Even if you enjoy a regular cup of coffee or two throughout the day, you may still have questions about the main differences between blonde roast vs medium roast. Let’s take a closer look at what sets them apart.
I love coffee. Next to bacon, it’s one of my favorite food groups. So I have my favorite roasts that I go back to again and again. Usually, they’re darker varieties, but every so often I’ll mix things up and go with lighter blonde or medium ones.
In this post, I’ll go over what makes each roast unique, how they’re made, and what they taste like, so you can choose your next cup of Joe with confidence.
What is blonde roast coffee?
As the name implies, a blonde roast coffee has a lighter color and mellower flavor than other, darker roasts. That’s because it’s made by roasting the coffee beans at lower temperatures for shorter periods. The result is a coffee with a light brown hue and lighter overall body.
It tends to taste lighter and brighter as well, with citrus and floral notes. That citrusy flavor has to do with higher levels of acid in the roast. As the beans are roasted for longer periods of time at higher temperatures, that acid breaks down, which is why darker roasts have lower acidity.
How is blonde roast made?
To achieve a blonde roast, the coffee beans are heated to around 355°–400° Fahrenheit in the roasting process. It’s around this temperature range that the beans will first start to pop or crack. When that sound is heard, they’ve essentially reached the light or blonde roast stage. That’s when they’re dropped from the roaster.
Since they’re not roasted for very long, the beans tend to retain more density than beans that roasted for longer. That means blonde roast beans also have more concentrated levels of other coffee properties, such as caffeine.
What is medium roast coffee?
With a darker color and mellow flavors, medium roast is seen by many as a more balanced coffee. It’s roasted longer and hotter than blonde roast. This helps it lose some of the bright citrus taste and gives it a richer, more recognizable and robust coffee flavor.
It can also be a bit more bitter as a result of the higher roasting temps. But overall, the result is a cup of coffee with a smooth flavor.
How is medium roast made?
Medium roast coffee beans are roasted at temperatures between 410º–440º F and are left in the roaster until they just reach second crack. This gives them a darker color, and less acidity and caffeine than blonde roasts. This results in a bit less caffeine and sometimes creamier, nuttier taste profiles.
Blonde roast vs dark roast
While blonde roast coffee beans are roasted at a lower temperature for less amounts of time, dark roast is the opposite. These beans are roasted until after second crack, while usually happens at around the 440° F mark. This higher temperature and longer roasting gives them a very dark brown color and a glossy sheen due to the oils extracted by the high heat.
This coffee has a bold, strong flavor bordering on smoky. Dark roasts are a popular choice for many coffee drinkers for this very reason, as they provide an intense taste with lower acidity than medium or light roasts.
Blonde roast vs light roast
“Blonde roast” and “light roast” coffee is similar but not quite the same. While they both refer to beans that have been roasted for relatively short amounts of time at lower heat, light roast encompasses a wider range of coffees. That includes blonde roast coffees, as well as white roasts and gold roasts.
White roast is the lightest in the range. They’re roasted at temps around 325° F and are pulled before they reach first crack.
Gold roast goes through a bit more roasting time to provide a bit more color and mellower flavor.
Blonde roast is also roasted longer than a white roast, but can often seem more acidic than gold roasts. So blonde roast is actually a type of light roast coffee.
Other types of light roast include:
Cinnamon roast – This is the lightest coffee roast and beans are pulled form the roaster at the outset of the first crack near the 350° F mark. This coffee is very sour and acidic with a very light brown hue.
Light city or New England roast – This process roasts the beans to between 375° and 400° degrees and pulled just after first crack. This produced light coffee beans and a coffee taste that is delicate and fruity with high caffeine levels.
Half city roast – This roast profile includes heats the beans up to as high as 415° F, verging on medium roast territory. The higher heat reduces miuch of the citrusy acidity found in lighter roasts and creates coffee with a richer, chocolatey flavor. The beans themselves will still be light brown in color, though.
Is medium roast stronger than blonde?
In terms of the amount of caffeine, blonde roast is actually stronger. The shorter roasting time allows it to retain caffeine that tends to dissipate as beans are roasted longer.
But when it comes to body and flavor, medium roast can be considered stronger. A blonde roast doesn’t have the same full-bodied feel as medium roast coffee or dark roast beans.
So if you’re looking for coffee with higher caffeine content but milder taste, a blonde roast may be the right choice. However, if you want a richer, bolder coffee with stronger flavor and aroma, then a medium or dark roast will be the best option.
Blonde vs medium roast summary
Here’s a recap of the key differences between blonde vs medium roast:
- Roasted for a shorter time at lower temperatures.
- Pulled from roaster when first crack is heard.
- Produces coffee that is lighter in color with a brighter, citrusy taste profile.
- Has higher caffeine levels and higher acidity than medium and dark roasts.
- Lighter body than other, darker roasts.
- Roasted for longer than blonde roast and at higher temperatures.
- Pulled from roaster just at second crack.
- Coffee has a mellow, balanced taste without the floral or citrus notes found in blonde roast.
- Has less caffeine and acidity than blonde roasts.
- Fuller body than blonde roast.
Is blonde roast healthier than medium roast coffee?
However, lighter coffee roasts have been linked to additional benefits. Some research suggests that they have greater anti-inflammatory properties, which can help protect can against heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and certain neurological conditions.
Lighter roast coffee may also be higher in a type of antioxidant called polyphenols. They’ve been shown to improve cognitive function, digestion, and help reduce risk of heart disease, and certain types of cancer.
That said, studies show blonde roasts may be higher in a substance called acrylamide, which has been linked to increased cancer risks.
The bottom line is that both lighter roasts and darker roasts may have certain health benefits, but there’s no clear evidence to indicate that one is significantly better for you than another.
You can certainly use blonde roast or lighter roasts for iced coffee. But the coffee flavor may be a bit milder and acidic than with more typical iced coffee. They use medium or darker roasts that provide a richer, more robust coffee taste.
It’s a common misconception that the darker the coffee roast, the more caffeine it has. But that’s not the case. Lighter roasts like blonde roast are heated up at lower temperatures for less time. So that allows them to retain many of the coffee beans’ properties. That means they’ll have higher caffeine and acidity levels.
By contrast, the longer beans are roasted, the more they can break down. So medium and dark roast coffees are generally lower in both caffeine and acidity.
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