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Dark Roast Vs Medium Roast Coffee - What Are The Major Differences

While a lot of people are content with going to their local shop and just picking up the first bag of beans they see... That’s totally not us! We like getting to know our brew. In fact, we like knowing about their origins, their preferred brew methods, and even their roast level. We like to think of our brew as more serious than any of our relationships (this is totally not sad at all).

One thing we like getting to know is the roast. If you didn’t know, medium vs dark roast coffee has different features. It’s one of the nuances that’s worth knowing if you want to level up your coffee-brewing game. Trust us, this ride is worth getting on. 

Key Differences Between Dark Roast and Medium Roast Coffee

Here’s what you can expect to learn about dark roast vs medium roast. 

  • Appearance
  • Smell
  • Taste & Acidity
  • Caffeine Level

Let’s go through each one!


Let’s get this little thing out of the way. The most obvious difference between dark roast coffee and medium roast coffee is their colour. Often, medium roast coffee beans do have a lighter brown colour while the darker roast has an almost borderline black shade of brown. This is, of course, the result of the beans having gone through the roasting process longer.

One not-so-obvious difference between medium vs dark roast coffee is their oiliness. Oiliness is also known as their shininess. Lighter roasts have very little oil compared to the dark ones. It’s actually oil that contributes to the bold flavours of the dark roast. 


You might be thinking… Don’t all coffee beans have the same great smell? Technically, you’re right. They do! But they have different scents. Lighter roasts deliver a more floral note, sometimes even malty. That’s expected. A medium roast, however, has a more balanced aroma. The darker ones are probably the most aromatic of the bunch. 

Taste & Acidity

Arguably the most important box to tick off this list… the taste! You’ll forgive us if this section is a little bit longer.

Being the in-between of the light and dark roast, the medium has the most balanced taste of the lot. A balanced body and rounded flavour are what you can expect. It’s also not too acidic, which is what a lot of people like about it. Try starting off with a medium roast and work your way up or down the roast levels to taste their differences.

Dark roasts are bold and rich. They are usually less acidic compared to medium roasts, but they are somewhat bitter. Sometimes, they can taste a little… burnt, which some really enjoy. Because of this milk or cream are often welcome additions to balance out the deep and dark flavours of this roast.

If you want something that’s close to a dark roast and a medium roast, you’re in luck! Some do offer a medium-dark roast and it’s the best of both these roast’s features.

One thing to also note is that the darkest roasts do tend to taste the same at the end of the day. Think of it like steak. The longer you leave it on the grill to achieve well-done doneness, the more it’ll taste somewhat burnt. Think of that when you’re shelling out some hard-earned cash on dark roast beans next time. Sure, certain palates possess the skill and fine-tuning that they can still differentiate the differences, but most coffee drinkers won’t really notice.

Also Read - How To Taste Coffee? Finding The Right Coffee To Water Ratio

Caffeine Level

coffee Caffeine

Is dark roast more caffeine-filled than the others? You’re forgiven if you’ve been thinking that it is. Sadly, that isn’t true. There is negligible difference between dark roast and medium roast coffee’s caffeine content.

Fun fact. The longer you roast coffee, the more it loses its caffeine content. Which is funny since even though dark roasts have been roasted for longer doesn’t actually contribute to it being more caffeinated than the rest. If you’re curious, it only takes minutes to achieve the darkest roast. Decaf coffee made using the Swiss Water Method takes hours - about ten hours to be precise!

When choosing your roasts based on caffeine content, remember that you can go for both dark and medium roasts. It really won’t matter in this case!

Check Out - What Is Decaf Coffee? Everything You Need To Know

Dark Roast Vs Medium Roast: It’s All Preference

The debate between dark roast and medium roast coffee ultimately boils down to personal preference. Each has its own unique flavor profile and characteristics that cater to different tastes. At Portfolio Coffee, we recognize and embrace this diversity by offering a wide range of wholesale coffee options. Whether you run a coffee store, a coffee subscription service, or any other coffee-related business, our extensive selection of coffee blends is designed to satisfy the cravings of your customers.

Partnering with Portfolio Coffee means gaining access to the finest quality coffee beans that have been meticulously sourced and expertly roasted. Our commitment to excellence extends beyond just the product itself. We are dedicated to providing exceptional customer service and building lasting relationships with our partners. Whether you're seeking dark roast or medium roast coffees, we have the expertise and resources to support your business and help you deliver an unforgettable coffee experience.

Elevate your coffee offerings and meet the diverse preferences of your customers by choosing Portfolio Coffee. With our commitment to quality, passion for great coffee, and dedication to customer satisfaction, we are the ideal choice for all your wholesale coffee needs. Visit our website today to explore our coffee blends and start a partnership that will enhance your coffee store, coffee subscription service, or any other coffee-related venture. Together, let's embark on a journey to deliver exceptional coffee and create moments of joy for coffee lovers worldwide.

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