What is Dark Roast Coffee?
Dark roast refers to the length of time coffee beans are roasted. The longer the beans spend in the roaster, the darker they get. Coffee in the dark roast category is typically roasted to an internal bean temperature of about 440°F to 465°F, and is known for its robust flavor profile and distinctly smoky aroma.
Along with internal bean temperature, professional coffee roasters use a specialized scale to scientifically determine the roast profile of their beans. It’s called the Agtron Scale, and it measures the light permeation through the beans. The scale runs from 25 to 95—the higher the number, the lighter the roast. A typical dark roast will fall anywhere from 25 to 37.
Many coffee drinkers prefer dark roast to the lighter varieties for that signature bold, smoky flavor and ample, well-defined mouthfeel. The extended roast length helps to diminish the acidity of the beans while propping up their bitter notes. Some prefer it black, while others like how the bold and bitter elements of the dark brew are able to cut through their added creamer.
In the vast coffee marketplace, roast definition is anything but precise. For better or for worse, so-called dark roast coffees will often have quite a bit of variation between roasters—and sometimes even between roasts of the same name. At Victor Allen’s Coffee, we’re serious about our roasting. Which means we like to be precise. That’s why all of our dark roast K-Cups deliver the perfectly roasted taste you expect every time.
Dark Roast Flavor Profile
Bittersweet and boldly satisfying, dark roast coffee is full-bodied with a smooth, creamy mouthfeel. The lengthened roasting period coaxes caramelized sugars out of the bean and adds the chocolaty, robust flavor and aroma. Slick oils induced during the roast produce the distinctive sheen that can be seen on a freshly brewed cup.
There was a time when the common conception was that dark roast coffee had more caffeine than light roast. The boldness of the brew was inaccurately assumed to indicate a higher caffeine content. Then suddenly, the tables shifted. And now it’s often thought the denser, lighter roasted beans contain more caffeine.
The truth is, the difference in caffeine content between dark and light roast coffees is minimal. While there is some accuracy to the newest wave of popular belief—the longer the bean is roasted, the more caffeine molecules get burned off—the difference is negligible, so slight as to hardly merit mention.
Our advice: don’t buy based on any assumed caffeine content. Buy on taste.
Victor Allen’s Dark Roast Coffee Roasting Process
In a typical dark roast, the bean itself often takes a back seat to the flavor of the roast, leading a lot of roasters to use lower quality beans in this category. But at Victor Allen’s Coffee, we like to use 100% Arabica beans in all of our dark roast offerings. We never skimp because we know that bad bean can spoil an otherwise heavenly roast.
There’s a thin line between dark and burnt, and as a roaster, that’s a line you don’t want to find yourself on the wrong side of. Victor Allen’s Coffee dark roast is perfectly roasted to the highest standards. Each batch undergoes comprehensive quality control measures to ensure the beans are roasted just long enough to coax out the bold, earthy tones dark roast enthusiasts have come to expect, but never too long as to scorch the beans.
To get specific, we like to keep the beans for our dark roasts cooking right up to the middle of the second crack. Depending on the roast, that’s about 445°F to 460°F. From there, it’s onto the Agtron and into the package, with quality checks at every juncture to ensure every batch is roasted to perfection.
The History & General Characteristics of Dark Roast Coffee
As roasters began experimenting and leaving their beans to stay in the heat for longer periods of time, they discovered some changes occurred. With a lengthier roast, a more robust, smoky flavor profile emerged from the beans. When brewed, they found the acidity diminished while the body of the brew increased.
In a dark roast, the taste of the bean itself becomes somewhat ancillary, as the dark and pensive roast notes ring loud and captivate the senses. The aroma hits stronger, and a decadent richness and smooth body develops, unlike what can be found in lighter roast coffees.
More plainly, coffee drinkers often prefer the bolder kick of dark roast coffee. The intensity of a dark brew strikes a chord with those who seek the visceral get-up-and-go elements of the coffee drinking experience.