You’ve probably heard that the roasting process reduces caffeine content.
But is that actually true?
Is there any relation at all between roasting time and the caffeine content of coffee beans?
You may have read that the lighter the roast, the higher the caffeine content.
This is misleading. And it makes the roasting process sound complicated.
Let’s take a quick look at the different types of coffee beans roasts and then see what factors actually affect the caffeine content of coffee beans.
- 1 Types of Coffee Beans Roasts
- 2 Factors That Affect Caffeine Content
- 3 Related Questions
- 4 How Would The Roasting Time Of Coffee Beans Affect Their Caffeine Content: Final Thoughts
Types of Coffee Beans Roasts
You have probably heard names like “French Toast” or “City Roast”. These are names given to a specific degree of roast.
I’m sure you’re more familiar with the terms “light roast” and “dark roast”. Well, some coffee roasters use names, while others prefer to classify the type of roast by color.
Although color is not the most accurate way to categorize the degree of roast, it is actually the most common. So let’s stick to this classification to make it simpler.
Because we want to focus on the relationship between roasting time and caffeine content, we won’t give you an extensive description of the types of roasting. If you want to know more about each stage of roasting coffee, check out our article roasting coffee beans at home.
Light Roasts Vs. Dark Roasts
A coffee bean that hasn’t been roasted yet is called green coffee. And although it can be consumed like that, it is more common to find roasted coffee beans.
The roasting process changes the chemical composition of the coffee beans, as well as the physical characteristics, including color. The longer you roast them, the darker they turn. That’s why some people refer to these stages of roasting as light, medium, or dark roast.
According to some coffee forums, the heat of the roasting process burns off the caffeine, resulting in the myth that light roasts have more caffeine than dark roasts. They even promote white coffee as the best type of coffee if you want more caffeine.
The truth is that the caffeine content stays the same during the roasting process.
So, why do some people still claim that the roasting time affects the caffeine content?
This is because, as mentioned before, the roasting process changes the physical composition of the coffee beans. First, they lose a lot of moisture, causing the beans to dry and expand. In other words, they lose mass, but they gain volume.
In this way, it is true that people notice different levels of caffeine but this has nothing to do with the type of roast, but with the way the coffee beans are measured. Let me explain.
If you measure your coffee by scoops, the coffee you make with light roast beans will have more caffeine because these beans are denser than the dark roasted ones. But if you weigh your coffee beans, dark roast beans will have more caffeine because they have less mass.
Now that we have explained that is not the roasting time that affects the caffeine content in your beans, but it is the way the coffee beans are measured, we will tell you some other factors that affect the caffeine content.
Factors That Affect Caffeine Content
The most common types of coffee beans available in the market are Arabica and Robusta. Arabica is much more popular than Robusta. It accounts for up to 70% of all the coffee produced in the world. However, Robusta contains almost twice the amount of caffeine as Arabica.
Some brewing methods have higher extraction levels, for example Turkish coffee and cowboy coffee. They combine ultra-fined coffee grinds with boiling water with no filtering. These methods give you the highest caffeine content. However, they are not common at home.
To make coffee at home, you might be using one of the pour-over methods, such as the French press or the AeroPress. They won’t give you as much caffeine as the methods mentioned above, but they are pretty decent.
Drip and filter coffee are the most common methods to make coffee at home, but these methods reduce the caffeine content even more. That said, you will end up with no caffeine at all. The difference between these methods and the pour-over is not dramatic, but it is there.
Do You Get More Caffeine From Eating Coffee Beans?
Eating coffee beans provide you with more caffeine than drinking coffee. The average cup of coffee has 90 mg of caffeine (this might vary depending on the brewing method). To produce that cup of coffee you would need about 70 coffee beans.
A single unroasted Arabica coffee bean contains 1.9 mg of caffeine and a Robusta unroasted bean, 2.9 mg. So yes, you get more caffeine by eating the unroasted coffee beans, but you would need to eat a lot in order to get the same amount of caffeine as from a cup of coffee.
How Long After Roasting Are Coffee Beans At Their Best?
When coffee is roasted, gases form inside the beans. After roasting, these gases seep out of the beans. For this reason, coffee beans are left degassing after they have been roasted. This is actually the very last step of the roasting process.
Degassing varies depending on the type of coffee roast and the amount. It can take between 2 and 12 days until the coffee is ready to brew. This process is important. If the coffee is not properly degassed before brewing, it will be somewhat sour with an uneven flavor.
Do Coffee Beans Lose Caffeine Over Time?
No, they don’t. But if they are not stored properly, they become stale and their flavor changes. The flavor deteriorates over time, but not the amount of caffeine.
How Would The Roasting Time Of Coffee Beans Affect Their Caffeine Content: Final Thoughts
Roasting time definitely has an impact on the final cup of coffee that we drink, but contrary to the popular myth, it does not impact the caffeine content of the coffee beans. While you may see a difference in the caffeine content of different types of roast, this has nothing to do with the stage of roasting, but with the way the coffee beans are measured.
If you want to experiment and see how the caffeine content of each cup of coffee varies, you should consider other factors such as the coffee beans and the brewing method. And get yourself a good coffee machine with a built-in grinder, because few things impact flavor more than freshly grinding your beans.