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roasterI need to let you in on a little secret. A secret that a lot of coffee companies would probably prefer I didn’t tell you, but I really feel compelled to spill the beans (no pun intended).

So what’s this secret?

The secret is that the darker coffee is roasted, the cheaper the coffee likely is.

Wait a second?

Dark roasted coffee is supposed to be the coffee drinker’s coffee, right?

Bold, intense, even macho…

In reality – it’s often just cheap.

The Way It Works

Coffee Roast Level

There are two main taste factors that come into play when coffee is roasted:

  1. The natural flavor the coffee possesses
  2. The flavor brought into the coffee through roasting

A high quality “specialty grade” coffee (cough – like the ones we sell – cough) is going to possess some holy-crap-I-never-knew-coffee-could-taste-this-incredible natural flavors that can often embody chocolate, fruit, or even floral tones just to speak of a few.

Now when I say “Natural Flavor”, please understand, that DOES NOT MEAN this is the dreaded…


Rather, specialty grade coffee will just naturally have certain taste profiles. It isn’t genetically engineered to do that. It was just grown in really good soil and lovingly cared for all the way from the tree to your cup (unlike a lot of other coffees out there).

To showcase the natural flavor profiles, these coffees really need to be roasted light or else you are roasting away the very factors that you pay for in a premium coffee.

A Light Roast would be around an 8-9 on this chart.  [Pic from Sweet Marias]

A Light Roast would be around an 8-9 on this chart. [Pic from Sweet Marias]

When coffee is roasted to a medium or dark, the natural tastes in that coffee are weakened and a more traditional coffee taste overpowers them. A high quality coffee roasted to these levels will still taste better than a low quality coffee, but the factors that made it great in the first place will be reduced or gone.

It would be like buying expensive mahogany furniture and painting over it.

On the flip side…

On the opposite end of the spectrum, low quality coffee when roasted light will just taste plain bad. Therefore to mask over the poor natural taste of the coffee, it REALLY needs to be roasted darker in order to have any appeal at all.

With that in mind, I just find it somewhat comical when I see major coffee brands describe their dark roasted products like this:

french roast

Oh marketers… you are just confusing people now.

I think what they meant to say was the “fine taste of burnt carbon,” because there sure ain’t any “real coffee” taste left in something roasted that dark. [FYI: a French Roast is a 14 on that chart above]

So now what?

Am I saying it is bad to drink a medium or dark roast coffee?

Heavens no.

Many people grow up on these coffees and even prefer them. Despite what coffee snobs say, coffee should always be enjoyed even if that means a medium or dark roast, so drink it however you like!

That being said, I would encourage you to step out from the traditional medium and dark roast coffees and try something like our Brazil with its deep chocolate tones, or the Kenya with its very pronounced cherry and strawberry characteristics.

Remember, this isn’t “Flavored Coffee”, but it is some of the most dynamic and naturally flavorful coffee you will ever try and we roast it to best highlight those natural flavors.


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Also, have you heard about the recipes section we launched recently? There is a Pumpkin Latte Pie on there that will seriously cause your taste buds to be eternally grateful. Check it out here and visit the Pure Bean Office Cafe website.