The 13 Best Light Roast Coffee Beans in 2021

Today, we’re going to be talking about the light roast, also called a blonde roast. As you may know, coffee beans are roasted to give them their characteristic taste—and depending on the duration of the roast, the coffee will taste differently.

The light roast is a type of roast that, curiously enough, didn’t enjoy a lot of popularity in earlier times but has been enjoying enormous popularity thanks to big coffee chains which have helped put it in the spotlight.

Which is quite fortunate for us! The light roast offers quite a unique experience and, to some, it is the most delicious roast there is.

That’s why this article is dedicated to going over some of the best light roast coffee beans out there! We’ll be covering thirteen different products that we feel are the best at the moment.

Top light roast coffee choices

13 best light roast coffee beans

In our quest to find the best light roast coffee, we’ve come by a whopping 13 choices that are amazing. Each has its own unique charm, so it’s really hard to say which is better apart from the one we listed earlier.

To help you decide which might be better for you personally, we’ve included a detailed review of each coffee which should guide you through the flavor of the coffee.

Starbucks’ Veranda Blend

Starbucks is responsible for popularizing a lot of coffee things—but they were the main reason why the light roast, also called blonde roast by them, became such a huge thing. The reason is actually quite obvious once you think about it…

Coffee had for a long time been seen as this impenetrable, black, bitter thing. The light roast turned it into a milder drink that was much more palatable for casual, light drinkers. Starbucks struck gold with it. It was a huge success and the light roast is now one of the most popular choices of coffee.

The Veranda Blend is a great example of a great blonde roast. It has been chosen as the best choice overall because it feels like specialty coffee even though it’s actually inexpensive.  

When it comes to taste, the Veranda is the epitome of what a light roast should be. It is full of toasty, cereal-like tasting notes and it is mild and very enjoyable to drink.

  • Origin: Latin America
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body: smooth
  • Flavor: veranda
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: French press

Coffee Bros. Light Roast

Coffee Bros. has a very wide selection of coffees—this one, however, stands out as one of the most special and flavorful ones.

It has a mix of Colombian beans, which are especially great for light roasting, along with Ethiopian beans. Colombian coffee beans bring very rich tasting notes of fruit as well as some floral ones which are also present in their aroma.

Ethiopian coffee brings a certain sweetness to it: thanks to the presence of Ethiopian beans, this coffee feels naturally sweet and honey, as well as caramel, can be tasted upon sipping.

Colombian and Ethiopian beans are some of the most coveted in the whole world. Easily one of the best coffees on this list, despite it not having made it into the top list.

  • Origin: Ethiopia & Colombia
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body: crips and silky
  • Flavor: honey, citrus fruit, and floral
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: Chemex

Gevalia Traditional Light Roast

No list is complete without a very neutral, standard choice and Gevalia’s is just that. This brand has been in the game for a long time and they are known for their good coffee.

This light roast is the standard of what a good light roast should be. It is toasty, it is mild, and it is great for enjoying it black. It may not have any outstanding qualities or exotic tasting notes like the others, but that’s not really what we’re going for here.

The real charm of this coffee is that it is a balanced, plain light roast coffee. And make no mistake: that can actually be hard to find. Many light roasts are not well achieved or try for exotic flavors that end up ruining the overall brew.

Gevalia’s light roast is a great example of a good light roast that doesn’t try to be anything that it can’t be. It should be a staple in all of our pantries for whenever we need a good, solid light roast that just can’t disappoint!

  • Origin: varied
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body: medium
  • Flavor: mild
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: moka pot

Top Shelf Grind Roasters – Liquid Gold Blend

This close to making it into the Best Tasting category, the Liquid Gold blend is everything you want in a coffee.

Liquid Gold is actually a clever name; the beans come from Peru, which was once thought to be home to El Dorado, a Mythical city deep in the forests of Peru which was awash with gold. Funnily enough, coffee is actually known in Peru as liquid gold because of how important it is to the economy there.

