Does Dark Roast Have More Caffeine?

There seems to be some caffeine fueled confusion with some coffee drinkers regarding the amount of caffeine in dark roast coffee, with many asking does dark roast have more caffeine than a medium or light roast. Sure, the bolder flavor could fool you into thinking that the caffeine in dark roast coffee is much higher than the other roasts.

​However, I’m here to BURST your caffeine bubble and tell you this is merely a myth and the bold flavors of dark roasts shouldn’t be mistaken as indications of their caffeine content. Dark roast coffee actually has roughly the same amount of caffeine as the lighter ones, and in most cases, the light roast has more caffeine. HUH?

​YES, you heard me right, the actual roasting process burns off some of the caffeine (I’ll admit though the amount lost is barely negligible) in the coffee beans, so obviously the longer they roast, the more caffeine is burnt away.

​However, with that being said, there's only a slight difference in the roasting temperature between a medium roast and a dark roasted coffee (roughly 10 degrees Fahrenheit). Plus, the actual difference in roasting time is only about 2-minutes.

So it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to estimate that the amount of caffeine lost in the roasting process is going to be barely negligible.

​Some of the factors that can influence caffeine levels:

The Roast Level: As I’ve already mentioned, lighter roasts generally contain slightly more caffeine than darker roasts. Sure this is barely negligible, but with more heat, more caffeine molecules break down.

The Type of Coffee Bean: There are basically two types of coffee bean the Robusta and the Arabica.

The Robusta coffee beans contain MORE caffeine but taste bitter.

Brew Method and Extraction Time: Even your brewing method and how long you let your coffee steep (the longer the coffee is in contact with the brew water) can affect the amount of caffeine in your final cup of Joe.

Coffee Grind: And lastly, the type of grind setting you use on your coffee grinder will either let you extract more caffeine or less. Simply put, the finer the coffee grind, the higher the caffeine level in your final brew.

​Robusta Beans Have a Lot More Caffeine Than Arabica

​If you want more of a caffeine kick in your cup of Joe, you shouldn’t be worrying so much about the coffee roast but more on the type of coffee beans used. As far as I'm aware the coffee beans that have MORE caffeine are the Robusta Beans, but (there is a but) these coffee beans tend to be far more bitter and don’t taste good in comparison to say an Arabica which has about 50% less caffeine than Robusta.

​Some coffee manufacturers such as Death Wish Coffee Co. boast to having the “world’s strongest coffee.” They combine the Robusta and the Arabica beans together (I’m not sure on the ratio) so that the final brew is the best of both worlds - a drink with much more caffeine but not as bitter due to the infusion of Arabica beans which are sweeter.

​Does dark roast have more caffeine? NO, ...and caffeine is NOT directly related to flavor!

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Mark Morphew

Mark is the guy brewing up Bean Ground. He likes to think of himself as a bit of a coffee fanatic who can never get enough coffee! You'll often find him in a caffeine induced rant talking about... you guessed it, coffee.

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