Coffee Affection is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Caffeine in Light Roast vs Dark Roast Coffee: A Complete Overview

light roast vs dark roast coffee beans

For years, a debate has raged about whether light-roast coffee or dark-roast coffee contains more caffeine. Both roasts come from the same place, right? While this may be true, that doesn’t mean they are exactly equal. If you are a coffee-lover, especially one that wants the most caffeine for your buck, then knowing which of these roasts is better for waking up and starting your day is important information to have.

Let’s take a closer look at the caffeine in light roast vs dark roast coffee. This will help you better understand your caffeine intake and choose the coffee best suited for your needs. The truth is that light roast coffee has slightly more caffeine than dark roast coffee, when you measure it by weight.

divider 3

Caffeine in Light Roast vs Dark Roast Coffee

Here is the amount of caffeine in light roast versus dark roast coffee, when measured by weight:

Light Roast Dark Roast
60 mg of caffeine 51 mg of caffeine

How Much Caffeine in Light Roast Coffee?

It’s been a common misconception that due to their bolder flavors and darker colors that dark roast coffee has a superior amount of caffeine. This isn’t actually the case. According to Healthline, studies have been conducted using a sample of both light and dark roast coffees. The results? While the amounts of caffeine were very similar, the light roast coffee came out on top by a small margin, containing 60 mg of caffeine. These studies were conducted using weighed coffee instead of scoops. Using this measuring method helps ensure the same amount of beans are roasted and the study is accurate.

coffee machine flat burr grinder and roasted coffee beans
Image Credit: momemoment, Shutterstock

How Much Caffeine is in Dark Roast Coffee?

While many coffee lovers consider dark roast coffee the most flavorful when it comes to caffeine content, this type of coffee offers a slight bit less caffeine than its lighter counterpart, containing 51 mg of caffeine. Learning the caffeine amounts in this type of bean requires measuring coffee by weight due to the fact dark roast beans are larger due to puffing and expanding in air. As with any coffee, it’s important to remember the type of bean and roast time will make the caffeine content vary.

The caffeine in both light and dark roast coffee comes from the coffee beans themselves. Coffee beans, or coffee cherries, contain natural caffeine. During the roasting process, this caffeine is released into the brew. The caffeine content of each roast, light and dark, depends on the type of bean you use, the roasting process, and your preferred brewing method. Arabica beans, which are the most popular, tend to have less caffeine in them than Robusta beans. This should be kept in mind when determining which roast you prefer and the level of caffeine you want in your cup.

divider 4

The Bottom Line

As you can see, the myth surrounding the higher caffeine content in dark roast coffee can now be put to rest. Yes, in specific, light roast coffee has roughly 9 mg more caffeine than dark roast coffee. With this being such a slight difference, it is understandable that many sources claim these 2 roast types have the same amount of caffeine. However, if you want a better caffeine boost, a light roast would still be your best option.

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


Melissa Gunter

Melissa has been a fan of coffee since the first sip she stole from her Granny's cup when she was just a girl. Now, she spends each morning writing with a hot cup of coffee at her side. With a love of sweet and creamy bliss, Melissa and her daughter, Amber, stop by and try out every local coffee shop they see. Neither are afraid to try something new and have a long list of favorite coffee beverages they simply can't do without. When she's not freelance writing about her 2 passions, coffee, and pets, Melissa spends her time with her husband, 2 kids, and 5 fur babies. She also loves diving into the fiction world under her pen name, Rena Marin. If she isn't at the laptop or with the family, Melissa is out enjoying the mountains of East Tennessee she calls home.

Read more

Related posts

Other Categories