Best Light Roast Coffee of 2021

By John Beans on May 4, 2021

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MyFriendsCoffee's experts tested dozens of light roast coffee beans, and these were the most tasty.

Light roasted coffee is not as popular as other roasts, but it can still be delicious.

To help you choose, we have compiled a list of the 8 best light roast coffees based on the brewing methods that best reveal each coffee's taste.

The best part?

We've also prepared a buying guide to so you can take into account all the factors that affect coffee's taste.

BEST CHOICE

Spirit Animal Coffee

It doesn't matter if you brew your coffee in a Chemex, Hario V60, AeroPress, or cold brew coffee maker—this coffee will reveal flavors of jasmine and tropical fruits, and it also leaves a creamy chocolate-and-hazelnut aftertaste. Unlike large online stores, Spirit Animal Coffee is a local roaster, which means you are guaranteed fresh coffee with every purchase.

Spirit Animal Light Roast Coffee

What Is Light Roast Coffee Best For?

Light roast coffee works well for alternative brewing methods. AeroPress, French press, pour-over, and Chemex brewing help to unleash its full potential. Your drink will have bright notes of fruits, flowers and light citrus notes. You will get real good coffee with pleasant acidity and moderate bitterness.

Is Light Roast Coffee the Strongest?

No. Coffee's strength is influenced by the ratio of water to ground coffee, as well as grind size and extraction time. For the strongest cup, you'll need finely ground beans, little water compared to grounds, and a longer brewing time.

What Does the Light Roast Coffee Taste Like?

A drink made from light roasted beans is not too strong or saturated. It has a lightly acidic taste with grassy notes that evoke memories of sunny spring days filled with the aroma of wildflowers. You can also feel the fruity notes in the taste.

What Kind of Coffee Is Light Roast?

Light roasting is ideal for high-quality Arabica varieties, for example, high-mountain varieties from Kenya, Nicaragua, and Jamaica. These beans reveal their taste after just a few minutes of roasting. Monosorts with citrus acidity and fruity aroma, like those from Columbia, are also good for light roasting.

Light roasting allows you to preserve the taste and aroma that coffee beans acquire due to climatic conditions and growing characteristics. That is, it is a good roast to assess the taste differences of different Arabica varieties. Robusta is roasted more darkly—it does not have a bright aroma and needs prolonged roasting to give the drink its taste.

Best Light Roast Coffee Beans In The World 

What's the best tasting light roast coffee? Let’s jump to find whole bean light roasts for each taste, including 100% arabica, single origin, flavored, blonde roasts etc. Without further ado, here are the best light roast coffee:

Our Top Picks

OUR TOP PICK

Spirit Animal Light Roast Coffee

Spirit Animal

An excellent choice for specialty coffee lovers. When brewed, this coffee has notes of jasmine and tropical fruits and also leaves a creamy chocolate-and-hazelnut aftertaste.

Key Features

 Guaranteed fresh with every purchase

 Perfect for any coffee brewing methods

The company supports coffee farmers


BEST ORGANIC COFFEE

LifeBoost Light Roast Coffee

Lifeboost Coffee

I know you’re going to love this coffee. After one try, you’ll never go back to mass-produced toxin-loaded “generic” coffee.

Key Features

No pesticides, chemicals, GMOs, or mycotoxins

It is full bodied flavor with a great aroma and the packaging is natural and adorable

Every bag of this coffee, however, is guaranteed single origin


BEST FLAVORED COFFEE

Lion Coffee

Lion Coffee

If you like coconut you will love this coffee! Smooth with an amazing coconut scent.

Key Features

 Not overwhelming like other flavored coffees from other sellers

 It is delicious hot or iced, with a touch of sweet creamer

1. Spirit Animal - Best Light Roast Coffee

Pour-over brewing, like other filter coffee brewing methods, brings out coffee beans' floral, berry, and fruity aromas. This is why Spirit Animal Coffee's light roast is the best choice to use with specialty coffee brewing methods.

Editor's Rating

9.6


/ 10

Spirit Animal Light Roast Coffee

It doesn't matter if you brew your coffee in a Chemex, Hario V60, AeroPress, or cold brew coffee maker—this coffee will reveal flavors of jasmine and tropical fruits, and it also leaves a creamy chocolate-and-hazelnut aftertaste.

Spirit Animal uses coffee from Honduras. The coffee for this light roast blend is grown at an elevation of over 1800 meters. According to the Honduran coffee grading system, this coffee is of the highest quality: Strictly High Grown (grown at 1,350+ meters above sea level).

You will also be pleased with the company's service. The coffee comes in a beautiful homemade box and is always on time. Unlike large online stores, Spirit Animal Coffee is a local roaster, which means you are guaranteed fresh coffee with every purchase.

