Medium Coffee - Learn the difference from light and dark roast – Coffee-Direct.co.uk
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Medium Roast Coffee

For the best of both worlds, try our selection of medium strength coffees. We've brought together a fine selection of coffees that can be enjoyed at any time of day, and will suit many different tastes. All of our coffees can be ground for your particular requirements; simply select your grind option before adding to your basket.

You can sort all of our coffees with our Coffee Sorter tool.

Your guide to Medium Coffee

We offer over 25 different types of medium coffees, so which one will you choose? Our wide range of coffees can be enjoyed throughout the day, whether it is for your morning espresso or your afternoon filter coffee, there is something to suit all tastes and times.

While a medium bodied coffee does not come from a particular type of bean, some varietals will offer more body than others. The body will also be significantly impacted by the way the beans are roasted and brewed. You will find light, medium and dark coffee roasts which may all be the same beans or blends, but roasted for a different length of time and at different temperatures.

What is a medium coffee?

A medium coffee is hard to define as there is no tangible way to see or measure body; it is more of a feeling that you get when you drink the coffee. As we mentioned, they do not come from one specific bean varietal, so you will find both robusta coffee and arabica coffee blends falling into the medium category.

The roasting process will impact the body and flavour of beans and there are three main categories of coffee roasts. While a medium roast doesn't necessarily result in a medium coffee, you can expect that there will be some correlation. Dark and medium roasts can often give you a medium body, but it is unlikely that a light roast will.

Roasting levels

Medium Coffee

Light roast coffee, or light roasts as they are more commonly known can be recognised by their light brown colour, with no oil on the bean surfaces. Light roast level coffees will tend to be quite acidic with noticeably bright flavours.

A shorter roasting process is often preferred to preserve the original and unique flavours of the beans, so a light roast will emphasize the specific characteristics of the green coffee beans more than the deeper roast levels.

During the coffee roasting process, you will notice significant 'cracking' noises, which indicates how 'cooked' the beans are. With light roasts, they will only be heated until you hear the first crack, usually between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. You may also hear these coffee beans called Cinnamon roast, half city or light city.

Medium roast coffee beans have a slightly darker brown colour and just a touch of oil left on the surface. Medium roasted coffee will give you moderate levels of acidity and body, together with a well-rounded taste profile. Like the light roasts, a cup of coffee from medium roast beans will preserve many of the unique characteristics of the origins, but introduce a touch of sweetness, balance and a reduction in brightness.

The majority of the coffee-drinking population around the world prefer medium coffees, as they find them less acidic than a light roast, but not as intense as a dark roast. For this reason, most coffee roasters in the specialty coffee industry will produce a higher quantity of beans at a medium roast level to demonstrate the natural flavours and aromas.

Medium roast beans are heated to around 400 or 420 degrees Fahrenheit, and while you will hear the first crack, they will be removed from the heat before the second crack occurs. Medium roast is also referred to as American roast or city roast.

Dark roast coffee gives you the darkest brown colours of the three levels and the oiliest surface. Coffees at this roast level will have lower acidity but a heavier body and you will notice deeper aromas and flavours. While this may overshadow some of the original characteristics of the beans, it will accentuate chocolate, caramel and nutty flavours.

Dark roasts will be heated to around 450 degrees Fahrenheit and they will easily reach the second crack. Vienna roasts and full city roasts are alternative names for dark roasts.

In addition to the three standard roast levels, you may also find products that are French roasts, continental roasts and even an espresso roast, which are all exceptionally dark and oily.

Dark roast vs Medium roast

In the past, the dark roast was the preferred choice for coffee drinkers as roasters could 'cover-up' less enticing flavours from poor quality coffee, disguising them with deeper, more palatable flavours. This is no longer the case. With a range of experienced specialty coffee roasters, and a much-improved level of quality when it comes to bean production, this approach is not necessary. Many everyday, affordable coffees are delicious at all roasting levels, and medium roasts are often preferred as they appeal to most drinkers. Dark coffee roasts are definitely still available, and popular, but they are roasted to bring out exceptional flavours of particular beans, not to hide the unwanted ones or cover-up poor quality beans.

Our Medium Coffees

We stock a wide range of medium blends and single origin coffees, available in full bean or ground coffee formats, at highly competitive prices. While they are all delicious, our best sellers are outlined below. If you haven't knowingly tried medium coffee before, one of these would be a good place to start.

