Do Certain Coffee Roasts Have More Caffeine Than Others?

Do Certain Coffee Roasts Have More Caffeine Than Others?

January 02, 2023

This classic age old question kept coming up, what do you think?

Do you have a tough time reading between all the mis-marketing of caffeine in different coffee roasts? We’ve definitely had in the past, which is why we reached out to coffee professionals to myth bust the caffeine content once and for all.

You may have heard that dark roast coffee is higher in caffeine than lighter roasts.

The truth is, this rumor isn't true—it's just easier to believe because darker roasts tend to be stronger in flavor. In reality, the caffeine content of each type of coffee will vary depending on how long it was roasted and how you brew it. For example, a lighter roast might taste weaker than a dark one but actually contain more caffeine by volume (and vice versa).

What does this mean?

There is almost no difference in caffeine levels between light, medium and dark roasted coffee. There is a very minimal difference that the human body is not likely to notice.

The best coffee roasters use a rigorous process to ensure that the beans are properly roasted. During this process, the coffee is roasted at different temperatures and times to achieve different flavors. While each roast creates unique tastes and aromas, there is one thing they all have in common: they're all lower in caffeine than their raw counterparts.

It's no secret that darker roasts contain more antioxidants than lighter ones, but what about caffeine? Does a dark roast still pack as much of a punch or does it make you feel like you've had more than you actually did? It just makes you feel like you have it because of the intensity of taste.

Dark roasts have a stronger taste than lighter roasts because they have been cooked longer, which also burns off some of their natural oils -- giving them less flavor overall and making them seem stronger in taste. So, if you're looking for something with more caffeine per ounce, opt for a lighter roast instead.

In fact, dark roast coffee drinkers are consuming slightly fewer milligrams of caffeine per cup than light roast. The difference is not significant enough to make a difference, but it's interesting to note that if you're considering switching from light to dark roasts for the sake of your health, think again.

The entire notion that darker roasts have more caffeine than lighter ones is a myth. The truth is that all arabica coffee beans contain almost the same amount of caffeine, regardless of how they're roasted. While there might be some differences in taste between different types of coffee, this isn't going to be enough to justify switching your morning brew entirely. So don't feel bad if you prefer dark roast over light—you're not missing out on anything!

However, the difference in caffeine content between coffee roasts is not significant enough to justify switching your morning brew entirely. The difference in milligrams of caffeine per cup is only a few milligrams, and it’s probably not enough to make you feel any different. Coffee drinkers can rest easy knowing that there aren’t any major differences between roasts when it comes to caffeine content.

Caffeine based on brewing: The amount of caffeine in coffee is affected by the brewing method and serving size. Caffeine content varies based on the brewing method and serving size:

  • Cold Brew Coffee is one of the highest caffeine content due to extraction
    time being so long (18-24hrs)
  • Espresso contains less caffeine than drip or French press because it's not brewed through water—instead, it's pushed through the ground beans under pressure by a machine called an espresso machine. This causes most of its water content to evaporate before getting into your mug.

We’ll save the in depth caffeine levels for another day ;)

We interviewed Brandon Bir as part of our MythBusters journey, check out this clip on caffeine in different roasts.

Peru Coffee Canadian subscription


To recap, there is so little difference between the caffeine levels of different roasts. Drink the type of roast you enjoy most, and pick a brewing method that might give you more of a kick than the coffee itself! If you are a light coffee drinker we recommend our Ethiopia, Peru or our Nomad Blend. If you like to live life on the dark side, our Asphalt will give you that intense flavor with a smooth like jazz after taste!