8 Best Light Roast Coffee For A Great Caffeine Experience

If you’re new to coffee, you’d probably think that all coffee is the same.

But once you’ve started tasting and exploring, you’ll quickly realize that your coffee experience will drastically vary depending on your choice of coffee beans.

Here, we explore 8 best light roast coffee, and everything you need to know about roast levels, their difference in flavors, the best way you can enjoy your light roast coffee, and more!

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  • Rainforest Alliance certified
  • Sustainably sourced coffee beans
  • Custom and handcrafted blends
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  • Maximum freshness ensured
  • Ground or whole beans
  • Versatile for many brewing methods
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  • Ground coffee
  • High quality 100% Costa Rican beans
  • Convenient to use
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  • 100% Arabica
  • Blend of Central and South American beans
  • Fairtrade
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  • Blend of South American beans
  • Organic
  • Sustainable
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  • Sustainable
  • Small batch roasting
  • Ground/whole bean
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  • Specialty graded coffee
  • 50% of profits support children’s cancer research
  • Tasting notes are perfect for non-adventurous coffee drinkers
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  • 100% Shade-grown Arabica coffee
  • Organic
  • Sustainably-sourced
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Top 8 Light Roast Coffee

Caribou Coffee, Costa Rica or Daybreak Morning Blend Light Roast Coffee – Best Overall

A taste of sunshine in every cup! Caribou Coffee is a light roast blend that brightens your morning. No amount of crankiness is too much for this coffee.

Features

  • Rainforest Alliance certified
  • Sustainably sourced coffee beans
  • Custom and handcrafted blends
  • 2 types of light roast coffee that you can choose from

Origin/Blend

Caribou roasts only the world’s top 1% of beans in small batches, so you’re assured high-quality light roast coffee. They handcraft new blends every year, based on the best coffee they can find on their annual trips.

The Daybreak Morning Blend is a light roast made of a blend of East African and American beans.

Caribou’s Costa Rica blend uses handpicked beans from the top 1% of Costa Rican beans available, making these light roast beans specialty grade.

Aroma

Tangy citrus and floral notes

Taste Notes

Daybreak Morning Blend: A mix of fruit, cherry floral overtones, and caramel with a nutty finish, Caribou Coffee is the perfect light roast for those looking for a comforting cup.

Costa Rica: Juicy and smooth with flavors of bing cherries and a long milk chocolate finish.

Recommended Brew Method

To bring out all its flavors, we’d recommend brewing this coffee using a pour-over method, especially flat-bottomed drippers, to create a balanced, light roast.

Is It for You?

These blends are excellent if you like the mix of fruity and chocolatey flavors of florals with nuttiness.

This is also great for those used to darker roast coffee but wants to branch out into lighter roasts as the sweetness nicely balances the juiciness and fruitiness.

Pros
  • 2 types of light roast coffee, so you can rotate between them
  • Convenient because it comes as ground coffee
Cons
  • No whole bean option
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Coffee Bros, Light Roast Coffee – Best Value

Years ago, you wouldn’t have thought that a company that specifically caters to Amazon customers would make great coffee. Today, they have defied all those expectations.

Features

  • Maximum freshness ensured
  • Ground or whole beans
  • Made in small batches
  • Versatile for many brewing methods
  • Can stay fresh for 1-5 months

Origin/Blend

These Caturra Arabica beans come from Keffa, Ethiopia & Nariño, Colombia. They were grown within a mixed altitude of 1600 – 2300 meters above sea level and used the washed/organic process.

Aroma

Floral, sweet honey, and a subtle hint of lemon

Taste Notes

Honey, Citrus Fruit, and Floral with a crisp and silky body, a perfect Breakfast Blend. Coffee Bros roasts coffee in small batches and delivers them to Amazon in the same batches to ensure freshness.

Read:  The Best Espresso K Cups: Our 5 Favorite Options

Recommended Brew Method

Coffee Bros recommends brewing this through a filter, pour-over, iced coffee, and Chemex methods.

Is It for You?

Because oxygen is removed from the packaging before it is sealed, their coffee stays fresh for 1-5 months. If you’re the type to always buy coffee in advance for fear of running out, this is for you.

Pros
  • Its packaging ensures maximum freshness
  • Ideal who want to buy large batches
  • The versatility in its taste lets you brew it in various ways
Cons
  • Not for those who prefer single-origin
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Cafe 1820 Tueste Claro – Best Budget Pick

What started as household coffee in 1820 has now become the coffee in every Costa Rican household. Today, you can enjoy it, too.

