It’s the little luxuries in life that make all the difference. And speaking of luxuries, one we love to invest in is good joe. Sure, brewing equipment and accessories are fun and nice, but the coffee itself can never be skimped on, either. So, what kind of coffee are we splurging on these days? Lightly roasted coffee beans!
They’re our latest obsession, and we’re going to tell you why!
At a Glance: Best Light Roast Coffee
Light vs. Dark Roast: As Different As Day and Night
If you find yourself among new coffee drinkers, let’s go over some bean-roasting basics.
As you probably guessed, the main difference between light and dark roast coffee is the roast level: lighter beans roast for a shorter amount of time than dark roast beans are.
Light roast coffee is also denser than beans roasted to a darker level. That’s because all of the water comes out of the beans while they roast, so that more lightly roasted coffee beans have more moisture stuck inside of them.
Light roast coffee has a higher caffeine level and complex flavors that are more fruit-forward, herbal, and delicate. This java has a more pronounced acidity than darker brews, but its body is much thinner, too. Dark roast coffee, on the other hand, has a lower caffeine content and a fuller body. It carries a bolder and more straightforward flavor, but some find the taste of these beans to be one-dimensional.
For more information and a deeper understanding of the difference between light roast coffee and dark roast coffee, check out this article.
Is light roast coffee healthier than a dark roast?
According to the Journal of Medicine, light roast coffee contains higher concentrations of chlorogenic acid and more antioxidants than dark roasts coffee. Why is this important? Well, most of us already know that antioxidants are full of anti-aging properties. But chlorogenic acid is equally important because it helps fight against inflammation and cell damage.
Your daily cup offers plenty of health benefits, no matter how light or dark the beans you brewed are. But if chlorogenic acid and antioxidants are your main priorities, sipping something lighter may be better.
Quick Summary: Best Light Roast Coffee
Our Top ChoiceLifeboost Light Roast Coffee
|Check On Lifeboost→|
|ALMA COFFEE BELEN GUALCHO BLEND||Check Price →|
|METHODICAL COFFEE ETHIOPIA, DUR FERES||Check Price →|
|CARIBOU COFFEE DAYBREAK MORNING BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|COFFEE BROS. LIGHT ROAST||Check on Amazon →|
|TOP SHELF GRIND ORGANIC LIGHT ROAST COFFEE||Check on Amazon →|
|KICKING HORSE COFFEE||Check on Amazon →|
|STARBUCKS VERANDA BLEND LIGHT BLONDE ROAST||Check on Amazon →|
|PEET’S COFFEE COLOMBIA LUMINOSA BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|REAL GOOD COFFEE CO. BREAKFAST BLEND LIGHT ROAST||Check on Amazon →|
|CAFÉ DON PABLO SUBTLE EARTH ORGANIC COFFEE LIGHT ROAST||Check on Amazon →|
Roasty Rankings: Our Picks for the Best Light Roast Coffee
Lifeboost Light Roast Coffee
Lifeboost Light Roast Coffee
Your cup of Lifeboost Premium Light Coffee comes from coffee beans that have been individually hand-selected as the premium bean(s) of a harvest.
Lifeboost Coffee’s light roast is made from hand-selected beans grown along the Nicaraguan mountainside and offers a coffee that’s full of rich flavor. That’s why it’s the top choice on our list. We enjoy these light roast beans because of the lengths to which Lifeboost goes to ensure each batch is of the highest quality possible.
Lighter roasts tend to have bright acidity levels, making it difficult for coffee drinkers with sensitive stomachs to enjoy them. But Lifeboost’s beans manage to be low in acidity yet full of rich flavor. How does the brand strike this balance? By putting in care and hard work from start to finish!
The hand-picked beans are also hand-sorted before they’re roasted, ensuring only the highest quality beans make it through. After the selection process, the coffee is spring water-washed and sun-dried until the beans reach 11.5 percent humidity. This attention to detail, plus rich and robust flavor, is what places Lifeboost’s beans at the top of our list.
Alma Coffee Belen Gualcho Blend
Alma Coffee Belen Gualcho Blend
A pleasantly tart grapefruit and green apple acidity balances this cup’s milk chocolaty sweetness.