2. Lifeboost Coffee - Best Organic Light Roast Coffee

These organic, 100% Arabica light-roast coffee beans are hand picked. You can purchase this single-origin coffee ground or as whole beans.

Editor's Rating

9.8


/ 10

LifeBoost Light Roast Coffee

These best light roast beans stand out from the rest because of their production process.

This organic coffee beans are grown in Nicaragua at very high altitudes. No pesticides are used here. Lifeboost produces 100% shade-grown, organic coffee that is good for the environment.

The coffee quality has to be monitored, and this is really hard work. But Lifeboost promotes Fair Trade, and all workers’ rights are respected.

All Lifeboost beans are picked by hand, so you get light roast coffee from only the highest-quality coffee beans. The taste of the light roast is bright, with a high saturation and notes of sour citrus. You can also find notes of chocolate and spices.

3. Lion Coffee Gold Roast - Best Light Roast Decaf Coffee

This is the best mild decaf coffee with a mild taste and light citrus aftertaste. It is decaffeinated using the natural Swiss Water Process.

Editor's Rating

9.2


/ 10

Lion Decaf Light Roast Coffee

It's good for making drip or pour-over coffee. These methods reveal the fruity and floral notes of a light roast.

Hand-picking ensures a high quality product. Only ripe berries are harvested, and unripe ones are left to ripen. Rotten or overripe ones are removed so as not to harm the tree.

The eco-friendly Swiss Water Process is used to remove caffeine from the beans without the use of chemicals. The process involves only water and a carbon filter. The beans lose 99.9% of the caffeine while retaining all their flavor and aroma.

Lion Coffee moved to Hawaii in 1979 and focused on growing Kona coffee, a type of Arabica that is grown on the slopes of two volcanoes on the Big Island of Hawaii. Many of the island's hotels, restaurants, and retail stores use Lion Coffee beans.

4. Coffee Bros. - Best Light Roast Coffee For French Press

When brewed in a French Press, this coffee reveals a honey sweetness with floral notes.

Editor's Rating

9.0


/ 10

Coffee Bros Light Roast Coffee Beans

Coffee Bros. uses a variety of Caturra Arabica in its light roast. Coffee made from these beans is characterized by a fairly high acidity and a light, soft bouquet that is very similar to that of bourbon. The taste characteristics of this variety are good.

To achieve the best effect, Coffee Bros. uses a unique combination of best coffee beans from two countries: Ethiopia and Colombia. Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, and the Arabica varieties produced here are recognized as the best of the best. And the huge popularity of Colombian coffee is due to the strict quality control carried out by the country's National Federation of Coffee Growers.

Coffee Bros has quickly gained popularity and trust among coffee lovers, and this popularity is well-deserved.

When you buy Coffee Bros. coffee, you can be sure that you will get only the freshest beans. Freshness is affected by delivery time, and Coffee Bros. will not keep you waiting. Coffee Bros. ships its products to Amazon warehouses in small batches every week so the best coffee beans do not age while waiting to be purchased.

When ordering light roast coffee on Amazon, you may run into a problem: Some coffee companies send you a different roast than what you ordered. But Coffee Bros. ships you real light roast beans with notes of lemon and honey, exactly as described on the sales page.

4. Peet's Coffee Costa Rica Aurora - Best Light Roast Coffee K Cups

These best light roast K-Cups contain coffee from Costa Rica and Kenya with notes of sweet pastries and black currant.

Editor's Rating

8.7


/ 10

Peet's Light Roast K-Cup Coffee Pack

For over 50 years, Peet's has been establishing honest and trusting relationships with producers from the leading coffee-growing regions. The company creates a product with a rich taste and adheres to high standards of freshness.

This blend uses 100% Arabica coffee beans that are roasted in small batches immediately after ordering and are sent to you the next day. This ensures that you only get fresh coffee. Each package has a roast date so you can be sure of its freshness.

Try it with the whole family. Each pack contains 10 recyclable K-Cups.

5. Caribou Coffee Daybreak - Best Morning Blend Ground Coffee

This bold, full-bodied coffee is perfect for brewing in a moka pot.

Editor's Rating

7.8


/ 10

Caribou Daybreak Morning Blend Light Roast Coffee

Caribou's Daybreak Blend combines a fruity caramel taste with a nutty aftertaste to provide sunlight with every sip.

Every year, Caribou employees travel around the world to find the best bean varieties. Once selected, these beans are handcrafted in small batches and tasted at several points during production to ensure the best flavor.

Caribou is one of the most sophisticated coffee roasteries in the world. It emphasizes quality and uses the best equipment and the latest technology from Europe and the USA.

