Light vs Dark Roast Coffee: What is the Healthier Option?

Coffee has always been on the “healthy or not” chopping block.  In recent years, the antioxidant packed caffeinated beverage has become widely accepted as a healthy choice which touts numerous health benefits from fighting disease to boosting brain function and even contributing towards weight-loss.

Coffee has received a bad reputation due to all of the added extras that coffee shops love to spice it up with and the fact that people tend to include teaspoons of added sugar into their daily cups of Joe, however, coffee in its purest form is the perfect addition to a healthy and balanced diet.

The debate has shifted to focus on the level of roast of a coffee bean and the question now stands: which is the healthier choice, light or dark roast coffee?  Coffee is packed with antioxidants in its most pure form.

One of the most effective antioxidants in coffee is chlorogenic acid.  Chlorogenic acid lowers blood sugar levels and reduces inflammation in the body.  Inflammation causes numerous chronic diseases from cancer to diabetes and heart disease.

Therefore, in order to determine which roast is the healthiest, one must find out which level of roast contains the highest amount of chlorogenic acid.

Korean researchers performed a study in which they examined how the cells of the body reacted to light and dark roast coffees.  The chlorogenic acid and caffeine levels in each of the levels of roast were the focus of the study.  The results concluded that the lighter coffee roasts contained higher amounts of chlorogenic acid than the darker roast coffees.

The chlorogenic acid content of the lighter roast coffees was more effective when it came to protecting the human cells from oxidisation and inflammation.  The caffeine levels in the varying roasts did not differ greatly and mostly remained the same regardless of the level of roast.

While the conclusion shows a positive effect on individual cells, tests need to be conducted on human test subjects in order to deduce a definitive answer as to the benefits of drinking light roast coffee over dark roast coffee.

Light roast coffees contain more chlorogenic acid than dark roast coffee because it spends less time exposed to heat.  The time under heat to obtain a light roast coffee is the perfect amount of time required to release the chlorogenic acid from the coffee bean, but extending this period of time to obtain a darker roast coffee exposes the chlorogenic acid to oxygen which causes it to be broken down into thin air.

The health benefits of coffee depend on more than the type of roast.  Roasted coffee must be stored in an airtight container because exposure to oxygen causes free radicals.  Free radicals result in the coffee beans using its antioxidants to stabilise them.  It is also important t

light vs dark

o only grind the coffee moments before brewing.


The Mocha pot method of brewing coffee has proven to be the superior method because Mocha pot coffee contained up to double the number of antioxidants when compared with paper filter methods.

It is important to remember that anything added to coffee will eliminate its health benefits.  Therefore, a strong cup of lightly roasted coffee with no milk or sugar is the best way to consume coffee to benefit from all of its health benefits.

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