Peru already makes some of the best coffee in the world, but this blend, in particular, is grown mostly in the shade, at high altitudes, and by small farms. That means that the process is controlled, supervised, resulting in top-notch coffee beans.

Growing coffee under the shade makes the beans acquire a much more concentrated flavor; this brew will feel powerful even if you use just a small amount of coffee. It is exceptionally tasteful.

  • Origin: Peru
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body:
  • Flavor: liquid gold
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: pour over

Lavazza Organic ¡Tierra!

In the world of coffee, organic is a big deal. The flavor of coffee is a very important thing -almost sacred- that must be protected at all costs, shielded from any outside influence. This very much includes pesticides and such.

So organic coffee is more sought after precisely because of this. It is thought to have a purer flavor, untouched by unwanted chemicals. All this aside from the usual benefits of buying organic foods; it’s obviously, scientifically, better for your health.

This is an Italian take on the light roast. It’s light to them, although to most of us it will probably feel like a regular, medium roast. Still, its flavor profile is very similar to that of a light roast. A great choice for those who can’t decide between light and medium!

  • Origin: Africa, Central America and South America
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body: rich
  • Flavor: flowers and fruits
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: drip machine

Kicking Horse Coffee Hola Light Roast

Kicking Horse is committed to quality—they source their beans from the best farms in Central and South America and then have it flown over to their headquarters in Canada, where their master roasters craft some of the most delicious coffees of all North America.

But that’s not all they’re committed to! Their coffee is also organic, shade-grown and, in this case, it is also fairtrade. That is a triple guarantee of not just quality and purity, but of a coffee that is ethically sourced and grown. Fairtrade also ensures that farmers are paid a fair wage for their labor.

This light roast feels very bright, acidic in a very citrusy way. You can also feel a lot of sweet notes, most notably a light, creamy honey that just makes you fall completely in love with it.

  • Origin: Central and South America
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body: creamy
  • Flavor: currant
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: cold brew

Black Rifle Coffee – Silencer Smooth

Smooth, silent — an elegant coffee from the hands of the famous Black Rifle coffee company. This coffee is surely not common for this brand, which usually focuses on much more bitter and strong coffee. And yet, they’ve pulled off such a magnificent light roast.

The SS blend mixes high-caffeine beans from Brazil and Colombia. Colombia brings a lot of citrusy, fruit-like tasting notes to the mix while Brazilian beans have a more nutty, caramel-like flavor. This combination makes for a balanced, well-rounded coffee that has it all.

It has a great finish, and it’s the perfect coffee for drinking black.

A big plus of shopping Black Rifle is that a portion of their profits goes to supporting law enforcement, first responders, and veteran causes. It’s a really good way of supporting veterans, police, and so on.

  • Origin: Brazilian & Colombian
  • Roast level: light
  • Roast body:
  • Flavor: citrus-y
  • Coffee beans: unknown
  • Best brewing method: drip machine

Tiny Footprint Light Roast

The winner of this article’s sustainable spot.

Coffee, in general, is actually not sustainable. This might come as a shock but the coffee industry has for a long time been very ruthless and only cared about money. It is one of the biggest industries of the world, focused in South America and Africa. In the early days, it was mostly supported by slave labor.

Nowadays, slavery isn’t really the focus, but instead how a lot of coffee producers care little about tending to the soil and how big coffee farms dry up the land and in some cases leave it unusable altogether.

Tiny Footprint has some of the most environmentally-friendly practices around – which is a great way of ensuring that good coffee will still be readily available for everyone in a decade from now.

  • Origin: Central & South America
  • Roast level: light
  • Body: light
  • Flavor: lemon, orange, cocoa
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: espresso, French press, Drip

Stumptown Coffee Roasters – Holler Mountain

Stumptown Coffee Roasters has been around for a long time, and they’re actually one of the most well-known roasters in all of America. Their expertise and skill are recognized around the world.

So it makes a lot of sense that their light roast makes our top list. Although, for several reasons, it didn’t really make it to our top list mainly because it’s actually a unique light roast that is full of complex flavor.