Features

  • Ground coffee
  • High quality 100% Costa Rican beans

Origin/Blend

100% Costa Rican Arabica coffee

Aroma

Light aroma of pleasant sweetness and a hint of citrus fruits

Taste Notes

Originating from a country that prides itself on all types of roast coffee, the Costa Rican government heavily regulates all coffees being made and exported. Moreover, Costa Ricans swear by this coffee and choose this over more expensive options.

This should be enough to assure you that you will get a bold but balanced and smooth cup of honey, molasses, and citrus.

Recommended Brew Method

We recommend brewing the Cafe 1820 using a French press, espresso, or drip-brew.

Is It For You?

If you like to drink your coffee light with a full body and a lot of sweetness, this is for you.

Pros
  • Convenient to use
  • Good value
  • High quality 100% Costa Rican beans
Cons
  • No whole bean option
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Kicking Horse Coffee, Hola, Light Roast

Described as a hot tropical storm in the ocean, this roast is sure to wake you up and make you feel refreshed.

Features

  • Light roast
  • 100% Arabica
  • Blend of Central and South American beans
  • Fairtrade
  • Organic
  • Kosher
  • Sustainable practices

Origin/Blend

Kicking Horse contains a roast blend of 100% Arabica beans from Central and South America.

Aroma

Ripe berries, rich nougat, brown sugar.

Taste Notes

With taste notes of juicy red currant acidity paired with a creamy honey body, this will surely give you the perfect balance of juiciness and sweetness.

It also tastes like rich, dark chocolate, cacao nibs, brown sugar, and roast hazelnuts.

Recommended Brew Method

Its taste lends itself to drip brew, pour-over, and cold brew.

Is It for You?

If you want great tasting coffee that doesn’t make you feel guilty about farmers’ exploitation or irresponsible business practices, Kicking Horse is just what you need.

It also comes in a 10oz ground pack, making it convenient to brew with.

Pros
  • Perfect for socially conscious coffee lovers
  • Great caffeine boost
  • Juicy and sweet at the same time
Cons
  • Only comes in a 10oz ground coffee option
  • Not for all brew methods due to fine grind
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Hugo Coffee, New Trick, Light Roast Coffee

If you like dogs as much as you like your light roast coffee, you can express that love with Hugo!

Features

  • Blend of South American beans
  • Organic
  • Sustainable
  • Fairtrade

Origin/Blend

Blend of Costa Rican and Brazilian beans

Aroma

The smell alone can kickstart your day!

Taste Notes

Promising an extra kick of caffeine, this is a light, medium-bodied, and sweet coffee blend.

Recommended Brew Method

Pour-over:

  1. Add 14 grams of roast coffee grounds to the filter cone.
  2. With a gooseneck kettle, slowly pour 240 ml of hot water at 96°C over the coffee.
  3. Adjust your coffee grounds/water up or down to suit your taste. 

Is It For You?

If you love dogs and coffee, this is the perfect roast for you. You get a great cup and feed strays at the same time.

Pros
  • Organic and fairtrade for socially conscious buyers
  • Ideal for the adventurous and learned coffee connoisseur
  • Profits help feed stray dogs in shelters
  • High caffeine content energizes you
  • Choice of whole beans/ground, depending on your needs
Cons
  • A little pricey
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Cameron’s Specialty Coffee, Breakfast Blend, Light Roast

Cameron’s Specialty Coffee prides itself on its quality. They use custom-made drums to evenly roast their coffee and ensure equal airflow throughout the roasting process.

Features

  • Sustainable
  • Small batch roasting
  • Ground/whole bean

Origin/Blend

Blend of 100% Arabica. Cameron sources only the top 10% of each batch of Arabica beans for roasting.

Aroma

Rich and distinct, with a hint of cherries

Taste Notes

Always smooth, never bitter, with a hint of pecans and cherries. This coffee is rich in taste and promises a delightful experience with its custom-made coffee blends.

Recommended Brew Method

This coffee is so versatile that it lends itself to almost any brew method. If you plan to experiment, we recommend grinding the beans on your own so you can achieve the perfect recipe for you.

Is It for You?

If you love coffee blends, this is for you. They have several varieties of blends that are yours for exploring.

Pros
  • Coffee flavor is neither bitter nor burnt
  • Hand-crafted quality
Cons
  • A little pricey
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Hope Products Coffee, Breakfast Blend

Drink great coffee and contribute to cancer research at the same time!

Features

  • Specialty graded coffee
  • 50% of profits support children’s cancer research
  • Tasting notes are perfect for non-adventurous coffee drinkers
  • Sustainable
  • Saturated with nitrogen to remove oxygen from the bag
  • Made in small batches
Read:  8 Best Espresso Beans for the Ultimate Coffee Experience

Origin/Blend

The beans are chosen from the top 1% Arabica beans in the world. They are also sustainably sourced from farmers.

