Coffee Myth #1 - Debunked
Posted by Ernest on Jan. 30, 2018, 3:27 p.m.
DEBUNKING THE IDEA THAT DARKER ROASTS EQUATES TO STRONGER COFFEE & HIGHER CAFFIENE
We’re fortunate to live in a world where an basic understanding of coffee and is become more and more prevalent. Unfortunately, despite this increase in knowledge certain false information still persists. Much of this misinformation revolves around the belief that a darker roast equates to ““higher” amounts of caffeine and “stronger flavored” cups of coffee.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
Next time you hear someone accidentally perpetuating this myth, help them know the errors of their way with our two debunks below!
Debunk #1: The Percentage Of Caffeine Isn’t Dependent On Your Roast, But Your Extraction
The strength of caffeine is contingent on various variables, but the “lightness” or “darkness” of your roast isn’t one of them. Sure, certain roasts might very minutely change the amount caffeine in your cup, but it’s almost nonexistent compared to the affect of other variables. Where caffeine changes is in your method of “extraction.” Sure, you’ll change your extraction methods depending on the type of roast you have, but it’s not the roast that affects the final amount of caffeine but the methods of extraction you use. For instance, an increase in grind size will typically decrease the amount of caffeine in the final cup. Conversely, a decrease in grind size will increase the amount of caffeine in your cup. According to the Specialty Coffee Association of America, grind size is the single greatest determining factor of caffeine content. That single variable will effect coffee content more than the darkness of a roast ever will.
To simplify, the amount of caffeine in your cup is more contingent on extraction variables like grind size, temperature of water, and variations of time brewed than it is on the darkness of your roast. Those variables might change depending on your particular roast, but the change in caffeine won’t be because of the roast itself.
Debunk #2: Don’t Worry About The Darkness Of Your Roast For A Stronger Flavor, Instead Focus On Proper Extraction
Some people will argue that a darker roast leads to a “stronger” more flavorful cup of coffee, but that’s not necessarily true. Just as extraction methods affect the caffeine in your coffee more than the darkness of your roast roast, the same principals apply when determining the “strength of flavor” in a given cup.
To be clear, flavor will definitively differ depending on the lightness or darkness of your roast. That’s why people buy different roasts, to experience various flavors. However, the “strength” of a roast’s respective flavor is most determined by extraction methods, not the roast itself.
28% of coffee is soluble flavor. It’s this percentage of the coffee bean that gives any given cup it’s respective flavor. For an optimal cup you want to extract 18% - 22% of the coffee’s flavor solubles. If you extract below that percentage you risk getting a cup that’s more watery and doesn’t have as much flavor. Go above that percentage and you get a cup that risks being burnt and astringent. While you might want to hone in a particular percentage depending on the lightness or darkness of a roast, the fullness and strength of a coffee’s flavor it’s more dependent on successfully extracting within this range. So when people tell you that a dark roast equates to a stronger more flavorful cup, know that the strength of the flavor is much more dependent on how well you prepare you coffee.
To better understand this phenomenon, imagine cooking a steak. If you cook a steak for too long, you don’t get more flavor. After you a point the flavor that was once there becomes masked with a charred burnt taste. After you pass an optimal cooking point, the meat will taste worse. The same can happen for coffee. Don’t think that a darker roast, inherently means a stronger flavored cup. Better flavor will be more dependent on proper extraction than the darkness of the roast, just like a better steak will be more dependent on optimal cooking than the cut of the meat.
Hopefully by debunking these two dark roast coffee myths you’ll be better equipped to prepare some dark roasts of your own, and clear up some misinformation if it ever arises.
Until next time we hope you enjoy your dark roasts and have a good time brewing!