Top 10 Best Light Roast Coffee Options

Light roast coffee is not for everyone. It has different flavors than dark roast because it is more vibrant and has less oil but it can also seem watery or more sour to some. Big Cup of Coffee has made a list of the top 10 light roast coffee options worth brewing.

Our Favorite Light Roast Coffee

Hi Light roasts are easy to find on the internet. Essentially, the roasting process is the only difference between these and other, more popular dark roasted whole beans. The unique flavor, the quality, and matching your budget is trickier. Below are the best light roast coffees to have made our list of top 10 high quality light roast coffees you can buy today.

1.Grounds and Hounds – Single Origin Colombian

BestLightRoastBCOC

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It’s a single-origin Arabica coffee cultivated in coffee farms in the Santa Marta regions. It is USDA Organic and Fairtrade certified.

Grown altitude: 3500-5000 feet above sea level

Processing Method: Washed and Sun-dried

Cupping notes: well-balanced, silky smooth body

Tasting notes: with hints of caramel, dark chocolate, roasted almond and cinnamon

Aroma notes: toffee and caramel burst from the cup

Brewing Method: Pour-over and Drip

2. Grounds and Hounds – Single Origin Ethiopian Yirgacheffe

BCOC_Best Light Roast_Ethiopian Yirgacheffee

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It’s an Ethiopian single-origin coffee from the regions of Yirgacheffe. It has impressive crisp and vibrant floral notes and earthy undertones.

Grown altitude: 5000-7000 feet above sea level

Processing Method: Washed and Sun-dried

Cupping notes: well-balanced, silky smooth body

Tasting notes: with hints of orange blossoms, lemon peel, honey and black cherry finish

Brewing Method: Percolator, Cold Brew, Pour-over and Drip

About Grounds and Hounds

Grounds and Hounds is a coffee company with a furry purpose. The Santa Monica-based coffee roaster sources its coffee beans from top growing regions. It includes Colombia, Peru, Sumatra, Guatemala, and many more. For every coffee blend and subscriptions you buy. Twenty percent of the generated profits support their rescue initiatives and programs.

3. Hawaii Coffee Company – Lion Gold Roast Coffee

Lion Gold Light Roast

It’s a light roast coffee you won’t dare to drink before bedtime. It’s a vibrant cup of coffee with a sweet and mellow taste and a mild citrus finish.

Cupping notes: rich, bold and sweet with enjoyable bitterness

Tasting notes: with hints of coconut and fruity undertones

Brewing Method: Pour-over and Drip 

4. Hawaii Coffee Company – Lion Premium Gold 10% Kona Blend Coffee

Lion premium Gold

It’s a premium Hawaiian coffee with 10% Kona coffee beans. The coffee experience allows you to long for that relaxing Hawaiian vacation. It’s best to pair with biscuits for an afternoon snack.

Cupping notes: bright, bold and smooth body

Tasting notes: delicate and nutty

Brewing Method: Pour-over and Drip

About Hawaii Coffee Company

Hawaii Coffee Company is a coffee marketplace for all Hawaiian coffee and tea brands. It’s a family of sister coffee companies with one primary goal. That is to delight coffee drinkers with the best coffee and tea. To date, they are the largest Kona coffee roaster in Hawaii. They are also the leading supplier of high quality coffee to most of the Big Island’s industries.

5. Real Good Coffee Co​ Seattle WA, ​Whole Bean

Affordable Light Roast
Real Good Coffee Co Whole Bean Coffee, Breakfast Blend Light Roast Coffee Beans, 2 Pound Bag
$24.99 ($0.78 / Ounce)
  • Light Roast Coffee: Our Breakfast Blend light roast whole bean coffee is the perfect morning coffee to ease you into your day
  • Sustainable Light Roast Coffee Beans: Our coffee is made with premium quality Arabica coffee beans from Central and South America. They are grown, sourced and packaged responsibly, after being roasted fresh in Seattle, USA
  • Tasting Notes: Our Breakfast Blend coffee delivers a smooth flavor that brings together a brisk citrus taste with smooth aromatic notes of milk chocolate and cream
  • Works With All Coffee Brewers: This classic whole bean light roast coffee is suitable for any good coffee machine: drip machines, espresso maker, French press, Aeropress, pour over and moka pot
  • Real Good Coffee Co: With over 30 years’ experience of coffee sourcing and craft roasting in Seattle, we make coffee, real good coffee, it’s that simple


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It’s a perfect breakfast blend for a busy day. The coffee beans sourced from Central and South America are 100% Arabica. The roastery facility in Seattle handles the roasting and packing of the beans.