Aroma

Strong but light aroma reminiscent of nuts and chocolate

Taste Notes

Bright initial flavor, smooth and crisp, light/mildly fruity notes with a deep full-body, medium/medium-high acidity with mellow chocolate and caramel notes

Recommended Brew Method

To bring out its flavors, we suggest drip brew or french press. These will bring out the chocolatey and nutty flavors.

Is It For You?

If you want good coffee and want to support cancer research at the same time, this is the blend for you.

Pros
  • You make a big difference in cancer research
  • Ideal for those who love a strong aroma
  • Taste is perfect for non-adventurous coffee drinkers
Cons
  • Pricey
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Tiny Footprint Coffee Organic Signature Blend

Tiny Footprint is the world’s first carbon-negative coffee!

Features

  • 100% Shade-grown Arabica coffee
  • Organic
  • Sustainably-sourced

Origin/Blend

Made from 100% shade-grown arabica. It is also Craft Roasted in their vintage 90-kilo German-built Probat drum roaster retrofitted with modern fuel-efficient ribbon burners for perfectly roasted coffee every time.

Aroma

This light roast coffee is sweet and fragrant.

Taste Notes

Bright lemon and orange with a touch of cocoa to create a gentle finish. This coffee is not acidic and bitter at all. Each batch is consistently roasted, so you’re sure to get the exact same, clean taste.

Recommended Brew Method

To bring out its bright flavors, we recommend conical pour-over methods, such as the V60.

Is It for You?

If you like clean-tasting coffee and want to save the planet by helping save an entire ecosystem, this is the blend for you. However, this is not for those looking for bold flavors and a medium or full body.

It’s worth noting that for every pound sold, they donate a portion of the proceeds to fund reforestation in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest.

These trees will gradually remove 54 lbs. of CO2 from the atmosphere and provide a habitat for native plants and animals.

Pros
  • You help in reforestation efforts in Ecuador
  • Consistency in roasts and flavors
  • Preferable for those who love floral flavors
Cons
  • May be too light and clean for some
  • Juiciness not for those who prefer sweeter or nuttier coffee
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Coffee Roasting

Coffee roasting is what turns green beans into the familiar coffee beans we know and love. In fact, prior to roasting, these beans do not smell like coffee at all!

There are 3 stages to roasting: drying, browning, development/roasting.

  1. Drying Stage – Due to the 8-12% humidity retained by green coffee cherries, beans first have to be dried for 8-10 minutes in a traditional drum roaster. This stage also imparts energy into the coffee beans, which prepares it for the third stage’s exothermic effect.
  2. Browning Stage – During this stage, coffee roasters usually slow down the process as drying continues. The Maillard reaction, responsible for the browning, begins turning aroma precursors into aroma compounds. This is also when the taste of the coffee starts developing. This stage usually stops when the coffee beans first crack. Light roast coffees usually end at around this stage.
  3. Development/Roasting Stage – The energy the beans have absorbed from the first 2 stages now makes the beans want to explode. The roaster’s choice of development time, temperature, and other factors will determine the end result.
roasting process chart showing 6 coffee beans from drying to dark roast beans, light roast coffee

Kinds of Roasts of Coffee

Roasting brings out various flavors in a coffee. It is also determinative of the appropriate brew method. But what does it actually mean when someone says ‘dark roast‘?

4 different roasted coffee beans from green beans on the left to dark roast on the right, light roast coffee

Light Roast Coffee

Light roast coffee refers to coffee beans that have been roasted until right before the first crack. They are also usually roasted in temperatures between 355 and 400 ° F. They are light brown and usually maintain a mild aroma.

Light roast coffees are more fruity because of the high amounts of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. This compound breaks down to less fruity compounds the more the beans are roasted.

The coffee retains much of its original characteristics, aroma, and taste because of how it is roasted. This is why many baristas prefer light roast coffee, especially when drinking single-origin or specially grown coffee beans from competition lots.

Some of the benefits of light roast coffee include:

  • Less oily
  • More aroma
  • Brings out the original characteristics of the beans and their origin
  • Less acidic
  • More fruity

Medium Roast Coffee

Like the lighter roasts, these have no oil on the bean surfaces.

Medium roasted coffees are medium brown and have more body than light roasts. Some say they tend to be more balanced in flavor, aroma, and acidity. Their roasting ends right before the second crack of the beans.