Alma Coffee’s Belen Gualcho blend is bright and balanced, .a.k.a., precisely what any real coffee connoisseur wants from their light roast brew. Though the beans for this blend are roasted in Canton, Georgia, they’re sourced from the Belen Gualcho village in Honduras’ Ocotepeque department.
The fruity flavors of this brew are courtesy of the green grape tasting notes, which pair nicely with the sweet graham cracker and malt chocolate flavors that are also present in the beans. Once you’ve gotten your hands on a batch of this coffee, use your favorite brewing method to whip up a cup of coffee that’s sure to get your day started on the right foot.
Methodical Coffee Ethiopia, Dur Feres
Methodical Coffee Ethiopia, Dur Feres
Berry bomb alert! This elegant natural process coffee has plenty of that berry sweetness we love, with an extra boost of peach and brown sugar that takes it over the top.
Here at Roasty, we go crazy for Ethiopian coffee, and for a good reason: the African country is the birthplace of our favorite drink! That’s why you can expect any blend made from Ethiopian beans to be worth trying, and Ethiopia, Dur Feres beans from Methodical Coffee are no exception.
A bag of this blend contains a combination of beans from the Sidama region of Ethiopia that, when brewed, come together to create a drink that tastes like blueberries, blackberries, and cherries. In other words, a cup of this coffee will boast the iconic Ethiopian flavor profile we all know and love.
Caribou Coffee Daybreak Morning Blend
Caribou Coffee’s Daybreak Morning Blend is a popular pick for brewing in light roast lovers’ drip machines. With its floral overtones, hints of caramel, and nutty finish dancing on your taste buds, we wouldn’t be surprised if it became your light roast go-to for warming up on a chilly morning.
These high-quality 100 percent arabica coffee beans are Rainforest Alliance Certified and small-batch roasted to keep all of the joe’s original flavors intact.
The brand declares how much it loves how coffee brings people together, so take that as your cue to gather your friends and family to sit around the table and sip Caribou Daybreak coffee on a lazy weekend morning.
Coffee Bros. Light Roast
Coffee Bros., founded by brothers Nick and Dan Hunnewell, gives us the next light roast brew on our list, and thanks to the high-quality coffee’s notes of honey and citrus fruit, it’s got a crisp and smooth taste that pairs well with a nice, fluffy pastry at breakfast.
This light roast combines the bold range of flavors found in Colombian and Ethiopian coffee beans to produce a uniquely tasty brew, and thanks to small-batch roasting techniques, you can be sure none of those flavor notes are lost before they make it into your mug.
Top Shelf Grind Organic Light Roast Coffee
Next up is Top Shelf Grind’s organic light roast coffee. Each bag of this brand’s Peruvian coffee makes a brew that’s smooth and low acid so you can sip cup after cup of the stuff with no discomfort. That, plus the fact that it’s loaded with good antioxidants, makes it a cup that’s not just good, but good for you, too.
Close your eyes as you enjoy this premium quality coffee, and take in all of the black tea, honey, and chocolatey notes sprinkled throughout your cup. The delicate flavors of these 100 percent arabica coffee beans will impress any self-proclaimed coffee snob. Even better than the flavors is the fact that Top Shelf’s light roast is Fair Trade and ethically sourced, which means coffee farmers are treated equally and fairly during the entire bean production process.
Kicking Horse Coffee, Hola, Light Roast
Kicking Horse Coffee, a brand born near the Canadian Rocky Mountains, has a lot of character. The Hola light roast is proof, as the beans from this blend, which hail from Central and South America, have a creamy honey body and pleasant red fruit acidity.
Kicking Horse recommends using pour-over filters, drip coffee machines, or cold brew coffee makers to brew this Fair Trade, organic joe, and we agree. Once you’ve used one of these brewing methods to make your morning cup, you’ll be happily saying “hola!” to a brand new day and everything it holds.
Starbucks Veranda Blend Light Blonde Roast
International java giant Starbucks Coffee created this light blend to capture a broader audience, and it was a labor of love — you’ll notice the tag “version 80” printed on the bag of beans, which refers to the fact that it took the well-known coffee chain a whopping 80 different attempts to get it perfect.
