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You have heard of dark roasts, medium roasts, and light roasts, but have you heard of blonde roasts? Don’t be so surprised because it is not anything new or rare. Blonde roasts are pretty common now, and you can think of them as a fancy name for typical light roasts.
A blonde roast is light roast coffee. Starbucks introduced this name as they called their cinnamon roast coffee ‘blonde roast’. However, the term has evolved over the years, and now blonde roast is synonymous with the light roast. Blonde roast coffee beans are lightly golden, white, pale yellow, or embody earthy with natural flavors.
What Does Blonde Coffee Mean?
Blonde roast coffee is defined as light roast coffee. It does not necessarily have to be a light roast but can be a medium roast that is light golden or very light brown. In the past, blonde roasts were known to have a cinnamon taste. Now, it is just coffee dropped from the roaster after the first crack. Sometimes they are taken out of the roaster before a crack happens. In short, they are roasted for a short time.
They are popular because of their natural and earthy taste. Drip coffee lovers love blonde coffee beans because drip systems, such as pour-overs enhance their texture by filtering out small particles leaving the coffee smooth and sediment-free.
Blonde Roast Vs. Medium Roast Coffee
There are several differences between a blonde roast and a medium roast as discussed below.
The main difference between medium roasts and light roasts is the roasting procedure. When coffee beans are roasted, the roaster waits for a crack sound. After the first crack, light/blonde coffee beans are taken out from the roaster.
However, medium roast coffee beans are left in the roaster for another crack or two, while dark roasts are kept in the roaster for an even longer period. Since blonde roasts are not exposed to heat much, they get their characteristic yellowish-golden color.
The roasting temperature of medium roasts is usually between 210 and 220 degrees Celsius, while blonde roasts are roasted between 168 and 204 degrees Celsius.
Appearance and Texture
Blonde roast coffees have a light brown color, a light texture, and no oily layer on the body of the bean.
Medium roast coffees have a darker color and fuller body than light roasted coffees. They also do not have much oil on the surface and are matte-like similar to blonde roasts. Since both blonde and medium roasts are roasted for shorter durations, their internal components are not broken down and hence no oil is released to the surface.
Blonde roasts are more acidic as compared to medium roasts. Medium roasts are an intermediate point between light and dark roasts, with less acidity and a much more harmonized flavor.
Taste and Flavor
Medium roasts display more sugary and caramel-like tastes of the roaster. However, they still retain their origin’s flavor to some extent. In every sip, you will be able to notice the undertones of the soil and flowers where they were grown. If you prefer a balanced blend with some original flavors intact, then medium roasts are your go-to beans.
Blonde roasts retain more of their original flavor, creating a unique flavor that can’t be found anyplace else. They will always taste unique and display characteristics of the bean’s farming practices. Just by drinking blonde roast coffee, you will be able to tell where it originated from, the type of soil it grew in, and the amount of water it received (if you are an expert).
Blonde roast coffees also have a more acidic touch in every sip than their medium roast equivalents.
Blonde Roast Vs. Medium Roast Coffee
|Factor||Blonde Roast||Medium Roast|
|Roasting Temperature||168-204 degrees Celsius||210-220 degrees Celsius|
|Flavor||Strong and natural||Slightly roasted flavor but still retains origin flavor|
|Roasting time||2-6 minutes||8-16 minutes|
Blonde Roast Vs. Dark Roast Coffee
We have already discussed how blonde roast is different from dark roast coffee, so let us now draw a comparison between dark and blonde roasts.
In terms of acidity, blonde roasts are far more acidic as compared to dark roasts. Individuals with stomach and nausea issues with coffee should go for dark roast coffees.
Dark roasts are roasted for the longest time at 220 to 240 degrees celsius. This is a much higher temperature blonde roast which is roasted between 168 degrees Celsius and 204 degrees Celsius.
Flavor and Taste
Since dark roasts are heated for longer, they absorb the most flavor and scent from the beans’ active oils and embody the flavors of the roaster more than the origin. Dark roasts are the polar opposite of blonde roasts in terms of acidity and intensity. They have a nuttier taste and smokey flavor blends. Some forms of dark roasts may even give an earthy taste depending on the combination.
Dark roast flavors range from fruity to nutty while blonde roasts are slightly sour and citrus-like. Dark roasts are full-bodied and aromatic. Therefore, they do not lose their flavor even if a lot of cream, sugar, and water are added. In comparison, if you add excess cream to blonde roasts, they will tend to taste more like dairy and less like coffee. Blonde roasts tend to taste weak or watery if too much water is added. Dark roasts are more suited for cold brews as they do not get diluted easily.
