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Does Dark Roasted Coffee Have More Caffeine?
During a segment of this morning’s Today Show, Joy Bauer was asked by a caller if dark roasted coffee contains more caffeine. Before answering, Joy said that the answer would surprise a lot of people. She then said that since some of the caffeine is lost during roasting, dark roasted coffee actually has less caffeine than milder roasts.
The truth is, as usual, just a bit more complicated.
If we were to look at two coffee beans (more properly, coffee seeds), and compare the caffeine contents in a single dark roasted seed and a single medium or light roasted seed, then Joy’s response is correct.
However, more is lost during roasting than just caffeine. The result is that not only is there less caffeine in the dark roasted seed, but there is less mass in the dark roasted seed. This means that it takes more dark roasted seeds to match the weight of a few medium or light roasted seeds. The net result is that dark roasted coffee when brewed by weight (the correct method, and the method used by specialty coffee retail shops nation wide) will yield a cup containing more caffeine.
The Takeaway: If you are brewing coffee at home using a scoop(brew by volume), then the odds are good that there is less caffeine in your dark roast coffee, but if you brew by weight or if you go out for coffee, then dark roasted coffee will contain more caffeine.