Starbucks’s whole bean light roast coffee (or pre-ground, if that’s your thing) is wet-processed, which means that the coffee cherries are de-pulped, then fermented; this promotes the separation of any remaining pectin that might still be stuck to the bean and parchment. After this, they’re washed clean before being dried and roasted.
The resulting brew has medium acidity, a light body, and a mellow taste, complete with soft notes of chocolate and toasted nuts.
Peet’s Coffee Colombia Luminosa Blend
The next light roast on our list is on the more affordable end of the spectrum and comes from Peet’s Coffee, a well-known U.S. chain. Check out Colombia Luminosa, Peet’s first-ever attempt at light roasting. The original blend called for sourcing beans from the Colombian highlands of the Huila region, but since then, the brand has switched things up and uses beans from the birthplace of coffee.
Peet’s Coffee offers these light roast coffee beans in five different buying options, from commercial brewer grounds to whole beans, making it an excellent choice for businesses and individuals who just want to brew at home.
And just in case you’re not sure if this joe’s citrusy flavors and smooth milk chocolate undertones are for you, the good people at Peet’s Coffee have created a quiz for you to take to find your perfect blend.
Real Good Coffee Co. Breakfast Blend Light Roast
Though we recommend purchasing an airtight container for storing your coffee, Real Good Coffee Co.’s packaging makes things a bit easier if you don’t have one handy. The brand’s light roast breakfast blend comes in a bag with a built-in Ziplock seal, making it easier to lock in the beans’ fresh taste longer than another light roast coffee brand can.
These beans began life in both Central and South America before making their way to Seattle, where they’re roasted, packed into a resealable two-pound bag, and shipped to your doorstep for you to enjoy. When you’re ready to brew these high-quality 100 percent arabica beans, you’ll discover that they’re packed with smooth aromatic notes of milk chocolate, cream, and a hint of citrus — so good!
Café Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Coffee Light Roast
Café Don Pablo’s Subtle Earth light roast is a perfect choice for an organic coffee lover, as no chemicals are involved in the growing process. The 100 percent arabica beans are GMO-free and low in acidity, too!
You can find these whole beans, complete with chocolatey flavors and a pleasant aftertaste, in two or five-pound bags. But if you don’t want to grind your beans yourself, pick up a package of the brand’s 100 percent recyclable single-serve cups. Either way, your cup will be filled with enough honey and caramel tasting notes to get your morning off to a sweet start.
Waka Coffee Quality Instant Light Roast
Whether you rely on it because you’re a frequent traveler or you like the stuff because it significantly cuts down your brewing time, instant coffee is a valid choice. And luckily for light roast lovers, there’s a packet of the fast-brewing java that’s perfect for you.
Meet Waka Coffee’s instant joe. These 100 percent arabica beans were sourced from India and roasted to light perfection before they were freeze-dried, packaged, and shipped right to your doorstep. Just add the contents of one of these packets into hot or cold water and stir, and the resulting cup has a delicious taste marked by notes of sweet chocolate and hazelnut.
How to Roast the Best Light Coffee
Preparation and planning are the keys to light roasting. Leaving the beans in the roaster for somewhere between nine and ten and a half minutes is the sweet spot in terms of hearing that first crack.
The crack is the point at which a coffee bean becomes edible, and most coffee beans are roasted to either the first or second one. When light roasting, the beans are typically removed from the heat at the first crack, while medium and dark coffee is roasted until the second crack or longer.
Generally, it takes between nine and ten and a half minutes before you hear the first crack, but the roasting process takes some experimentation. It’s a good idea to keep a running log of your roasting successes and failures to help you develop your best batch of light roast beans, and don’t be afraid to ask an expert at your local roastery or coffee shop for advice.
Blonde vs. Light Roast
While you’re perusing light roast coffee reviews, you’ll probably see the term “blonde roast” printed on a few labels. But what does that mean, and are blonde coffees the same as light roasts?
The answer to this question is both yes and no. Blonde coffee, a term that’s popped up over the last decade or so, usually refers to the lightest roast possible — beans that were roasted somewhere between 356 and 401 degrees Fahrenheit and have a bright flavor known as acidity.
