Having it black means not adding cream, sugar, or whatever else your taste buds can’t get enough of. It doesn’t necessarily point in the direction of dark roast. Now I’m sure you already know that there are many reasons for leaning toward the best light roast coffee. But the one that matters the most is the original flavor.
In comparison to dark roast, light roast retains more original flavor. And the next one appeals to the caffeine addict in you. More often than not, it also contains extra caffeine. So bonus points for that, right?
In this post, I’m going to discuss everything about light roast you might want to know. But before that, let’s have a look at the top 10 choices in this category. After all, your genuine love for coffee, be it light, medium, or dark roast, deserves only the best.
Table Of Contents
- Best Light Roast Coffee: Top 10 Reviews 2019
- #1 Kicking Horse Coffee Hola Light Roast Ground Coffee
- #2 Caribou Coffee Daybreak Morning Blend Ground Coffee
- #3 Cameron’s Coffee Breakfast Blend Roasted Ground Coffee
- #4 Café Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- #5 Peet’s Coffee Colombia Luminosa Light Roast Ground Coffee
- #6 Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- #7 Starbucks Veranda Blend Light Blonde Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- #8 Coffee Bean Direct Hawaiian Kona Blend Whole Bean Coffee
- #9 Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic Signature Blend Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee
- #10 Panera Bread Light Roast Coffee
- Light Roast Coffee: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide
- Wrapping It Up
Best Light Roast Coffee: Top 10 Reviews 2019
#1 Kicking Horse Coffee Hola Light Roast Ground Coffee
Let’s start with a bang! Kicking Horse Coffee is a very popular coffee brand in the current market. It’s responsible for providing true coffee lovers with the best version of the roast type they like. In this case, it’s the Hola Light Roast. And it comes in the form of ground coffee. Needless to say, the taste is very flavorful and delightful.
It’s Certified Organic, Fair Trade-certified, and Kosher-certified. You can accept these certifications as witnesses to the high-quality of the coffee beans. But this light roast is the most popular for its fruity undertones and high caffeine.
Whatever brewing process you wish to choose, the ground coffee is good to go with any. However, Kicking Horse Coffee recommends cold brew, drip machine, or pour over for the best taste.
The organic coffee beans are sourced from South and Central America. So you can expect your taste buds to savor the original flavor of cocoa powder, rich nougat, and brown sugar. It’s an expertly roasted version of light roast coffee that you’ll love to start your mornings with (1).
- Shade-grown, fully organic coffee beans are used.
- High caffeine yet mild taste with fruity flavors.
- It’s incredibly smooth and only slightly acidic.
- The grind is very, very fine.
#2 Caribou Coffee Daybreak Morning Blend Ground Coffee
The Arabica beans used for this unique Daybreak Morning Blend come from East Africa and the Americas. So the quintessential signature taste does stand out. Strong, flavorful, and bright-bodied!
The ground coffee is quite expertly light roasted, no doubt about that. The level of caffeine in here is higher as compared to just about any dark roast. This might sound like a sweet melody to your ears if you’re a caffeine lover. That strong caffeine kick you crave first thing in the morning is very much a part of the picture.
Moving on, the manufacturer has printed some detailed instructions and proper preparation method on the packaging. These are very easy to follow even if you’re preparing light roast coffee for the first time.
The tasting notes are packed with a subtle, sweet flavor. Along with caramel, nutty finish and floral cherry undertones. And to make it all a guilt-free experience, Caribou Coffee sources their beans from farms that have the fair, ethical Rainforest Alliance certification.
But, in the end, it all boils down to the mild character of this Morning Blend. Subtle flavors like these get highlighted when the roast is light. So your mornings aren’t doomed anymore.
- The beans used are sourced sustainably and ethically.
- Preparation instructions are clear for better results.
- It’s bright, creamy, and flavorful with a sweet, nutty taste.
- Grind size and quality are consistent.
- Requires a larger amount than average for proper flavor/strength.
#3 Cameron’s Coffee Breakfast Blend Roasted Ground Coffee
What’s in the bag? A blend of earthy, sustainable 100% Arabica coffee beans from South and Central America. These beans are slow-roasted in small batches. It’s what gives the mild flavor a rich appeal.
By far, this Breakfast Blend by Cameron’s Coffee is the most flavorful and smoothest. You can look forward to perfectly light roasted beans. They’re not the over-roasted kind at all.
As for the sustainably sourced aspect, the brand gives a lot of importance to water consumption, environment, and the farmers. So the coffee, along with smooth and never bitter, is also in keeping with planet Earth.
How about the taste of this Light Roast Breakfast Blend? The aroma is dreamy, first of all. And the taste has a lot in common with deliciously flavored coffee. But not in an artificial way!
