Dark roast coffee in a roaster

What Is Dark Roast Coffee?

Dark roast coffee is the go-to roast for espresso fans. Strong, thick, and perfect for cutting through milk and sugar with its iconic flavour, dark roast coffee is what you think of when you think of your morning coffee. But what is a dark roast coffee and how does it differ from a light or medium roast?

Read on to find out.

What is dark roast coffee?

As the name implies, a dark roast coffee bean is one that’s been roasted to be dark. Coffee starts life as a fruit from which the green coffee bean is extracted ahead of the roast. You’ll be able to tell a dark roast coffee from a medium roast or a light roast just by sight — a dark roast is dark brown with a shiny surface courtesy of the oils inside the beans that give them their distinct flavour.

There are no hard and fast rules around temperatures and timings but generally a dark roast is a green coffee bean that’s been roasted for about 15 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius so they reach an internal temperature of about 250 degrees Celsius.

Why is there so much dark roast coffee?

Historically, the quality of a coffee bean has been less controllable than you might have liked. As such, roasters tended to roast their beans for longer to remove any flavours that were less than ideal. During this process, roasters would heat the beans until the oils came to the surface and then stop just before the oils caught alight.

It’s this long roasting time, and this traditional desire to almost burn the beans themselves, that gave coffee its reputation for having a bitter taste.

Does Potblack burn their beans?

Of course not.

Modern coffee is much better than it used to be from the bean to the roast to the grind, thanks to a range of scientific and logistical breakthroughs that mean we better understand the land upon which the coffee is grown and we have much better insight into the supply chain. This means that Potblack’s signature dark roast espresso blend, Wanderer, isn’t burnt at all — it’s simply roasted dark to bring to your palate that familiar espresso taste and feel.

What flavours should I expect from a dark roast coffee?

They’re called dark roasts for a reason. Think strong, intense flavours that have matured over a longer, higher heat — earthy with spice and a wood taste with thick notes like molasses rather than fruitier, herbal, or crisp flavours like you might expect from a medium or light roast coffee.

Our signature blend Wanderer has a rich taste of heavy caramels and the molasses we mentioned earlier when it’s taken black while, with milk, it’s got that syrupy spice you need to cut through the dairy (or alternative milk).

Does dark roast coffee have more caffeine?

Strictly, no.

Dark roasted coffee weighs less per bean than light or medium roasts so, by weight and volume, you actually end up with a little less caffeine per bag than with the lighter roasts. That said, the difference is pretty marginal so don’t feel like you’re getting shortchanged on that caffeine hit if you prefer the bolder, richer flavours of a dark roast coffee bean.

How should I brew a dark roast coffee?

Basically any way you like! Dark roast coffee is incredibly versatile and you’ll always have that strong coffee flavour people know and love.

That said, you will want to control for your grounds volume as certain methods like a pourover (like a Chemex, our go-to pour over method) are super susceptible to tasting bitter if you overdo the coffee:water ratio.

Check out our range of brewing guides for more information on how to brew certain kinds of coffees to the best of their potential.

Where can I buy dark roast coffee?

Right from us. Our signature Wanderer blend is dark roasted with the espresso machine in mind but it’s flexible across brewing methods so you can always drink a beautiful coffee courtesy of Potblack.

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