For instance, popular coffee brands, like Starbucks, leave their blonde beans in the roaster a bit longer. This places the company’s blonde roast closer to a medium level rather than light.
So, when you compare blonde and light roast beans, you’ll find that the distinctions between the two vary depending on the brand. Since there isn’t an industry-standard coffee bean roast chart out there, you’ll have to do a bit of research on how your preferred coffee brands roast your favorite coffee beans.
Whole Bean vs. Ground Coffee
Let’s be real. Using ground coffee has its perks and conveniences. Being able to skip that extra step in the morning can add some time to your much-needed REM sleep cycle, not to mention saving you from the jarring sound of whole beans in a coffee grinder first thing out of bed.
On the other hand, some might argue that the fresh-tasting cups of coffee you get at the end of the process more than makes up for the extra time required to grind whole beans.
We’ll leave it to you to decide which you value more, the fresh taste of whole beans or a few extra minutes of sleep. But whichever you purchase, be sure your beans are correctly stored in an airtight container and kept away from moisture and light. Exposure to air, sunlight, and water can be the differences between delicious coffee and lackluster brew.
Click here to read all about our favorite containers for keeping your roasted coffee fresh.
After all of that, informed decisions are always the best decisions. So let’s tackle a few more of your light roast coffee questions.
What does light roast coffee taste like?
Due to its roasting process, light roast coffee has a more complex taste that leaves you with a thinner body and higher points of acid. You can also count on a less bitter taste and more citrus, fruit, or berry notes. Depending on the bean’s origin, you may notice its natural flavors include slight floral notes or even an earthy moss taste.
Is light roast coffee a good match for the French press?
We’re massive fans of the profound depth of flavor a good ole French press can provide, and if you are too, you’re probably curious as to whether or not this trusted brewing method is a match for the distinct flavor of light roast joe.
Medium or darker roasted beans make a better match for this brewer than lighter coffee roasts do. This is because the heating process for medium and dark roasts allows the beans to retain most of their flavor-filled oils, and those really sing when you use a French press, resulting in some great joe.
Is light roast coffee less bitter?
Because of the way the lightly roasted beans are roasted, lighter coffee is usually less bitter than darker roasts. However, it is not simply the roast that affects both the taste and the bitterness of the bean.
The type of bean also plays a role in how bitter your cup will be. As you know from our article on the difference between arabica and robusta coffee beans, arabica beans have a reputation for being the least bitter of the two.
Roasting time and temperature are also huge factors in how your final product tastes. Still, other factors — cleanliness of your brewing equipment, the quality of your beans and how they were grown and prepared, the coffee-to-water ratio, and even grind size — can change the taste of your drink, too.
Is light roast coffee the strongest?
Light roast being strong sounds like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? Wouldn’t you, by its name, assume it’s weak? Maybe, but that’s not necessarily the case; it depends on what you mean by strong.
Two widespread rumors are floating around the coffee world, and they’re in direct opposition to one another. One states that dark roast coffee is stronger caffeine-wise because its flavors are more robust, while the other declares light roast beans are more caffeinated because less of the stimulant is burned off during the roasting process.
But that’s not why light roast has a higher caffeine content. These beans are slightly more caffeinated because they’re denser than their darker counterparts, so if you measure by weight, they have a slightly higher caffeine content than dark or medium roasts.
When you’re comparing strength according to taste, dark roast is the big winner since its bold flavors are more robust than those present in a cup of light roast brew.
Is light roast coffee better hot or iced?
There is no wrong way to enjoy your favorite light roast, so whether you prefer sipping it while it’s hot and steamy or chilled over ice, you’ll still get all the mellow flavor you expect from the light brown beans.
Though there are hundreds of brands and a seemingly endless selection of coffees out there, only you can decide what’s good and what isn’t. From light roast to dark, whole bean or ground, what goes into your cup is all up to you.
Hopefully, with the aid of our guide above, you’ve realized that if you like your coffee light, you’ve got plenty of options, as there’s a wide range of light roast beans from which to choose.