September 02, 2021

False! So what’s the difference between light roast and decaf? 

Yes, this is a popular question and we often get asked. The answer is not what you would think! The common misconception is light roast could be a lighter flavor, lighter acidity, maybe even lighter caffeine. In reality, it's quite the opposite - a light roast coffee is going to have the highest caffeine content out of any coffee you could drink. The light in light roast refers to how long the coffee was roasted. A light roast is roasted for a short time and a dark roast is roasted for a long time.

Why is the caffeine content in a light roast so high? Like alcohol in a cake, caffeine “bakes out” during the roasting process. This means that a light roast, which is roasted for a short amount of time, has MORE caffeine than a darker roasted coffee which has “cooked” longer so more of the caffeine has “burned off”. Light roast coffees are the most prevalent roasts found in the third wave coffee movement because roasting for only a small amount of time allows the unique flavors of the coffee to shine through. This enables coffee drinkers to taste unique aspects of the particular variety of coffee, the soil of the micro-lot farm it was grown in, or the processing method that would otherwise be obscured if the coffee was roasted dark. Dark roasted coffee tastes overwhelm these more subtle nuances. 

Decaf on the other hand has less to do with the roasting process. A decaf coffee is processed using one of several caffeine extraction techniques prior to roasting. Some of these methods involve chemical solvents or C02 to remove the caffeine from the green coffee. A preferred process is the swiss water method that guarantees a chemical-free decaffeinated coffee.

While NO DECAF ALLOWED doesn’t provide decaf to our customers right now, some of our roasters offer some interesting options. If decaf isn't your fuel, we do provide plenty of light roasts through our coffee subscription. Even more exclusive light roast coffees can be found on our Notable collection which highlights the most interesting varieties, origins, and processing methods that our roasters are seeking out.


Some of our favorite decafs from our roasting partners:
https://www.moongoat.com/s/stories/decafperu
https://www.solidcoffeeroasters.com/online-store/decaf
https://www.limacoffeeroasters.com/products/decaf-colombia-huila