellow, and it is 100% naturally processed and shade-grown.
The Natural Water Process is used to decaffeinate this coffee, so you can be sure that the flavor is not compromised. It is also eco-friendly and sustainably farmed.
The Rogers Family Company is a family-owned, American-made company with a rich tradition, and they are committed to making the world a better place one cup of coffee at a time. So, you can feel good about indulging in a cup (or two!) of this delicious coffee.
What You Should Know
If you like strong, rich, and flavorful blonde coffee throughout the day but are sensitive to caffeine, this coffee won’t disappoint. For anyone switching to decaf, this one is a no-brainer. It’ll almost taste like your regular coffee. The price is also reasonable.
However, we’ve noticed that the coffee leaves a load of lingering aftertaste (kind of like lab chemicals!). Also, many people don’t simply like the “hazelnut” flavoring; so definitely it’s not for everyone.
5. Best Instant Light Roast Coffee – Intelligentsia Light Roast Instant Coffee
Origin – Rwanda, Burundi, and Columbia
Certification – Direct Trade
Taste Note – Milk Chocolate, Mandarin, and Apple
Brewing Method – N/A (Stir and enjoy!)
Intelligentsia has been producing coffee since 1995. The company slogan “the never-ending hunt for the most outstanding coffee in the world” is bound to touch a specialty coffee lover’s heart.
There is very few instant coffee mix for light roasts in the market, and it’s one of the best you’ll find out there. It’s one of the best combinations of beans from Rwanda, Burundi, and Columbia. They roast them all separately before combining them all together.
You’ll know of its origin by the delicious aroma of a hot cup of delicious coffee in the morning. Just stir and drink as simple as it is.
What You Should Know
This is a coffee for the devoted coffee drinker, who doesn’t have the time to spend half an hour in the morning making a simple cup of coffee. While you don’t get the same experience of brewing with ground/whole beans, you’ll surely love the sweet, milky, and fruity taste.
The problem with Intelligentsia Light Roast Instant Coffee is that the good things about it will disappear after a week or so. After the newness of freshly roasted coffee is gone, it’ll taste very mild and bland. Also, it’s more acidic than some of the other light roasts in this price range.
6. Best Budget Light Roast Coffee – Caribou Light Roast Ground Coffee
Origin – America and East Africa
Certification – Rainforest Alliance
Taste Note – Fruity and caramel sweetness
Brewing Method – Works with any coffee brewer
Caribou Light Roast Ground Coffee is the cheapest in this list of the best light roast coffee. However, the cheaper price doesn’t contribute to the sacrifice of taste by any means. In fact, we wanted to rank this one as our overall best but later found it suitable for the best value-for-money coffee category.
This mild body roast from the Americas and East Africa is vibrant and acidic. It has fruity and flowery undertones as well as caramel flavors and a nutty aftertaste. Like many light roasts, it tastes terrific when served hot but also performs well as a cold brew.
In addition, Caribou Coffee’s reasonably priced lightly roasted coffee beans don’t compromise morals or taste. They are grown sustainably and responsibly since they have Rainforest Alliance certification.
They only use the highest-quality beans when sourcing them, and they roast them on cutting-edge equipment. These Minneapolis-roasted beans are a fantastic, cost-effective alternative. They are hand-packed in small quantities.
What You Should Know
This coffee is everything you could ask for in a lighter roast. You can taste the cherry and floral overtones, and the finish is nutty and sweet. It’s perfect for a morning cup of coffee, or to enjoy any time of day. Also, we love knowing that we’re drinking a socially responsible product that is also helping to preserve our planet.
We didn’t find much to complain about this one, considering its price range. The only problem we found was that it doesn’t go well with French press; it becomes overpowering and doesn’t go well with breakfast.
7. Best Light Roast Coffee of People’s Choice – Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee Veranda Blend
Origin – Latin America
Certification – N/A
Tasting Notes – Toasted malt and baking chocolate
Brewing Method – Coffee brewer / Coffee Press / Pour over / Moka pot
Well, it was bound to happen! We wouldn’t be able to finish a list of coffee without trying one of the biggest of the big coffee companies – Starbucks.
To be honest with you, I’m not a huge fan of Starbucks; like most specialty coffee lovers. Most of the time, it tastes extremely harsh to me and I don’t get to taste all the coffee. Their blonde coffee beans are burned to a crisp to achieve the same “Starbucks” taste.
However, this Veranda Blend is quite unique, and I now see why many light roast drinkers love this one from Starbucks. The beans aren’t over-roasted, and you can taste the drink’s true tastes as you’d anticipate from a light.
Overall, this is a fine cup of coffee from a well-known roaster. It’s quite simple to drink and a fantastic bargain (as long as you can preserve it correctly after opening it).
What You Should Know
Starbucks Veranda Blend has a mild body and delicate flavor. The flavor has hardly any acidity. However, you do get many hits from the delicious tastes within. When your taste senses are still waking up in the morning, this coffee is great!
The fact that they offer it in such enormous amounts is my only complaint. Though you wind up with a considerably better value this way, however, freshness is a crucial component of a wonderful cup of coffee.
It might be challenging to store a bag this size in a technique that properly preserves the coffee’s flavor. Something to think about if you were considering buying.
If you haven’t tried light roast coffees before, you should probably give one of these brands a go. To be quite honest, it was hard for me to decide which option was best, as this roundup has some fierce competition.
Finally, I chose Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Breakfast Blend as the most overall balanced option in this top list. It gives you the perfect start to your morning with the American-style taste and at affordable pricing.
However, if I had the luxury to splurge, I would always drink Kicking Horse Coffee. It’ll simply give you the best-tasting experience, in my opinion. And, you’ll always love the Caribou Light Roast Ground Coffee if you’re on a budget!
Otherwise, any coffee on this list is a good choice. For the time being, you must make up your decision and try one of these gorgeous things. Enjoy!
Now that we discussed everything you need to know to buy the best light roast coffee in the market, it’s time to answer some of the light roast coffee questions occurring in your mind.
We’ve compiled a list of common queries from Google and Bing to help you choose and make the best cup of coffee from light roast beans ever.
1. What Beans Are Best for Light Roast?
The best beans for a light roast are typically Arabica beans. They have a high moisture content and low oil content. The high moisture content helps to prevent the beans from burning during the roasting process, while the low oil content helps to keep the beans from becoming too dark or bitter.
2. Is Light Roast Coffee Less Bitter?
The answer to this question is a bit complicated. Light coffee roast is less physically dense, so it has less contact with the roast material and can theoretically be less bitter. However, light roast beans are more fragile and can be more easily over-extracted, leading to a more bitter cup.
But in general, it is probably fair to say that light-roasted coffee is less bitter than dark.
3. What Brewing Method Is Best for Light Roast?
The best brewing method for a light roast brew is the pour-over method. This method involves slowly pouring hot water over the coffee grounds, allowing the water to extract the flavors from the coffee. This results in a light and delicate cup of coffee.
4. What Temperature Should You Brew Light Roast Coffee?
Typical light roast coffee should be brewed at a temperature between 195- and 205 degrees Fahrenheit. This temperature range extracts the delicate flavors of whole-bean coffee without over-extracting them and making the coffee taste bitter.
5. Is Light Roast Coffee Better Hot or Cold?
Some people prefer light roast coffee hot because they find it to be more aromatic and flavorful, while others prefer it iced because they find it to be more refreshing. It really depends on what you are looking for in a coffee and what flavors you prefer.