What is the Difference Between Medium Roast and Dark Roast Coffee?

What is the Difference Between Medium Roast and Dark Roast Coffee?

One of the most frequently asked questions that we receive relates to the difference between coffee roasts. Everyone has their go-to roast level, and we are here to help you understand the differences between each of these levels. Our “roast levels” are used to describe how long and thoroughly we roast the coffee beans. The most common words to describe our levels of coffee roasting are Medium Roast and Dark Roast.

Coffee roasting is one of the most influential factors of coffee taste. Roasting transforms green beans into the aromatic and flavorful coffee that wakes our senses in the morning. However, roasting beans at different levels achieves more than merely darkening the bean; it also changes many of the beans’ physical attributes as well.

Many large coffee companies roast in enclosed drums that can sometimes burn their beans. Our perforated drum roasters protect the smooth flavor and aroma of each roast level at a perfect temperature. Before we break down all of the roast levels, here are a few talking points to help you differentiate between roasting levels:

  • Light roasts last until a single crack is heard, called the “first crack”
  • As beans roast darker, both the caffeine content and origin flavors roast out
  • Darker roasts are slightly less acidic and have the least caffeine
  • Dark roasts get their bold, smoky flavor from oil that surfaces on the bean
  • Light and Medium roasts have little to no oil on the surface of the bean
  • As a bean roasts, the body gets thicker and heavier up until the “second crack”
  • After the second crack, beans start to thin and taste more like charcoal


Medium Roast

Medium Roast coffees are brown and have a little thicker body than a Light Roast. Unlike Light, Medium starts to take on a bit of the taste from the roasting process, losing some of the bright floral flavors that are typical of a Light Roast. Instead, they carry much more of a balanced flavor with a medium amount of caffeine. A Medium is roasted until just before the second crack, usually at about 410º–440º. Other roasters refer to a Medium as American Roast, Breakfast Roast, or City Roast. Our most popular Medium Roasts include Caribbean Delight, Manatee Blend, and our other Flavors.


Dark Roast

Dark Roast coffees are dark brown, even close to a blackened color. The beans are characterized by drawn-out oil that glosses the surface. Coffee made from a Dark Roast has a robust, full body. The flavors from the coffee’s country of origin are almost entirely roasted out, taking on a very bold and smoky taste.

To be considered Dark, beans roast to a temperature of anything higher than 440º or essentially the end of the second crack. If beans roast much hotter than 465º, the coffee will start to taste more and more of charcoal. Many other big-batch roasters cut corners by roasting larger quantities faster at extremely high temperatures for a short amount of time, thus burning their beans and killing the flavor. At Manatee Gourmet Coffee, we refuse to lower quality to boost quantity. We go to great lengths to make sure every single batch of coffee is perfectly roasted.

Purchasing a Dark Roast from other roasters can be confusing due to their numerous names. Some include French Roast, Italian Roast, New Orleans Roast, Continental Roast, or even Espresso Roast. At Manatee Gourmet Coffee, we try to make the coffee purchasing experience as simple and straightforward as possible. We display our roast levels front-and-center on all packaging. And our most popular Dark Roasts include Island Dark and Espresso Blend.



Manatee Gourmet Coffee continually refines and improves our roasting process to guarantee perfect beans in every bag. We also actively manage our inventory to ensure that we deliver the freshest coffee possible. We believe every manatee-lover deserves the right roast for every occasion. We always want you to enjoy a uniquely smooth and satisfying taste with every sip.