Cupping notes: rich and smooth body

Tasting notes: with hints of brisk citrus taste

Aroma notes: milk chocolate and cream

Brewing Method: espresso maker, drip machines, French press, pour-over, Aeropress and moka pot.

About Real Good Coffee Co

Real Good Coffee Co is a Seattle-based small team of coffee roasters. Their prime focus is on quality, sustainability and affordability. This company has a proven track record of 30 years in bringing the best tasting specialty coffee. No frills and gimmicks. Just real good coffee.

6. Kicking Horse Coffee, Hola, Light Roast

Best Wake-Up Call!
Kicking Horse Coffee, Hola, Light Roast, Ground, 10 oz - Certified Organic, Fair Trade
$8.67 ($0.87 / Ounce)
  • LIGHT ROAST, GROUND: Wild, spirited, awake. This blend knows how to dish up a warm welcome. It's a hot tropical storm, sailing in off the sea. Hullo good mornings
  • TASTING NOTES, BREW METHOD: Juicy red currant acidity paired with a creamy honey body. Recommended methods: drip machine, pour over and cold brew
  • ORIGIN CENTRAL & SOUTH AMERICA: Grown in a socially and environmentally responsible way, by farmers with sustainable businesses they can depend on
  • ORGANIC, FAIRTRADE, KOSHER, SHADE GROWN, ARABICA COFFEE: Coffee that is good and fair for the coffee drinkers, the farmers and the planet. 100 percent Certified
  • ROASTED IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAINS: It’s all deep, dark and delicious, roasted right below the towering Canadian Rocky Mountain peaks


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The Hola Blend of Kicking Horse Coffee made it to our top best light roast coffee.  This kickass coffee is deep, dark, and delicious. Roasted beneath the Canadian rocky mountain. The coffee is a tasty cuppa to wake up your senses first thing in the morning.

Cupping notes: light and silky smooth body

Tasting notes: with juicy red currants paired with a creamy honey body

Aroma notes: ripe berries, rich nougat, and brown sugar

Brewing Method: Pour-over, Drip, espresso, French Press and cold brew

About Kicking Horse Coffee Roaster

Kicking Horse Coffee Roaster is a kickass coffee roaster located at Invermere, B.C.  It’s Canada’s No. 1 Fairtrade and Organic Coffee roaster and the hailed as the best place to work in 2015 and 2018.

7. Cafe Don Pablo – Organic Light Roast

Budget Option for the Eco-Conscious
2LB Subtle Earth Organic Coffee - Light Roast - Whole Bean - Organic Arabica Coffee - (2 lb) Bag
$17.99 ($0.56 / Ounce)
  • Certified Organic by CCOF - 100% Arabica Coffee - GMO Free
  • 2LB - Whole Bean - Light Roast
  • Rich and chocolaty with profound depth of flavor, velvety body, and low acidity
  • Origin: Honduras, Sharing Certified Program
  • Try Don Pablo Risk-Free: Buy now, and if you don't love our coffees, contact us directly through Amazon, and we will happily refund your order


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Cafe Don Pablo’s light roast coffee originated from the coffee farms in Honduras. It is 100% Arabica and certified GMO-free. It’s “depth of flavor” is due to its high altitude cultivation in Honduran Marcala. If you’re looking for a vibrant coffee but low in acidity, this is the right coffee for you.

Cupping notes: silky smooth, bright coffee with the mild finish and sweet aftertaste

Tasting notes: rich and chocolatey

Aroma notes: honey, caramel, and cocoa

Brewing Method: Pour-over, Drip, French Press

About Cafe Don Pablo

Cafe Don Pablo is a family-owned gourmet coffee company based in Miami, Florida. This coffee roasting company specializes in Honduran gourmet coffee. Their coffee beans are personally cultivated, picked and processed in Colombia. They manage their production of coffee trees through their Sharing Certified Program.