It’s rich, no doubt. Speaking of which, the coffee has enough power to uplift your sleepy or lethargic mood. The caffeine level fuels you as much as you desire to get through the day.
Let me tell you that the blend is delightfully light with a full-bodied flavor. So if you don’t enjoy bold brews, you might just get hooked on to this light roast.
- Grounds smell rich and fresh.
- Excellent packaging.
- It has a distinct Hazelnut flavor.
- The coffee is perfect for both cold and hot brew.
- The flavor is too strong, almost overpowering.
#4 Café Don Pablo Subtle Earth Organic Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee
Nothing can take down Café Don Pablo as far as taste is concerned. The light roast consists of organic Arabica coffee beans. A smooth, mild flavor is exactly what you should expect despite the high content of caffeine.
The whole bean coffee is good for the French Press brewing method too. The rich, chocolaty flavor contains depth your taste buds might have never discovered. Such a flavor tends to shine through, even more, when the roast is light.
Non-GMO and Certified Organic are labels that make a huge impact. It’s important to know whether the coffee beans have been grown without any insecticides or pesticides. So that area is pretty much covered too. Doesn’t this seem like a huge relief?
The velvety and rich body combines well with the low acidity. At the end of every sip lies the clean, crisp finish you won’t take time to appreciate. And lastly, the hints of caramel, cocoa, honey, and chocolate are simply out of this world.
So if you’re in the mood for exciting those taste buds and caffeine cravings, look no other way.
- The aroma is tantalizingly sugary.
- USDA certified and non-GMO.
- 100% Arabica coffee beans ensure a smooth taste.
- Not oily and not bitter with low acid.
- Whole beans; so you have to grind them first.
#5 Peet’s Coffee Colombia Luminosa Light Roast Ground Coffee
What’s so special about this light roast ground coffee by Peet’s Coffee? To start with, the word “Luminosa” is a part of the picture. It means bright or shining. The blend is a combination of Colombian sweetness and the floral aroma of Ethiopia. Light and sweet, no doubt; this coffee is full of stone fruit and passion flower.
Quality is the manufacturer’s top priority here. Peet’s Coffee also strives to care for growers and harvesters. Coffee, no matter the roast, is always better when grown and sourced responsibly.
I would also like to bring to your attention that they offer other roasts too. Peet’s Coffee light roast, such as this one, is abundantly smooth and mild. The dark roasts are full-bodied and smoky. And the middle ground, that is a medium roast, is also very smooth and fragrant.
How about the caffeine kick, can you expect that in this case? Yes, you can and you should. Preparing the ground coffee is no hassle either. The process is much like instant coffee if you ask me. But it’s the more complex and brighter flavor here that hogs all the limelight.
- The coffee beans are freshly roasted.
- Strong caffeine kick doesn’t compromise the mild taste.
- The packaging is good for storage.
- The flavor is smooth and sweet with a delicate aroma.
- It is a bit lacking in terms of strength.
#6 Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee
Sourced from South and Central America, but roasted in Seattle. This Breakfast Blend Light Roast by Seattle-based Real Good Coffee Company is a very popular option. The coffee contains high caffeine for the boost you crave every morning. So don’t give in to the rumors that light roasts are not strong enough to wake you up.
The blend prepares a very powerful brew, that’s for sure. The Arabica beans are both organic and fresh. But what’s even more impressive is the 2-pound weight of the coffee packed inside. This is great news for you if you’re a heavy drinker and you enjoy more than 1-2 cups a day.
The dedicated breakfast light roast blend is good for pour over or drip machine coffee maker. No matter the brewing method, the end result is smooth with an alluring combination of cream and chocolate alongside.
And here’s one more thing. Recyclable materials are employed for the packaging and delivery of the product. Now doesn’t that make the experience even sweeter?
- It’s light and smooth without any sugar or cream.
- Perfect for a caffeine kick.
- Quantity of whole bean coffee is very generous.
- Natural aromas and flavors with nothing artificial.
- The roast and bean size are inconsistent.
#7 Starbucks Veranda Blend Light Blonde Roast Whole Bean Coffee
What you’re looking at here is a perfect choice if you prefer delicate coffee. Starbucks is a coffee giant, everybody knows that. But their coffee has earned a reputation of “too dark.” So this blonde light roast is proof that even Starbucks can do mild.
It’s a mellow and lighter-bodied roast that, needless to say, awakens your senses. Every cup is flavorful and yet gentle and not overpoweringly bold at the same time. That’s the beauty of blonde here.
Starbucks has, over the years, become an expert at striking the perfect balance between time and temperature when it comes to roasting coffee beans. Their roasting process ensures maximum flavor, body, acidity, and aroma.
The notes of mildly toasted nuts and soft cocoa are what add the distinctive quality. If you ask me, it’s the best way to begin your day. This is true of every Veranda blend that Starbucks offers. This includes the medium and dark roast.
