why does dark roast have less caffeine

How much caffeine this cappuccino contains depends on the coffee beans. The INSIDER Summary: By volume, there's more caffeine in light roast coffee than in dark roast coffee. This is because dark roast coffee beans have been roasted for longer and often become over roasted or even burnt. When coffee beans are burnt they lose attributes like flavor and caffeine content. You stayed out way later than you had planned last night, and this morning has been rough. So when it comes time to choose a coffee, you pick a strong dark roast from your office's selection. Turns out you might want to rethink that decision. According to Thomas Hartocollis, co-founder of coffee shop,
by volume, there's actually more caffeine in light roast coffee than there is in dark roast coffee. Here's why. By the cup, there's little difference in caffeine content between light and dark roasts. Darker is not stronger.


Like its name suggests, dark roast coffee is roasted for longer than light roast coffee. Hartocollis says that roasting coffee beans for this long results in the beans turning black and oily, which, in many expert opinions, means the beans have been over roasted or burned. And just like food that's been burned, coffee beans that have been burned lose flavor and other attributes, like caffeine content, Hartocollis says. In other words, flavor and caffeine content decrease as the coffee gets darker. But it's important to note that this difference in caffeine content is only true in terms of volume caffeine content relative to bean size. By the cup, light and dark roast coffee contain the same amount of caffeine, Hartocollis says. Many people mistake dark roast's more intense taste to mean it has more caffeine. Next time you're really in need of a caffeine jolt, go for a light roast.


So why do so many people make the mistake of thinking that dark roast coffee is stronger? Hartocollis says this is because dark roast coffee ends up having a stronger, more bitter taste than light roast coffee, because the beans have been roasted for a different amount of time at a different temperature. Some people mistake this more intense taste to mean a higher caffeine content, when really it means the opposite. So stop worrying so much about caffeine content, and go for the roast that you like best. When raw coffee is introduced into the roaster, you've got about ten minutes of chemical and physical changes that turn a rock-hard, tasteless seed into the soft, aromatic, and delicious beans we know and love. One of the physical changes is simply evaporation. Not just water though. Caffeine evaporates too. During the roasting process, coffee is going to lose 10-25% of its weight.


Most of that is water because it evaporates at a low temperature compared to the other natural chemicals in the coffee, and that weight directly corresponds to the roast level. A light roast will lose relatively little weight. The darker the roasting goes, the more weight it will lose in the process. That means dark roast coffees have less caffeine by bean, but light roast coffees have less caffeine by weight. When we make a cup of coffee in our shop, we weigh out 23g of coffee, rather than counting out 57 beans, so chances are, a darker roasted coffee will use more beans to fill 23g, and that's where you end up with more caffeine. How much of a difference does this make? A negligible amount. Really, variety will play a much bigger role than roast level, but does it matter? We always say the coffee with the most caffeine is the one you want to have a second cup of.

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