8. Tiny FootPrint Coffee​ Signature Blend, Whole Bean

Carbon Negative Coffee!
Tiny Footprint Coffee - Organic Signature Blend Light Roast | Whole Bean Coffee | USDA Organic | Carbon Negative | 3 pound
$37.31 ($0.78 / Ounce)
  • The world's first carbon negative coffee: For every pound that’s sold, we donate a portion of the proceeds to fund reforestation in Ecuador’s Mindo cloud forest. Over time, these trees will remove 54 lbs. of CO2 from the atmosphere as well as provide habitat for native plant and animal species
  • WHOLE BEAN COFFEE: 100% Organic Shade-Grown Arabica Coffee
  • We source coffee seasonally from across the globe in order to create blends with the freshest, highest quality beans
  • Flavor Profile: Bright lemon and orange with a touch of cocoa to create a gentle finish
  • Craft Roasted in our vintage 90 kilo German-built Probat drum roaster retrofitted with modern fuel-efficient ribbon burners, delivering perfectly roasted coffee every time


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The Light Roast Signature blend by Tiny Footprint is a whole bean coffee that is 100% Organic. It is a shade-grown Arabica coffee sourced from top coffee regions around the world.

Cupping notes: light and smooth body with mild acidity

Tasting notes: with hints of bright lemon and orange and a gentle cocoa finish

Aroma notes: natural sweet aroma

Brewing Method: Pour-over, Drip, French Press and cold brew

About the Tiny Footprint Coffee

The Tiny Footprint Coffee Company is the world’s first zero-carbon coffee. It’s a company with an earthly cause. For every pound of coffee sold, a percentage goes to an environmental cause like the reforestation of the Mindo cloud forest. The Tiny Footprints support this cause with a belief that such a move can help the earth remove 54 lbs of CO2. Likewise, the reforestation can provide a habitat for native plants and animal species.

9. New England Coffee New England Donut Shop Blend, Light Roast Ground Coffee

It is a premium quality Arabica coffee bean light roasted for that smooth and mellow taste. The New England Coffee  is a Kosher-certified coffee with no gluten or additives. The company maintains special dietary restrictions to guide coffee drinkers.

Cupping notes: light and smooth body with no bitter aftertaste

Tasting notes: sweet-toned with a mellow flavor

Brewing Method: Pour-over, Drip, French Press and cold brew

About The New England  Coffee

New England Coffee is one of the oldest coffee brands in America.  They sell flavorful brews for adventurous coffee lovers. Each coffee blend they offer has distinct flavor and aroma. This difference helps you identify one variant from another.

10. Cooper’s Cask Coffee ETHIOPIAN BOLD ROAST – LIGHT ROAST

Best Light Roast Coopers Cask Coffee

The light roasted Ethiopian bold roast is a must-try. It’s a micro lot of single-origin coffee from the heirloom varietals. Cooper’s Cask sources their coffee beans from organic and Fairtrade-certified coffee farms. If you’re not satisfied with their coffee beans, can always ask for a full refund within 30 days.

Processing method: Natural/Sun-dried

Cupping notes:  bold, smooth and vibrant

Tasting notes: with hints of citrus, raw floral honey, and wild berry undertones

Aroma notes: floral and fruity tones

Brewing Method: Pour-over, Drip, French Press and cold brew

About Cooper’s Cask Coffee

Cooper’s Cask Coffee is a gourmet coffee specialist. They test and create new coffee lots using the award-winning whiskey and rum barrels. These barrels allow Cooper’s roasters to create amazing coffee with unique taste profiles. The whiskey barrel is from Sons of  Liberty Spirits, while the rum barrel is from Thomas Tew Rum.

What is a Light Roast Coffee?

Light roast coffee is a multilayer of complexity.  Roasting lightly can reveal the origin of coffee beans which makes profiling coffee according to its sweetness, fruity, and floral tones easier. Though the terms used in describing the process of roasting vary among coffee roasters and companies,  there are simple ways to determine the roasting options that you prefer. They include the following:

American roast: Coffee beans are medium roasted. It’s a roast that creates a moderate brew with vibrant flavor that is not too light nor too heavy.

French roast: The coffee beans resemble the color of dark chocolate. It is full-bodied and has a stronger taste with delectable bitterness.