The company believes that a sustainable product can help create a more sustainable world. All Caribou products are 100% Rainforest Alliance-certified, which means the coffee is produced using water conservation methods and sustainable farming methods. Wildlife and forests are also protected.

6. Kicking Horse Hola - Best Light Roast Coffee For Cold Brew

This light roast ground coffee for drip machine is perfectly suitable for cold brew. When extracted for a long time, dark chocolate, cocoa, brown sugar, and roasted hazelnuts are well revealed in taste.

Editor's Rating

8.5


/ 10

Kicking Horse Light Roast Coffee

Wild, peppy, and energetic, this blend gives a warm welcome.

The beans, which are 100% Arabica and shade grown, come from Central and South America. Roasted in the Canadian Rockies, this is a bean variety that you can drink without the burden of a negative socio-economic or environmental impact on your mind.

Kicking Horse Coffee only uses beans that are Fair Trade-certified. Fair Trade takes advantage of product sales to empower farmers and invest in the future of their communities. Kicking Horse strives to be as close to the community as possible and to be socially responsible. They want to take care of the planet and future generations.

Light Roast Coffee

What to Look for When Buying the Best Light Roast Coffee

Although light roasted coffees share some common traits, products from different companies can vary greatly. There are many factors that affect the taste of coffee, and below we will look at the ones that affect it the most.

Taste profile

To help you make your choice, many manufacturers list the flavor notes that are revealed in the brewed coffee. Some even point out which brewing method will reveal the flavor most fully.

Origin

If the manufacturer has not specified a taste profile, pay attention to the place where the coffee is grown. Typically, coffee from a certain region has certain flavor characteristics, though this only applies to single origin coffee, as blends can contain different varieties of beans or beans from different countries.

When compared to dark roasted coffee, the origin of light roasted coffee beans can more easily be traced based only on their taste because this roast fully reveals nuanced characteristics.

If you want more fruity notes, East African and Arabian countries cultivate the best beans for light roast coffee. Light roasted beans may also have earthy notes; if you want to emphasize these notes, look for Asian growing regions. Colombia, meanwhile, is better suited for floral notes.

Single-origin coffee or blends

Single-origin is coffee made from beans of the same variety all grown in the same geographic region. In this case, the relationship between growing conditions and coffee taste is strong. Such a product often costs more because it offers better quality.

Sometimes, though, a variety's unique characteristics are too brightly manifested in the taste. To make the taste more balanced and rounded, roasters combine beans from several varieties and regions into blends.

Date of roast

For light and dark roasts, the date of the roast is important. It's best to use coffee within a week of roasting. While this is unrealistic for most people, you should still try to buy a product with a printed roasting date so you can buy and use the coffee as close to that date as possible. If you have tightly sealed your bag, then you can safely use it up to a few months after the roast date.

Ground or whole-bean coffee

Light roast whole bean coffee stays fresh longer, so its taste is richer with a bright aroma. Ground coffee loses some of its flavor as soon as it's ground.

It is convenient to use ground coffee because you don't have to waste time grinding. But different brewing methods require a specific grind size for the best extraction and flavor. In this case, it's best to buy whole-bean coffee so you can grind it to fit your brewing method.

Brand

With a reputable brand, you're guaranteed that the highest-quality coffee beans have been used and that the laws regarding their cultivation, harvesting, roasting, and packaging are being followed. Reputable brands, such as the ones in our review above, will not disappoint you.

Packing

Packaging plays an important role in sealing the flavors and aromas of your light roasted coffee beans. In turn, this directly affects the coffee's taste.

If you want the highest-quality taste, choose a brand that offers completely sealed packaging and roasts their coffee only after ordering.

Then you are guaranteed to get delicious light roast beans because the coffee beans are fresh and still contain their full range of aromas and tastes.

Types of light roasting

Light roasting is also called weak roasting. Coffee beans are roasted on average between two and five minutes. There are several types of light roasting:

Scandinavian

Scandinavian roast, also called cinnamon roast, is the lightest roast. The aroma of beans is like the smell of bread that just came out of the oven. The classic coffee aroma does not yet have time to open. The beans are light, and the finished coffee is weak, with a light taste and pronounced acidity.

American or New England

American or New England roasting means the beans are roasted until the first crack, at which time the oils are starting to extract and the surface of the beans becomes light brown and may glisten slightly. The taste of the finished drink is slightly richer, the acidity is preserved, and a distinct coffee aroma appears.

City

Beans continue to roast after the first crack but roasting stops before the second. They become even darker, cracks may form, and the color is uneven. The aroma is pronounced and the coffee is is saturated but still with a slight acidity.

The color of light roasted coffee beans is light brown or yellowish, and their surface usually remains dry since the oils do not have time to evaporate from the beans.