In many ways, this light roast is the absolute best on the list, but it takes a more trained palate and barista to really draw out all the flavor dormant in this coffee. It isn’t very rewarding for beginners and tends to perform much better when brewed using more professional equipment.

But if you do in fact have professional equipment, then this light roast is definitely the best one you can get for this price.

  • Origin: Central & South America
  • Roast level: light
  • Body: full
  • Flavor: cest, chocolate, caramel, hazelnut
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: pour over, cold brew, espresso

Copper Moon Guatemalan Blend

You may not have heard a lot about Guatemala, but that’s changing little by little. This Central American country brings some of the most powerful coffee in the world and has such a unique, entrancing flavor that it is gaining popularity all over the world.

Australia and Japan, two of the most famous coffee cultures in the world, were some of the firsts to catch onto the amazing flavor of Guatemalan coffee.

In recent years, demand has increased which has allowed Guatemala to conduct bigger and better operations.

Guatemalan coffee is incredibly smooth and has an almost wine-like quality that makes you feel like you’re drinking a very fine beverage. This light roast in particular brings out the best qualities in Guatemalan coffee, giving you a shining cup of naturally sweet, incredibly smooth coffee.

  • Origin: Guatemala
  • Roast level: Light
  • Body: full
  • Flavor: cocoa, berry, citrus
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: pour over, Cold brew

Bulletproof Coffee – Breakfast Blend, Light Roast

Bulletproof is a concept that by now many people in the world are familiar with.

Their coffee actually didn’t use to be high-quality but instead a rather standard one. In recent years, however, they’ve really been stepping up their game. This blend, for example, combines beans from Guatemala, Colombia, and El Salvador – a tasteful combination.

The roast is light-medium, which is a little over most other coffees on this list, but we’ll give it a free pass just because it’s so unbelievably tasty.

Smooth, fruity, and almost no bitterness at all! Mainly because milk is what most people use to cut down the bitterness of coffee, but bulletproof coffee doesn’t really believe in milk. So by crafting this great coffee, they eliminate the need for milk altogether. It’s genius!

  • Origin: unknown
  • Roast level: light
  • Body: medium
  • Flavor: smooth, caramel, fruit
  • Coffee beans: unknown
  • Best brewing method: French press

Amazon Brand – Breakfast Blend

That’s right! We’re not above putting the Amazon brand on our list – and you shouldn’t be above trying it, either. You might actually find a very pleasant surprise inside.

This was our choice of best price, and it definitely is one of the best priced light roast coffees in the market.

However, we didn’t go by price alone. You can absolutely find cheaper coffees in the market because there’s always something cheaper. But there are no cheaper coffees -that we could find- that were as cheap as this one while still being good.

Yes, the Amazon brand coffee is actually good- no, great, coffee.

You will find that it is very smooth, full of complex and sophisticated tasting notes. A quality that’s already hard to find in inexpensive coffee, let alone light roasts which are notoriously harder to find.

  • Origin: unknown
  • Roast level: light
  • Body: medium
  • Flavor: caramel, nuts, fruit
  • Coffee beans: unknown
  • Best brewing method: espresso, French press

Allegro – El Volcán Light Roast

Among Central American countries, Costa Rica stands out as having very unique flavor profiles.

This is a type of coffee that you wouldn’t have as a standard light roast like, say, the Gevalia one which is exactly everything you would expect from a light roast. Instead, this blend subverts your expectations and delivers an unforgettable cup of coffee.

The most notable tasting note here is panela. Panela is a type of sugar that is made by boiling down raw sugar cane. The cooking process develops many different flavors like caramel, toffee, and even coffee. So the panela tasting note makes this coffee not just naturally sweet, but very rich in flavor.

When it comes to acidity, it’s also quite unique. Its unique acidity profile resembles that of a mandarin. So it is citrus, which isn’t too surprising for the region, but it’s a mellower, sweeter acidity that really feels unique and ultimately delicious.