Here’s another enticing aspect very likely to nudge you in the direction of this light roast. The coffee arrives fast, which means fresher beans. Expect to still find oil on them and the aroma to be amazingly unfaded. Every black coffee you prepare with these whole beans is smooth without the unpleasant bitter aftereffect.
- Strong coffee with a full-bodied flavor.
- Freshly packed and delivered for longer shelf life.
- You can grind the beans for all types of brewing methods.
- They have a very oily texture.
#8 Coffee Bean Direct Hawaiian Kona Blend Whole Bean Coffee
Have your taste buds ever come in contact with a Hawaiian Kona blend? If not, then how about letting them do so now? And you don’t even have to spend a lot of money for that. This Hawaiian Kona Coffee by Coffee Bean Direct is a very cherishable and affordable option.
It’s packed with original Kona beans and premium quality Arabica coffee beans. Such a blend is responsible for bringing about the bright tartness and mellow body. The hints of mocha, butter-like macadamia nut, and even coriander taste like nothing you’ve ever had or tried before.
The Kona coffee beans come from Hawaii and the Arabica beans from Central America. The whole beans are light-roasted, obviously. And then packaged in valved, foiled-in bags to retain freshness.
As for what brewing method is best, you can choose any. This includes percolator, French press, drip machine, pour over, reusable pod, etc.
The outcome, every single time, is rich coffee with a well-defined and well-rounded character. Without any artificial flavoring to add an unpleasant chemical-like taste. This means you don’t feel the need to bring in additives like sugar or cream (2) to hide any possible shortcomings. After all, that is the distinctive quality of Kona.
- It has a deliciously bright, cheerful sourness.
- The coffee is well-caffeinated to keep you going.
- Grinding the beans is easy and quick.
- Strength and acid profile are mild on the tummy.
- The coffee beans aren’t oily at all; they’re too dry and dull.
#9 Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic Signature Blend Light Roast Whole Bean Coffee
Quantity is at its best in this case. You get 3 pounds of tiny footprints that are the light roast whole beans. But quality is not sidelined along the way. These Arabica coffee beans are sourced from Ecuador. A bold and smooth taste is at the top of the list of the many good things about this Organic Signature Blend.
It offers fruity undertones by the way, like orange and lemon. The tasting notes also consist of cocoa, which you might appreciate as a coffee lover. Moreover, the combination of cocoa with the orange and lemon fruity undertones strikes the perfect balance.
I would also like to bring to your notice that the roasting is carried out using fuel-efficient burners. The company’s ultimate goal is to deliver a perfect roast, be it light, medium, or dark, while also caring for the environment. And that is true dedication, isn’t it?
- The coffee beans are shade-grown and organic.
- The flavor profile is composed of cocoa and fruity tones.
- Every batch is consistent.
- They smell freshly ground.
- Light roast, high caffeine, and low acid.
- It tastes a bit sour and weak.
#10 Panera Bread Light Roast Coffee
Why would you or anyone looking for the best light roast coffee enjoy this one? It’s because the manufacturer uses only 100% Arabica coffee beans. When the beans are high-quality, you can expect great flavor.
As for the light roast part, the nutty flavor is not overpowering. The overall character of this Panera Bread Coffee is bright and balanced. Even the aroma is equipped with a very enticing sweet roasted nutty essence.
There aren’t any artificial sweeteners, flavors, colors, or preservatives added to this. And that says a lot about how authentic the experience is going to be. Authentic AND smooth! There’s no chance you won’t like the flavor. No matter how big of a coffee snob you are, much like me.
- The sweet, nutty flavor and aroma are tantalizing.
- There are zero artificial elements included.
- It’s a light roast that’s also bold and smooth.
- The aftertaste is bitter.
Light Roast Coffee: The Ultimate Buyer's Guide
Why Are Coffee Beans Roasted In The First Place?
Why don’t you try a little experiment of your own? Take some green processed coffee beans and grind them up. Now, with the help of these, brew your cup of daily coffee. You’ll see that the result is nothing but a dirty cup of water. No flavor, and certainly not what you call coffee is going to be in that cup.
What is this Maillard Reaction?
It’s the effect that takes form when certain foods are heated. For instance, bread transforming into toast or beef into steak. The process has the ability to alter the odorless, tasteless compounds present in green coffee beans as well. It gives them the flavor and aroma we call coffee.
When you change the time and temperature of roasting, you can further modify the flavor. This means longer roasting at higher temperature produces dark roast coffee beans. With a more intense flavor and aroma!
But this has its own drawbacks. Longer roasting also tends to destroy the complex and subtle flavors present in specialty coffee beans.
What is Light Roast Coffee?