Taste features of light roasted coffee

Light roasted coffee is aromatic, but its aftertaste is short lived, and the taste is not as rich and expressive as that of a drink made from more darkly roasted beans. Light roast coffee is thinner and richer, and you will find a wide range of taste shades. Why? During the roasting process, the oils inside the beans do not come to the surface; they remain inside. Also, the bean is not caramelized, so the sugars don't stand out. This explains the difference in taste.

In general, the taste of light-roasted coffee is delicate, with grassy, fruity, floral notes. Light roasting allows you to appreciate the variety of taste shades in the selected coffee. It is suitable for those who do not like bitter coffee.

Comparison with Other Roasts

To better understand a light roast, let's compare it to other popular types of roast.

Light Roast vs Medium Roast

Light roast coffee beans give the drink a high acidity. The roast retains the unique characteristics of the beans as influenced by growing conditions. You can sense fruity notes in the aroma and the special aftertaste.

Medium roast coffee beans have a slightly darker color. Medium roasted beans have a more balanced flavor with optimal acidity and aroma. When enjoying this roast, you can still experience the unique flavor and aroma of the beans, but with the caramel notes that come from a longer roasting process.

Light Roast vs. Dark Roast

Dark roast beans have a shiny, polished appearance. This is due to the coffee oils coming to the surface of the beans and forming a caramelized layer during the roasting process.

Dark roast coffee beans have more bitterness combined with sweetness. A dark roast is more consistent than other roasts. Due to their intense coffee taste, these beans are used in the preparation of desserts.

Light roast coffee caffeine content

There is a common misconception that dark roast coffee contains more caffeine. When comparing light roasted beans to dark roasted coffee, the caffeine level is almost the same.

However, the density of the beans changes as you roast, and the caffeine level fluctuates depending on how much coffee you use for one cup. Coffee beans become less dense as the roasting process takes longer.

This is why you will find more dark roasted beans per pack in terms of mass. This means you need more dark roasted beans to get the same dose of caffeine than if you use light roasted beans.

FAQ

What Is light roast coffee?

Light roast coffee is roasted but stopped before the first crack (a clicking sound that is released by the coffee beans when heated). During light roasting, the coffee is hardly caramelized, and a minimum of sugar and essential oils are released from the beans. Therefore, its aroma is not very strong. Light roasted coffee beans are light brown in color. Due to the low heat treatment, their surface remains dull and not oily.

What is special about light roast coffee?

The taste of coffee will be original and have a more pronounced acidity. This roast brings out the fruity and floral notes that the beans have, depending on the growing conditions.

Does light roast coffee have more caffeine?

The level of caffeine in the different roasts is almost the same. The roasting process does not evaporate the caffeine, but the density of the beans decreases. The beans are denser when light roasted. If you take a dose of 20 grams of light roast and dark roast coffee, the 20 grams of light roast coffee will have more caffeine than the 20 grams of dark roast coffee simply because they're denser. To get real good coffee of this strength from dark roasted coffee, you need to increase the dose. This is why, in equal proportions, light roasted coffee has more caffeine.

Conclusion

So, the moral of this story is that light roasted coffee is filled with complex but delicate aromas. These tend to break down when the beans are roasted for a longer time. Simply put, if you want to enjoy chocolate, nut, and fruit notes, choose a gentle, light roast breakfast blend.

Dark roast is very strong, with a more bitter taste that is not appreciated by some coffee lovers. In this case, the best light roast coffees we reviewed are great for people who prefer a less-bitter drink.

Sources:

  1. Coffee Roast Guide - National Coffee Association of U.S.A.
  2. The Ultimate Light Roast Coffee Guide: All Questions Answered - Coffee Bros.


The Team That Worked On This Review

Patty-Cramer-Editor-Coffee-Consultant-at-MyFriendsCoffee

Editor & Coffee Consultant

Patty Cramer

I'm the coffee consultant at MyFriendsCoffee. I've been in the coffee business for over 21 years and still have a passion for coffee. My most important skill is that I know how to organize work processes.

John Beans Editor & Founder

Resident Editor-in-Chief

John Beans

I’m the resident Editor-in-Chief of MyFriendsCoffee. For more than 5 years I tried a large variety of coffees from different brands and master 7 ways to brew coffee and am not going to stop there. I switched my first coffee maker with a professional espresso machine and now my kitchen is filled with various coffee equipment.

Tessa Dixon – Beginner Barista & Content Creator

BArista

Tessa Dixon

I was born in Seattle, and this city has a strong connection to coffee culture, so it's no wonder I decided to become a barista! I’ve learned many ways of making coffee and now I know how to make any coffee delicious.