Kenya Blue Mountain Coffee is grown from seeds originally from Jamaica, and gives you a combination of natural sweetness and rich aromatic flavours and intensity. These arabica coffee beans are of exceptional quality, and make a well balanced yet strong filter coffee, with nut and citrus hints and a caramel aftertaste. Packed with flavours and aromas, this has a light to medium body and a relatively high acidity level.

Barista Reserve Coffee is a sweet and mellow blend that is likely to suit most coffee drinkers. It is an exceptional all-round coffee blend with delightful qualities and low acidity and an incredibly smooth finish. You can brew these Robusta beans in any way you like, but it is especially enjoyable as a high quality espresso or cup of percolator coffee.

As you may guess from the name, our Dark Colombian Coffee is one of our dark roasts that produces a medium coffee. This is a very popular, versatile option, ideal as coffee for cafetieres, coffee for filter machines, and even coffee for espresso machines thanks to its taste profile. With this Arabica coffee you will experience a balance of caramel sweetness and dark chocolate with a luxurious depth; all qualities you would expect from the renowned Colombian coffee bean. If this coffee flavour doesn't quite suit you, then you can try our lighter Medium Colombian Coffee, made from the same beans.

Dark Maragogype Coffee comes from the unique Elephant Coffee Beans, the distinctive Arabica beans that work incredibly well as a medium coffee. It is smooth and mellow with a rounded flavour and deliciously light aroma; perfect for those who prefer a less strong coffee. These oversized beans have been grown at high altitude in Guatemala and are considered to be extremely rare and sought-after, hence the slightly higher price tag. Coffee tasting fans can look out for fruity and chocolate notes, with a touch of almond and even some earthy tones. The flavour profile and low acidity make it very popular in a house blend with other stronger coffees.

Our Papua New Guinea Coffee has a very distinctive chocolate and nut flavour, with traces of mango and papaya running through it. For those who like low levels of acidity and don't want a strong brew, then this is definitely worth a try, especially so you can experience the delicious aromas these beans produce. This is a dark roasted coffee and makes a perfect cup with any brewing method.

FAQs

What is medium coffee?

A medium coffee gives you the best of both worlds; it isn’t too mild, nor is it too rich. Medium usually refers to the amount of body in the coffee, in other words how ‘heavy’ it feels when you drink it, or the roasting level. A medium roast coffee gives you a compromise between the sharpness and acidity of low roast and the deeper flavours of a dark roast coffee.

Is medium or dark roast coffee stronger?

While many people assume that dark roast coffee is stronger, given its fuller flavour and richer colour, there is in fact no more caffeine in dark compared to medium roast. How much caffeine you get depends on how much coffee you use when you brew, not on the roast levels.

Where it gets more complicated however, is if you compare the different roasts by scoop, not by weight. In weight terms, caffeine content is identical regardless of the roast levels. If you measure scoop by scoop, you will find that a light roast has a touch more caffeine than darker variants. This is because light roast beans are denser than dark beans as density decreases with roasting. The difference between lighter and medium roast coffee is barely noticeable and even between light and dark roasts, it is still negligible.

What is the difference between medium and dark roast coffee?

A dark roast coffee will have been roasted for longer than medium roasts, meaning that it has been exposed to a greater amount of heat. Dark roast reaches around 450 degrees whereas medium roasting will stop at around 400 degrees.

An increased amount of heat will result in richer flavours being exposed in the beans, meaning you will taste more chocolate or nut flavours and less acidity and brightness, although exact tasting profiles will depend on the beans. If you want a compromise between the two, you can always give a medium dark roast a taste.

What is the best medium roast coffee?

Medium roast coffee is popular as it has a relatively balanced taste that is easy to drink and is suitable for almost all brewing methods. Unlike very dark roasts, it retains the original characteristics of the beans but has more body than light roast products. To determine the best medium roast coffee is no easy task as there are many factors to consider, from the way it is grown, processed and roasted, to your own personal taste and preferences. Rather than identify just one, we have selected the best quality beans available from around the world, and they are all freshly roasted, blended to order and packed in foil fresh bags, so whichever products you choose, you can guarantee that they will be delivered in their optimal condition.

The best one? Well that's up to you; we suggest you look at our Guide to the World of Coffee Beans, try an assortment of our medium coffees and explore your own preferences so you can crown a winner. Good luck!

Is medium roast coffee bitter?

All coffee has a hint of bitterness, and different people have different levels of tolerance for bitterness. What tastes bitter for one person, may not be for another.

Coffee roast levels will affect overall bitterness but only slightly; a lighter roast will usually taste slightly less bitter than a medium roast although the flavours of the drink will be determined by the type of bean, its origins and processing method, more than the roast style.