Medium-Dark Roast Coffee

This is when the oil of the coffee beans begin showing on its surface. They are noticeably darker and browner in color compared to the other coffee roasts.

It also tends to be more full-bodied. This is the beginning of the kind of roasts you’d want if you were brewing an espresso.

Read:  The Top 7 Nespresso Compatible Capsules to Whet Your Palette

At this stage, flavors from the roasting process itself begin to impart the coffee. It may even taste spicy. Roasting to achieve a medium-dark roast usually ends at the beginning or middle of the second crack.

Dark Roast Coffees

With a chocolatey or even black color, dark roast coffees have a visible layer of oil on them. A good dark roast should not taste burnt, flat, or overwhelmingly bitter.

At this stage, all original tastes and characteristics have been removed, and the taste of the entire roasting process is all that remains. They tend to taste smokey. They are also noticeably bitter than lighter roast coffees.

Dark roasts are perfect for espressos. It also tends to be more full-bodied with a heavy mouthfeel due to the oils. One thing to be careful about is to not over-extract dark roasts, as this will bring out more bitterness than you should.

Coffee Characteristics by Region

Here, we give you an overview of the common tasting notes, mouthfeel, and other coffee characteristics from the same region.

Keep in mind that this is in no way a determinative guide. Moreover, factors such as the altitude and climate where the coffee is grown greatly affect how the coffee beans will eventually taste.

There are also guides to coffee’s common characteristics by the country of origin for those looking for more in-depth information.

  1. Africa – acidic, dry, bright, fragrant, like wine
  2. South American – smooth, clean, and crisp, with a bright aftertaste
  3. Indonesia – full-bodied, bold, nutty, chocolatey

Caffeine Level

A common misconception is that roasting burns off the caffeine in the beans. Many say that the darker the roast, the less the caffeine. However, this is not true. Throughout roasting, the amount of caffeine in the beans remains the same.

What determines how much caffeine you will have, you may ask? It’s simple. The caffeine level depends solely on how much coffee you’re consuming.

During the roasting, beans lose water weight and become less and less dense. This is why light roast coffee is heavier in terms of weight than dark roasts. So, when measuring out 30g of coffee, you will get more beans per gram with darker roasts than lighter roasts because light roast coffees are heavier.

Because you get more beans per gram with, let’s say, a dark roast coffee, you also get more caffeine. So, what do you do when you need that extra caffeine boost for that early morning meeting?

When using lighter roasts, use more coffee than you would normally use for darker roasts. This will allow you to get the same caffeine level all throughout.

Best Brewing Method

Pour-over methods are best for light roasted coffee. There are many options for pour-overs that will bring out various flavors.

For example, a V60 tends to bring out fruitier and juicier taste notes. Flat-bottomed drippers, like the Kalita, also bring original characteristics of the roasted coffee while maintaining a more balanced, light taste.

This gives you a lot of space to experiment to bring out certain flavors for every bean you buy. It’s also great for those who like drinking their coffee dark, without any milk or sugar, as you can taste the bean’s various characteristics.

Our Top Picks

We know that any of these light roasted coffees will surely satisfy you. No matter what taste notes you’re looking for, you can find on this list. But if you’re still confused as to what to get, check out our top picks below.

Caribou Coffee, Costa Rica or Daybreak Morning Blend Light Roast Coffee – Best Overall Light Roasted Coffee

These 2 light roasts will give you a lot to play around with. They are sustainably sourced, and Rainforest Alliance certified. It also provides a good balance of light, clean-tasting coffee with a blend of citrus and chocolate.

Their blend depends on the top 1% beans they can find in the world for that year. It’s handcrafted to bring out the best flavor combinations. You are assured excellent coffee with every bag.

Coffee Bros – Best Value Light Roasted Coffee

Coffee Bros travels the globe yearly in search of the best beans. It is also packaged to ensure maximum freshness.

Their main goal is to elevate coffee so that customers know they can get great-tasting coffee light roast without breaking the bank.

Cafe 1820 Tueste Claro – Best Budget Light Roast Beans

This light roasted coffee is Costa Rica’s national favorite. That alone should say a lot, considering how well-known Costa Rica is for their coffee beans. This roast is affordable and convenient.

Its taste is also consistent and has made everyone fall in love with their blend. It is flavorful and sure to give you a tasty caffeine boost.

Conclusion

Dark roast is great for espresso and other espresso-based drinks; however, nothing beats good beans made into the coffee light roast.

Light roasted beans are wonderful for multiple brew methods. It is extremely versatile, and it is the best coffee roast for bringing out your coffee’s natural characteristics.

It’s also great for those looking for a clean/light but flavorful cup.

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