Italian roast:  Italian coffee is glossy, brown to black coffee. It’s very rich, strong and heavy. It’s the most preferred roast for espresso drinks.

Light Roast Coffee is generally light brown. It has a  distinguishing light body and an oil-free surface. The coffee beans never reach the second crack during the roasting process. That’s how the natural flavors of the beans remain – they are more “raw” than a darker roast. Compared to medium roast and dark roast, the caffeine level is a bit higher.

What Does Light Roast Coffee Taste Like?

Not all coffee tastes the same. There’s a huge taste difference between light, medium, and dark roasted coffee. If dark and extra dark roast coffee exhibits bitterness or almost burnt taste then light roast coffee features a sweet and earthy taste. This is because it hasn’t lost its flavors during roasting.

Another notable taste of light roast coffee is that it has a tangy taste and a strong aroma. Some light roast coffee even displays aromatic floral notes.  Yet, the taste of light roast can still vary with the processing method used. It can be natural, washed or semi-washed.

Choosing a Light Roast

If you want to try a light roast coffee for a change, choosing the best light roast coffee is the finest way to go. How would you know if you got the best light roast coffee? Here are some considerations:

Origin

The origin of the coffee bean plays a vital role in identifying the flavor profile of the beans. At present, there are over 100 species of coffee with Arabica and Robusta produced and sold.

Light roast coffee beans are often oven-roasted between temperatures 355 and 400 °F . This is how the beans retain their original flavor. The coffee beans are acidic, zero-oil, and have a high caffeine concentration. Yet, there’s still inconsistency in taste.

If you’re observant with the cupping and tasting notes of the coffee, you’ll recognize the country of origin. For instance, coffee from Latin America and Ethiopia has distinctive tasting features.

South America’s whole bean light roast coffee is popular for its milder taste and light aroma. If you prefer a light roast with a smooth body and fruity undertones, you’ll like a light roast coffee from Ethiopia.

Coffee Beans

Learning from the mistakes of roasting coffee beans in earlier times, modern light roast coffee now tastes better than dark roasts and has become an ideal for specialty coffee.

The coffee beans are lightly roasted to preserve the unique features of the beans. Yet, the variety in flavors, aromas and aftertaste still depends on many factors that include how farmers cultivate the coffee plant, the processing method, and roasting.

Cultivated Coffee Plant

Each coffee region cultivates coffee plants that grow best in their soil. For instance, Ethiopia grows heirloom varietals of Arabica, Brazil coffee farms take pride in their Bourbon varietals,  and Hawaii gives the utmost care to their Typica varietal.

Another factor is the kind of soil used to grow these coffee plants. For instance, Volcanica get their beans from coffee farms abundant with volcanic soils. These volcanic soil is rich in micronutrients and minerals thus giving the coffee beans a unique taste profile.

Processing method

There are 3 methods widely used in processing coffee beans. These are natural, washed, and semi-washed. These methods can also affect the taste and aroma profile of the coffee beans.

Aside from these, the climate of the coffee region can make a difference in the processing method. Some coffee regions are not good for natural processing with their inconsistent climate. A good example are the coffee farms in the southern hemisphere of Brazil.

Roasting

Light roasts coffee keeps its caffeine level and flavor within a defined temperature range. It is cooler than dark roasts and are roasted to between 350 and 400 degrees Fahrenheit. This means the coffee beans do not reach the second crack.

Before the light roast coffee approach the first crack, the beans pass through different stages: 

Green: as the first level where it retains its “virgin green essence”.

Yellow: the coffee beans start to emit a grassy smell.

Steam: The water content of the green coffee beans are evaporating.

First crack: It is also known as the “Cinnamon Roast”. This is where the real roasting happens. 

As the water content of the beans evaporates, the sugar in the beans start to caramelize and as the roasting goes on you’ll hear a cracking sound like when you are making  popcorn.

Since light roasted coffee beans undergo a short period of roasting they do not produce caramelized sugar or oil. What you taste from light roast coffee is the original flavor of the green coffee beans. For some people this often resembles the aroma of freshly cut grass. Though it underwent roasting, the original flavor and aroma innate in the green coffee beans remains.

Caffeine Content

If you want to start your day with a mild coffee but with a strong caffeine kick, the light roast coffee will do the job. Light roast coffee is a favorite choice for espresso as it can make coffee beverages more vibrant and flavorful.

