We're the experts at removing caffeine, but that doesn't mean decaffeinated coffee is all we think about. When a recent question was raised at the Portland Roast Summit about whether roast level affects caffeine content, we had to chime in.
As part of our constant exploration and curiosity around all things caffeine, our Director of Coffee, Mike Strumpf, conducted a series of tests on the same coffee roasted at three different levels of light, medium, and dark. At each roast level, Mike roasted the coffee at five different speeds: very slow, slow, normal, fast, and very fast. Then he measured the caffeine levels present in each bean at the end of the process. The results? He found that across controlled roasting times and roast levels, no consistent trend emerged to show the level correlated with how much caffeine ended up in the coffee bean itself. Which is to say: the results are consistently inconsistent, and that caffeine content isn't tied directly to roasting time or style.
While our in-lab studies aren't rigorous enough to send to a scientific journal, they're persuasive enough for us to conclude that roast level isn't a strong factor in, well, "strong" coffee.
And what does this mean for your favorite roasters? That they can keep on roasting exactly how they like to get the best possible flavor from their coffees—and when you're trying to limit caffeine content, stick to Swiss Water, where we're constantly growing our knowledge of how coffee, roasting, and caffeine operate, all while providing the most delicious, chemical-free decaffeination process around.