How to Choose the Best Medium Roast Coffee Beans | Coffee Gator

How to Choose the Best Medium Roast Coffee Beans

on August 12, 2021
freshly roasted medium roast coffee beans

Some like their beans light. Some like them dark. Me? I like them right down the middle. Medium, as some would say. Nothing wrong with a little balance, am I right? That is the beauty of medium roast coffee - a perfect mix of light and dark. Yin and Yang. Good and...also good, but roasted more.

So listen, you might be wondering what medium roast even is. Well, there are all kinds of coffee bean types - Vienna roast, Italian roast, French roast, Continental, Colombia, Sumatra, Guatemala...the list goes on. But did you know that there’s a roast color classification as well? Light, medium, and dark. You can find a basic rundown of the differences in this useful Coffee Gator article!

Yes, there is much to know about America’s beloved medium roast. I’m sure you’re asking things like ‘What kinds of flavor does it produce?’ ‘Is medium roast coffee stronger than other types?’ ‘What food pairs with it?’ ‘Which medium roasts are the best ones?’ to which I say: Wow, you ask a lot of questions. But it’s all good, because I’m about to answer all of those questions.

Let's get started!


What Is Medium Roast Coffee?

One of the easiest ways to tell these beans apart is by color and texture. Medium roast coffee beans are medium brown, with no oil left on the bean’s surface. They’re typically a little on the sweeter side, and have a more balanced acidity and smooth flavor.

Medium roasted coffee really got its start from the introduction of ‘roasting to taste’ in the world of coffee - when we discovered that not completely burning the beans resulted in a slightly less burnt flavor. Shocking!

Some say medium roast is the first breakthrough icon of the coffee world. I’d say that’s fair.


How is Medium Roast Coffee Different from Other Roasts?

Medium roast is the ultimate combo. It has the lighthearted playfulness of a light roast, with the sturdy dependability of a dark roast.

Could anyone really compare these versatile and shockingly different flavors? Yes.


Light Roast vs. Medium Roast

Medium roast coffee beans are largely differentiated from light by their color. They’re medium brown and have a bit of a thicker body than light roast coffee beans. Because they’re roasted a little longer than light, they take on a bit more of the taste that comes with the roasting process. Medium roast coffees are also typically a little sweeter than light roast, and don't contain quite as many antioxidants.


Dark Roast vs. Medium Roast

The difference between medium and dark roast coffee is fairly simple as well: dark roast beans are the darkest, because they’re roasted the longest. This is important, because the amount of roasting is pivotal to the flavor. Dark roast beans are almost completely stripped of original flavor, leaving them with a bolder taste and less acidity than medium or light roasts. Medium roasts differ because you can still taste some of the original flavor


Is Medium Roast Coffee Stronger than Dark Roast?

No. The medium roast coffee caffeine content compared to other roasts is insignificant! The caffeine in medium roast coffee is about the same as other types. So how strong is medium roast coffee, then? Well, the medium roast coffee caffeine content varies depending on how you prepare it: cold brew coffee contains the most (200mg or higher), while medium roast espresso has the least (at around 45-70mg per shot). In short, you’ll probably get more energy from a high-end cold brew at that nice café next door than an average cup of joe from that diner down the street.


Which Brewing Methods Make the Best Medium Roast Coffee?

While this obviously varies based on individual preference, it is generally agreed upon that the best medium roast coffee brewing method is the cold brew method. This also happens to be one of the cheapest and easiest methods - lucky you! Cold brews are less bitter with a lower acidity, which is great for coffee drinkers who are a little sensitive to that. This method pairs perfectly with medium roast coffee to create a smooth, creamy taste.

Feel free to check out our collection of amazing coffee equipment to find amazing equipment to get your cold brew craze started!

coffee brewing methods

Drinking Medium Roast Coffee Cold vs. Hot

While the internet generally agrees that cold brew is a top-tier way to prepare this medium brown bean, that isn’t to say preparing it at a hotter temperature isn’t just as delicious! Drinking medium roast coffee hot is a great way to keep the bold, smooth taste that really wakes you up in the morning. I highly recommend preparing a medium roast espresso to give you a little more jolt without the bitter taste.


Which Foods are Good to Drink Medium Roast Coffee With?

Pairing the right beverage with the right food can make or break a meal, and coffee is no exception to that rule. While many people stick with sweet things like pastries to pair with coffee (an excellent choice, by the way), you can pair your caffeinated beverage with actual meals as well! Here are some recommendations for what really pairs well with medium roast coffee:

Hearty Foods: Surprisingly, medium roast coffee pairs quite well with lunch & dinner foods. Atypical savory flavors such as grilled cheese, cold cut sandwiches, chicken salads, wraps, and pasta really make that medium roast pop on your palette.

Pastries: How could we forget dessert, the most important meal of the day? Medium roast pairs excellently with really dense pastries like beignets and donuts, or with creamy chocolate dishes like mousse or brownies. The medium roast temperature is important as well - for sweet dishes, I recommend keeping it hot!

I personally don’t recommend pairing medium roast with a fruit-based dessert (or just fruit in general), unless you want your mouth to become a battleground of acidity that no taste bud wants to be a part of.


Choosing the Best Medium Roast Coffee Beans

Now that you know just how complex coffee beans can be, I’m sure you’re overwhelmed by the idea of selecting the best medium roast coffee beans for you! I know I would be. But, I have the answer: the best place to start is right here!

Our medium air-roasted coffee beans are a perfect foundation for starters or seasoned coffee pros. These beans are air-roasted to create a smooth flavor that won’t make you pucker up with bitterness or sourness. Air-roasting allows the skin of the bean, the most flavorful part, to stay on and keep its oil - leaving you with a bold and super smooth brew.


What Makes for High Quality Medium Roast Beans?

You’ll know when a coffee bean is good if the bitterness is pleasant, rather than rancid or sharp. It’s also important to note the appearance of the bean - if your unused coffee beans have brown or black spots, don’t use them! This might be a result of mold growth, which can contain toxic and harmful substances.

Make sure to keep your beans sealed and stored carefully with one of our premium coffee canisters to get the best quality out of your beans!

There you have it. You’ve gone from beginning brewster to a full-blown beanologist in just one article. I hope this helps you find the grinds of your dreams.

Looking for info on other coffee beans types? Check out our blogs on light and dark beans too! 

Contributing Writer: Aurora Detor

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