When you compare the caffeine content of light roast coffee beans with medium and dark. Many claim that light roast coffee has more caffeine than dark roast. This is because the lightly roasted coffee beans haven’t given up their unique flavors or their chemical composition. When coffee beans reach the first crack the vapor inside the beans breaks through leaving a higher concentration of “coffee.”

Yet, Kicking Horse iterates that caffeine content is not measured with beans alone. In a little experiment conducted with ten grams of light roast and dark roast. These roasters explained that when you roast the beans, you lose the water content. Thus the beans become dense.

So when you measure the grounds by scoops, light roasted coffee will look like it has more caffeine. Especially that it is denser than dark roast. But, if you weigh the dark roast, it will also have more caffeine because it has less mass. Confused yet? 

Another point to consider is that there’s a wide variety of Arabica coffee beans. As a result, the beans’ caffeine content may also vary.

Light Roast VS Dark Roast

Whether you’re a coffee snob or not, you can determine the taste of the coffee through its roast level. Even before the roasting, the green coffee beans are soft, tasteless beans with a fresh, earthy smell. Once the raw bean undergoes roasting, it transforms into flavorful and crunchy beans.

Another factor that can determine the taste of coffee is their country of origin. Since coffee regions cultivate different species of Arabica coffee plants. The country becomes part of the identity and the flavor profile of the beans.

But the most common way to identify the taste of the coffee bean is through its color. Coffee beans have color classification that range from light to dark and sometimes extra dark. The changes in color happens as the temperature for roasting increases. As the beans absorb more heat, oils begin to surface.

Though it’s not accurate to classify coffee beans with color the particular shade of brown makes it convenient to identify the roasting level. Thus it makes light roast more distinguishable than dark roast.

Light roast coffee appears light brown in color. It has a light body and does not have any sheen of oil atop the cup. Compared to dark roast, it retained most of its caffeine. It didn’t reach the first crack. That’s why light roast coffee features an earthy taste and vibrant flavor.

Dark roast coffee displays a dark brown color, which you can resemble dark chocolate. Some dark roast appears black. When you brew this coffee, you’ll notice a sheen of oil at the surface. Since the bean coffee roasted beyond the second crack, it loses its original flavor. Yet, the extraction helps it to produce a new unique flavor distinctive to the coffee bean.

But if you’re not keen enough with the dark roast that you buy, confusion often arises. Dark roasts go by many names. These include Italian roast, French roast, Continental roast, Espresso roast,  etc.

To help you the next time you search for the best light roast coffee or dark roast coffee we’ve summarized a simple roast level and color gradations for each bean.

  • Light roast coffee beans still keep the original flavor of the raw bean even after the roasting.
  • The body of the coffee bean becomes denser as it absorbs heat.
  • Light roast coffee has a more vibrant flavor than dark roast. It is sweet-toned and tastes citrusy.
  • Light roast coffee beans tend to look dry while dark roast appears glossy and oily on the bean surface.
  • As the coffee beans absorb heat, the caffeine level decreases and the beans’ color get darker.

Conclusion

Light roast coffee is definitely the perfect beverage for a lively morning. It has a little more of a caffeine kick and exhibits natural flavors and aromas retained only from a light roasting.

If you’re on a journey to discover more about coffee, light roast is the best coffee to start with. It allows you  to identify the origin of the coffee beans as well as determine the innate flavor and aroma. Likewise, tasting the best coffees lightly roasted helps in distinguishing which brewing methods works best with these coffees.

From the list of top ten best light roast coffee my personal preference is Hounds’ Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and the Hola Blend. Both grounds are light and silky with enjoyable bitterness.

It’s a good light roast coffee if you want to stay active the whole day. Best of all, their tasting notes are unique and delicious. And I love pairing them with buttery biscuits and sandwiches as I go over the newspaper in the morning.

From our list of best light roast coffee, which coffee have you tried? How do you brew your light roast coffee? Is there any taste difference when brewed with different brewing methods? Please share with us your light roast coffee thoughts at the comments below.

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Dave Hoch

Dave Hoch

Author

Gregariously grounded, whimsically witty, and remarkably resolved. Big lover of adventure and all things related to traveling by bike. Can't go a day without a coffee, even if it's decaf.

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