Appearance and Texture
Since they spend so much time exposed to heat, dark roast beans are waxy and split and bursting with taste and a powerful smell. Dark roast beans have an oily outer surface while blonde roasts have a matte outer surface.
Because of all the exterior oil, the body of dark roast coffee beans is usually quite thick. Dark roast beans are perfect for making espresso as they make the best crema.
Blonde Roast Vs. Dark Roast Coffee Beans
|Factor||Blonde Roast||Dark Roast|
|Roasting Temperature||168-204 degrees Celsius||220-240 degrees Celsius|
|Flavor||Strong and natural. Sour, sweet, and earthy undertones||Mostly roaster flavors. Slightly bitter and nutty|
|Roasting time||2-6 minutes||20-25 minutes|
Is Blonde Roast Coffee Stronger Than Dark Roast?
No, blonde roast coffees are not as strong in flavor as dark roasts. While blonde roast coffee gives a more multi-dimensional flavor with lots of undertones, it loses its flavor fast when it is diluted, or when milk is added. Dark roasts and medium roasts are much stronger in comparison and do not get diluted easily.
In terms of caffeine levels, we cannot say that blonde roasts or dark roasts contain more caffeine as it all depends on the variety and origin of the bean. Generally, it is believed that blonde roasts have a more impactful caffeine punch since they are heated for less time and not broken down.
We need to remember that the caffeine levels are determined by other factors as well, so we need to check each label for caffeine levels. However, in the end, it all comes down to how you brew your coffee. Having more coffee in relation to water will give you a higher caffeine shot than if more water was used. There are various other ways to evaluate how strong is your coffee.
Does Blonde Roast Coffee Have a Unique Brewing Method?
Blonde roast coffee is brewed just like any other coffee. We do not recommend using blonde roasts for cold brews since they do not give enough flavor to it, but they are certainly good for making hot brew coffee. It can be brewed in any coffee machine or espresso machine, similar to dark and medium roasts.
Caffeine Content in Blonde Roast Coffee
Let’s compare blonde coffee to dark roast coffee to estimate the caffeine level in both. When you weigh equal grams of blonde and dark roast coffee, you will achieve almost the same amount of caffeine from both. However, dark coffee beans are lighter since water has evaporated from them. If you measure the caffeine level, it will be the same even though you have more dark roast beans.
Blonde roast coffee has slightly more caffeine as compared to dark roast coffee of the same amount. In one espresso shot, you can have around 75 mg of caffeine for dark roast coffee and 85 mg of caffeine for blonde roast coffee.
The actual amount varies by the type of coffee plant and type of coffee. For example, dark roast Robusta coffee beans may have more caffeine than a light roast Arabica coffee beans because Robusta beans are known to have twice as much caffeine as Arabica beans. Again, it will vary for different kinds of coffee. The only exact way to know is to check the labels and compare the various coffee brands you are comparing. Follow our guide to caffeine in a cup of coffee to find out how much caffeine your cup of coffee contains.
Is Starbucks Blonde Light Roast?
Yes, Starbucks Blonde Coffee is a light roast. The primary difference is in the level of roasting. It is roasted slightly lighter than regular light roast coffee. Starbucks popularized blonde roasts as an ‘extra light roast’ back in 2018. The hype led people to believe that blonde roasts were something unique. However, blonde roast coffee has the same characteristics as any light roast coffee. Perhaps the only difference was that the beans were extracted before the first crack.
Starbucks blonde coffee has a cinnamon touch to it and a mellow taste. It has bold yet sweet and strong flavors. The blonde roast was the lightest roast offered by Starbucks Coffee. According to reviews, this coffee has a slight lemon taste to it along with a roasted flavor. It also delivers a creamy and smooth body to your espresso.
Over the years, coffee fanatics and other brands also started to use the term ‘blonde roast’ and associated it with just about any light coffee. If you hear the word, know that they are talking about light coffee.
Starbucks blonde roast iced coffee has the following nutritional content
Starbucks Blonde Roast Coffee Nutritional Content
|Calories||5 Per serving|
|Carbohydrates||1g (0.5% of Daily Intake Value)|
|Potassium||86mg (2% of Daily Intake Value)|
In case you get the Starbucks blond roast unsweetened iced coffee, it will have the following nutritional content.
Starbucks Blonde Roast Unsweetened Iced Coffee Nutritional Content
|Calories||10 Per serving|
|Carbohydrates||2g (1% of Daily Intake Value)|
|Potassium||129mg (2% of Daily Intake Value)|
Blonde roast coffee may taste different if it is made lighter than light roasts like Starbucks makes it. However, in most cases, it will just be light coffee marketed in a fancy way. If you want to avoid a bitter, roasted flavor and prefer coffee with more natural undertones, then blonde roast coffee might become your best friend.