The Ultimate Guide to Medium Roast Coffee: All Questions Answered

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The final flavor experience of coffee depends mostly on the initial flavor compounds found in the coffee beans. The roast level and roasting time of the beans create the balanced and delicious flavor that you have surely experienced over a great cup of joe.

The method by which it has been processed, the age of the coffee, and the method of preparation can change the resulting flavor of the coffee, but the coffee roast is the most important key to the flavor that can be expected in a cup of medium roasted coffee.

The sweetness, body, aroma, bitterness, and acidity of medium roast coffees change in intensity according to the level of coffee bean roasting.

Types of Roast

While it’s true that darker roast coffees come from dark beans, it is not enough to classify the coffee roast level only by the tonality and intensity of brown colors that can be perceived in the beans.

During the process the coffee beans change color, starting from a green color, passing through yellow, to end up in the different intensities of brown that we recognize in the coffee beans we see in the market or local cafe.

Type of Roast

In general, we can classify coffee and its range of brown coloring according to the coffee roasting process:

Each one has its benefits and appeal, but in this article, we will focus on medium roast coffee. We believe that medium roast coffee has the least appreciated flavor notes in the world. In fact, coffee professionals often recommend and prefer a medium roast.

What You Need to Know About Medium Roast Coffee

As mentioned above, the process of roasting coffee beans turns each green coffee bean into brown beans. The most obvious way to differentiate roast levels is through sight.

You can identify medium roast coffee as it has a medium brown color and no oils on the surface of the bean. The medium roast also has the characteristic of being sweeter, having more body, and balanced acidity in comparison with the lighter roast.

Currently, there are already many coffee shops that serve only medium to light roast coffees to allow people to taste the flavors that coffee naturally possesses. Even dark roasted coffee drinkers opt for a medium roast as a “starter coffee”.

What Flavors Can I Find in a Medium Roast Coffee?

It could be said that the flavor of a medium roast coffee is all about finding a perfect balance. Although we do not mean that it is a combination of a light roast and a dark roast coffee. Rather, what we want to emphasize is that in a medium roast we can find the veracity and flexibility of a dark roast with the liveliness of a light roast.

Among its many notes, we can perceive expected flavors together with surprising flavors that build an exquisite cup of coffee. A medium roast is capable of producing sweet flavors such as brown sugar, nougat, oatmeal, and caramel. Or flavors like almonds, peanut butter, or cashews. Even citrus and sour flavors like berries and apples can be detected.

How is Medium Roast Coffee Prepared?

As with all medium roasts, the preparation should also be a delicate balance between these basic factors:

Water Temperature

Medium roast coffee can be prepared at various temperatures. No one temperature is considered better or worse, it simply comes down to flavor and preference.

Grind Size

The grind size is chosen according to the preparation method you are going to use with your medium roast. 


The older the coffee is, the more oxidized the beans become. This oxidation can considerably vary the flavor of the coffee. It is advisable to use only fresh coffee to obtain superior flavor.

Contact Time

The extraction of coffee is affected by the preparation time. A cup of coffee needs about five minutes of brewing time compared to an espresso that only needs 25 seconds. 

Medium roast coffee with a cup

Does Medium Roast Taste Best Hot or Cold?

Another great feature of medium roast is that it is wonderfully versatile. It offers a great flavor any way that it is prepared.

Medium roast as a cold coffee results in a balanced and sweet infusion. Another way to prepare it is to pour it into a container with ice. This helps to conserve the acidity and obtain fruity notes.

As a hot coffee, the medium roast is much more delicious if it is brewed in a pour-over, espresso, or chemex-style coffee maker.

How Much Caffeine Does a Medium Roast Contain?

It is said that medium roasted coffee beans contain a higher amount of caffeine, but this is a myth. The reality is that the difference between roasts is almost imperceptible.

The amount of caffeine has more to do with the mode of preparation than with the level of roasting. The more coffee beans and less water you have in your preparation, the greater the amount of caffeine. If the amount of caffeine in your cup is the most important thing for you, we recommend adding a shot of espresso to your coffee or using more beans in the preparation.

Final Thoughts

Simply put, a medium roast has been roasted longer than a light roast. This results in fruity notes with nutty spices. Compared to a light roast, you can expect a more balanced flavor and a fuller-bodied brew from a medium roast. The light roast is versatile for any mode of preparation, but it lacks the unexpected flavors of the medium roast.

If we compare medium roast with dark roast, with a dark roast we can perceive a dark-colored coffee bean with an oily coating. A dark roast coffee is generally used to brew espresso or using a French press or in your home coffee maker.

We can conclude that the versatility of a medium roast coffee brings us the best of both worlds. Therefore, when it comes to choosing a coffee, we highly recommend opting for the medium roast coffee, since you will be able to prepare a delicious cup of coffee with the best characteristics of a light roast and a dark roast.

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