  • Origin: Costa Rica
  • Roast level: light
  • Body: medium
  • Flavor: mandarin orange, caramel, toffee
  • Coffee beans: arabica
  • Best brewing method: French press

Light roast coffee definition

So what exactly makes a light roast light?

There are just a few things about the roasting process that you have to understand. Roasting beans is essentially cooking them; the more you cook them, the more bitter or stronger the beverage is.

But the most important thing is that the longer they are exposed to heat, the more the natural sugar in the beans caramelizes. Darker roasts will have a more burnt taste because the sugars are essentially cooked until they burn. Medium roasts are characterized by a more caramel taste, a medium point.

The most differentiating thing about light roasts is that their sugars are essentially untouched. They feel much more naturally sweet, like sugar from fruit. Their flavor feels more fruit-like, too, precisely because of the higher presence of these sugars.

And because they aren’t roasted for as long, light roasts aren’t nearly as bitter as other roasts.

Does light roast coffee contain less caffeine?

This was actually the subject of a long, heated discussion back in the day. One faction sustained that light roast coffee contained less caffeine because the heat was what drew it out; another, that caffeine started at 100% and the heat actually burned it off.

Both sides have a smidge of truth to them, however, the myth of different roasts having different amounts of caffeine has been largely debunked.

It has been proven that actually, all roasts will ultimately contain the same amount of caffeine.

The reasoning here is that dark roasts actually do have less caffeine per bean. But beans, when roasted for longer, will lose water weight and become smaller. So you actually have to use more beans to achieve the same weight as you would with light roast beans.

So it all evens out in the end. Light roast beans have more caffeine, but you use less of them.

The amount of caffeine that differs is negligible, anyway, so there’s no reason to change roasts if you want to adjust the amount of caffeine you’re drinking. The best thing you can do is go decaf, half-caf, etc; roasts are not a real influence on the coffee’s caffeine.

best-light-roast-coffee-beans

How to choose the best light roast coffee

Choosing the best light roast coffee beans requires you to consider few aspects:

  • Origin – Central America is, without a doubt, the best place to get light roasts from right now. African beans are actually better for espresso, and so are South American beans. Central America has a higher amount of fruit-like varieties, which are perfect for light roasts.
  • Coffee beans – Arabica. No other option; robusta doesn’t have any complex flavors that can actually add a positive trait to your light roast coffee’s flavor.
  • Processing method – Usually, the washed method goes better with light roast because it yields a type of acidity that is brighter and that goes along perfectly with the fruity flavors that are so prevalent in this roast.

Light roast vs dark roast

  • Bitterness – Light roasts are very low in bitterness, whereas dark roasts tend to actually be very bitter.
  • Sourness – Acidity is very different in these two types of roasts. It’s not higher per se, but it just feels different. In dark roasts, it can feel sour in an unpleasant way, while light roasts have a rather pleasant acidity, like that of a fruit.
  • Aroma – Dark roasts tend to have a better, much more fragrant aroma. This is because the prolonged cooking time makes the oils come to the surface of the bean; these oils are responsible for the aroma of the coffee, as well as for some of the flavor.

FAQ about light roast coffee

  • Is light roast coffee healthier?
    Not really. They are both equally as healthy and good for you. Don’t forget: coffee is one of the most important sources of antioxidants in your diet!
  • Is light roast coffee less bitter?
    Yes. As we explained earlier, this has to do with the fact that the roasting process is shorter here, so it doesn’t come out as bitter.
  • Does light roast coffee have less acid?
    Technically, no. It’s mostly that the acidity feels very different. Whereas other roasts might feel more pungent in their acidity, light roasts feel smoother, like mild citrus.

Conclusion

And just like that, our article is over. We hope that by now you have a firm grasp on what a light roast is, how it is different from other roasts and what makes it unique. And, more importantly, we hope that you have some idea of which of the coffees in this article are right for you.

All that’s left for you to do is make yourself a big cup of light roast coffee. Enjoy!


Marcelo

Marcelo is a filmmaker and certified barista. He spends his free time cooking up new and exciting recipes – and drinking too much coffee in the process.