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Caffeine in Blonde Roast vs Dark Roast Coffee: The Differences Explained

light roast vs dark roast coffee beans

With so many different coffee roasts available, it can be difficult to know how much caffeine each type contains. However, knowing how to recognize the caffeine amount in every coffee beverage you drink is helpful, especially if you have health conditions or sleeping issues.

Today, we will compare the caffeine amount in blonde and dark roasts to determine which has more and how much each has. Practically speaking, blonde roast and dark roast coffee contain similar amounts of caffeine. However, because coffee beans lose water weight as they roast, dark roast coffee contains less caffeine by volume and more caffeine by weight. Read on below to find out more!

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Caffeine Content Comparison of Blonde Roast vs Dark Roast Coffee

Although most people believe that dark roasts contain more caffeine, the truth is that caffeine levels in both roasts are very similar. Since the coffee beans don’t change much during the roasting process, the caffeine content remains fairly static through all roast levels.

However, when you roast coffee beans, their weight and volume change, affecting the caffeine level per volume and weight. The longer you roast a coffee bean, the more it will become darker and lighter in weight. Since beans lose weight (which is mainly water) during roasting, the caffeine content by weight increases while caffeine content by volume decreases. When you measure out a scoop (by volume) of dark roast beans, there will be fewer beans overall due to their size, resulting in less caffeine per cup than blonde roast.

That said, if you measure your brew by weight then dark roast brews will have more caffeine since dark roast beans are lighter. Some coffee shops brew coffee according to volume by weight, and others by volume, so it depends on your brewing method. However, the majority of us at home will use the volume method, resulting in a less caffeinated drink.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Robusta and Arabica coffee do not contain the same amount of caffeine, so the actual caffeine level of your roast will depend on the type of coffee you’re drinking. Typically, Robusta contains twice the caffeine that’s in Arabica.

Blonde Roast Dark Roast
Around 60mg per 1 ounce Around 51mg per 1 ounce

This is a comparison done per an average cup of coffee, although the actual caffeine level will also vary depending on the type of coffee, the way it’s measured, and the brewing technique.

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How Much Caffeine is in Blonde Roast?

The amount of caffeine in blonde roast is typically a bit higher than in dark roast, simply because most people measure coffee beans by volume. When it comes to flavor, blonde roasts are milder, but when you drink beverages with fine grounds, such as espresso, the caffeine content will generally be higher than in dark roast beverages.

How Much Caffeine is in Dark Roast?

Typically, the strong flavor of dark roasts makes people believe that it contain more caffeine than a blonde roast. However, everything goes back to the actual measuring and brewing technique and the type of coffee beans used to make the coffee. By weight, dark roast typically has more caffeine than blonde roast.

man holding freshly roasted specialty coffee
Image Credit: SerhiyHorobets, Shutterstock

Where Does the Caffeine Come from in Blonde Roast & Dark Roast?

The caffeine for both roasts comes directly from the roasted coffee beans. There are two main coffee types used to gain the flavor preferences for coffee flavors:

They will be the key to determining the amount of caffeine in each caffeinated beverage you like to consume. Robusta has double the amount of caffeine as Arabica, so it all comes down to which coffee beans were used during the roasting process.

As mentioned earlier, the caffeine content stays fairly level throughout all levels of roasting, and it’s the weight and volume that changes how much caffeine is present in your beverage.

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Final Thoughts

Since caffeine levels in both blonde roast and dark roasts are very similar, there is no significant difference between the two—it all comes down to your preferences regarding flavor and acidity. The beans used and the brewing method can have a significant impact on caffeine levels.

Dark roasts can sometimes have a bitter taste, while blonde roasts are sweeter but have a bit more caffeine by volume than the darker version. If you prefer stronger flavors, we suggest choosing dark roast. On the other hand, if you like lighter flavors and a bit more of a caffeine kick, the blonde roast will work perfectly for you.

Featured Image Credit: Left – Light Roast (PublicDomainPictures, Pixabay) | Right – Dark Roast (NickyPe, Pixabay)


Ollie Jones

Oliver (Ollie) Jones is a zoologist and freelance writer living in South Australia. Originally from the US, he thought he loved coffee before his big move down under, but his discovery of the flat white and the cafe on every corner has taken his coffee passion to a whole new level. He's so excited to share his knowledge and experience with readers worldwide (and keep testing coffee drinks while he's at it).

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