Even though darker roasts are considered “stronger” than the lighter roasts and they are presumed to contain higher caffeine levels. The intense flavors of dark roasts can trick a person into thinking there is a higher caffeine content. The bold flavor is caused from the bitterness in the roasting process not from a higher caffeine content. With this being said, darker roasts do not have more caffeine than the lighter roasts. In fact they both contain around the same amount.
Little to NO Caffeine is Lost in the Roasting Proccess
Two of the most common myths surrounding dark roast coffee are: Darker Roasts have more caffeine than lighter roasts and the opposite; Darker Roasts have less caffeine than ligher roasts. So which one is is?
While some caffeine is lost during the roasting process, the total amount is hardly measurable. In fact by the time either roast is brewed the difference in caffeine content goes away. Both Dark and Light Roast have enough caffeine to affect chemicals in your brain.
Where does the darker roast = more caffeine myth come from? Flavor!
This myth comes from people who incorrectly associate flavor with caffeine level. The full body flavors of dark roasts are thought to be stronger, and thus, more caffeine. However, caffeine isn’t the flavor producer. That comes from the roasting process.
Where does the lighter roast = more caffeine myth come from? Bean Size!
The second myth that lighter roasts contain caffeine comes from how people and cafes prepare the coffee. During roasting, coffee beans expand. The longer they are roasted the more expansion. Darker Roasted coffee beans tend to be larger than the lighter roasted beans.
To avoid the difference in light and dark roasted beans. Measure out the grounds using a scale. When beans are scooped by cafes and individuals, the size difference will affect the brew. Because of the size difference when beans are measured by volume, instead of weight, coffee brewed with darker beans with contain less grounds. The difference in caffeine is not in the type of bean but, the amount of coffee used in the brewing process.
Robusta Beans have more caffeine than Arabica, however they are not as tasty
Now looking at the main two types of coffee beans; coffea arabica and coffea robusta. Arabica is the sweeter and more flavorful bean and it has about 50 percent less caffeine than the robusta bean.
Even though Robusta has more caffeine it has a more bitter taste. It doesn’t come from the higher caffeine content. The flavors are a result of the quality. You can find robusta types of roasts in gas stations and coffee shops. Gourmet coffee shops and consumers will always use Arabica beans.
How to get the most caffeine out of your cup?
So, which brew method will get you the most caffeine in one punch? Cold brew takes the lead, followed by drip and then espresso.
* cold brew vary, but because they use higher coffee to water ratio and longer brew time they have a higher caffeine concentration.
*one shot of espresso has 47-75mg of caffeine
*one 8-ounce cup of drip coffee has 95-200mg of caffeine
So, when you are out looking for the most caffeinated cup of coffee, don’t look at dark vs. light. If you want a fantastic tasting cup with a punch go for cold-brew or drip to get the most caffeine; and a great taste.
Need a second opinion? Here is another post by The Bearded Bean