What makes coffee light roast? The answer is simple. It’s the roasting process. When coffee beans are roasted for a shorter span of time, they’re tagged as a light roast. Obviously, there are many variations based on where the coffee beans are grown and at what altitude. However, every brand offers a range from dark to light.
In that case, each manufacturer or roaster has its own roasting scale. Some of them offer the standard dark, medium, and light roasts. While there are a few that also include extra dark, medium-dark, and more.
Roast is the crack you see on the coffee beans. Let me explain below.
At the time of picking coffee cherry, the center of the bean is green, soft, and tasteless. So what roasting does is bring out the delicious flavor you, I, and everybody else just can’t seem to get enough of.
During the roasting process, the coffee beans become hard. The majority of light roast coffee beans are taken out of the roaster even before the first crack appears. So if your whole beans show that crack, it means they’re barely light-roast.
Even temperature plays an important role. But it’s not the same with every variety. Generally speaking, light roasts are subjected to a temperature between 356 degrees Fahrenheit and 401 degrees Fahrenheit. Anything above the maximum limit and the beans keep getting hotter, thus darker.
Q: Do Light Roasts Contain More Caffeine?
I’m sure you’ve heard not once but many times that dark roasts have a higher content of caffeine. But the opposite of that is true. Another common misconception is that most of the caffeine gets burnt off while roasting. Now let me tell you that no such thing happens during the roasting process. Caffeine remains stable throughout.
If you compare a bean of light roast coffee to that of a dark roast, the caffeine level is pretty much the same in both. However, there are fluctuations in the level of caffeine based on how much coffee you measure.
For example, I have 45 light roast coffee beans and 47 dark roast coffee beans. Two extra, right? So is there really a difference with only 10 grams? The answer is yes, and with just 10 grams.
Along the same lines, a pound of dark roast contains 90 more beans in comparison to a pound of light roast. During roasting, beans change density. Meaning they become less dense if the roasting time is longer. This is why you’ll find more dark roast beans in terms of mass.
You should also know that coffee beans, when roasted, lose around 90 percent of water content.
So if you’re measuring coffee, scoop-wise, light roasts contain more caffeine. And that’s because light roast beans have a denser body than their dark roast counterparts. But if you’re weighing coffee, scoop-wise, dark roasts offer more caffeine due to the decreased mass.
How to Roast Coffee Beans at Home?
You can choose either one of the two very common roasting methods discussed below.
This requires proper roaster equipment. It gives you maximum control. A dedicated coffee roaster offers consistency, even in terms of color, without scorching your beans. If you ask me, it’s the most useful for roasting coffee beans on your own.
Stovetop/Oven Popcorn Popper
Place some beans on top of a baking tray. Now let these roast in your oven for about 15-20 minutes. But if you have a larger batch to roast, then pick the popcorn popper. That way you get access to more flexibility with regards to temperature.
Other Types of Coffee Roasts
1. Medium Roast
The best light roast coffee is taken out of the roaster before the first crack, correct? But medium roasts achieve the second crack as well. This is a result of an increase in temperature, which is somewhere between 205 degrees and 220 degrees Celsius.
Medium roast coffee is fuller in terms of body and darker in terms of flavor. The beans have just started caramelizing but they’re not yet beginning to burn.
You’ll find no grainy texture or taste in a medium roast, unlike light roasts. The balance between acidity, aroma, and flavor is also more well-balanced.
2. Dark Roast
Dark roasted coffee beans are almost black in color and also very oily. You can actually see this in a freshly brewed cup of coffee. The flavor is smoky and tastes bitter. But this actually appeals to many coffee lovers.
However, the one problem here is that original flavors become less noticeable in dark roasts. While light roasts are able to retain most of the original characteristics, in terms of flavor and aroma.
The temperature of the roasting process here reaches 240 degrees Celsius. Once it passes 250 degrees, the taste of the beans thins out. This is also when the charcoal starts to interfere with the mix.
Needless to say, dark roasting brings out a richer and bolder flavor. But only when done right! Otherwise, the beans turn into a burnt and charred tragedy.
Then there’s medium-dark and double-dark roast as well. The former beans are removed from the roaster midway after the first crack. They have a fuller body than medium roast. Along with more distinctive individual flavors and a definite spicy character.
As for double-dark, this roast type is packed with a smoky flavor and the fullest body. It’s certainly not for a lighthearted coffee drinker.
Wrapping It Up
So the moral of the story here is that the best light roast coffee is bursting with complex yet subtle flavors. And these tend to get destroyed when the beans are roasted for a longer time.
In simple words, if you want to savor the chocolaty, nutty, and fruity notes of coffee, pick a delicate breakfast blend. That is a light roast.
Dark roasts are very strong with a burnt and bitter taste that not many coffee lovers appreciate. In that case, the 10 options I have reviewed are great for such drinkers. So are you one of them? If yes, it’s time to make your final decision right about now.