The truth is the higher the number, the darker the roast. This means you’ll get a stronger flavour profile that’s usually more bitter, punchier and intense. Dark roast coffee is roasted past the second crack (the ‘crack’ is when the coffee makes an audible pop like popcorn, most roasts will reach the first crack). This allows for more natural oils to be released which creates a much punchier, more full-bodied flavour. Lighter roasts on the other hand usually offer drier, fruitier flavours.
The numbers on the coffee strength scale tend to reflect the intensity of the flavour rather than the caffeine content, with the higher numbers more bitter and dark and the lower numbers lighter and fruitier.
The flavour of your coffee owes a lot to the roasting process. Before roasting, coffee beans are actually green and possess a grassy scent. It’s during the roasting process that different roast profiles are developed and each blend is carefully crafted by master roasters, to ensure each sip is as delicious as the last. Generally, the longer beans are roasted, the more natural oils are released from the coffee beans, giving them a stronger and more bitter taste.
Want to find out more about the coffee roasting process and how it works? Check out our guide.
Here’s a rough guide if you’re wondering what the coffee strength numbers mean. But bear in mind, different brands may scale their coffees differently.
Learn more about the types of coffee roast here.
There are a few factors which may affect the caffeine content of your coffee. Some start before you even get your hands on it, but it’s worth knowing that the way you brew it may have an impact too.
When it comes to knowing coffee, understanding strength and flavour will make your world so much rewarding.
That’s our guide to coffee strength and what the scales mean! Take a look at our article on Coffee Cupping to find out more about coffee tastes and flavours. Or, want to find out more about coffee? Check out our favourite coffee facts next.