Best Light Roast Coffee Beans in 2022 — Buyer’s Guide, Reviews, and ComparisonsThe best light roast coffees may be overshadowed by the darker roasts, but they deserve some time in the limelight, too. These aromatic beans can brew java with fruity or even floral notes. It may not have that in-your-face presence that classic dark coffee has, but it’s delicious all the same.
- Uses only Arabica beans
- Sustainably sourced and Rainforest Alliance certified
- Lightly sweet and floral tasting notes
Light Roast Coffee Beans Comparison Table
|Check Price At Amazon Caribou Daybreak Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Wink Coffee Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Veranda Blend Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Coffee Bros Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Lavazza Tierra Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Coffee Bean Direct Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Luminosa Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Lifeboost Light Roast Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Hola Light Roast Review|
|Check Price At Amazon Real Good Coffee Review|
In a hurry? Skip to our reviews of our top picks:
- Caribou Coffee Daybreak Light Roast
- Wink Coffee Blonde Roast Whole Bean
- Starbucks Veranda Blend Blonde Roast
- Coffee Bros. Coffee Light Roast
- Lavazza Tierra Light Roast
- Coffee Bean Direct Hawaiian Kona Blend
- Peet's Coffee Colombia Luminosa
- Lifeboost Coffee Light Roast Ground Coffee
- Kicking Horse Hola Light Roast
- Real Good Coffee Co - Breakfast Blend
Light Roast Coffee Beans Buying Guide
Light roast coffee beans are often overshadowed by dark roasts. When you think about coffee, the typical image is a dark, rich beverage full of body. But the best light roast coffee has its own style to appreciate.
Overall, light-roast coffee has a mellower body, but its flavors are often more complex and brighter. For many, light-roast java offers an authentic coffee experience as the beans aren’t treated as long as those in darker roasts.
So what do you need to know when choosing your light roast coffee? Here are a few considerations:
Origin of the beans
Type of coffee beans
What Is Light-Roast Coffee?
Obviously, we’ve heard about light-roast coffee. Maybe you’re already a fan. But what is it exactly?
Roasting heats green coffee beans, giving them rich aromas and flavors. There are a wide range of roasting levels, ranging from light to dark roast.
Light roast means the minimal amount of roasting, which reaches temperatures around 350 degrees. This is when coffee beans first crack, and that crack signals that they’ve reached light-roast level.
Characteristics of Light Roast
The best light roast coffee has several unique characteristics that aren’t found with medium or dark roasts. Even the beans themselves look different. These beans are light brown or tan in color, and their surface is matte, rather than shiny or oily.
According to Bon Appetit, light roast coffee beans are also denser because they still contain some moisture. This density helps beans maintain more of their original flavor, which gives them a brighter taste.
Light roast java sometimes has more caffeine than other roasts, but that’s not a hard and fast rule. It often has sugary, floral, or fruity flavors, and — no pun intended! — it tastes lighter than other roasts of coffee. Some people liken the beverage to tea. The lighter a roast, the more complexity you’ll find with flavors.
How to Choose the Best Light-Roast Coffee Beans
There are a lot of choices out there to pick from. How are you supposed to choose the best light-roast coffee? We’ve got you covered. We’ve narrowed down some characteristics you should consider when selecting light-roast coffee beans.
Where the Beans Originated
To some people, it simply doesn’t matter where their coffee was grown. But other people may have preferences about the origins of those beans. As with all coffee roasts, certain countries or locations are known for growing particular kinds of coffee.
For example, the most common regions for the coffee beans included in this list are Central America, South America, and parts of Africa. Coffee plants can absorb flavors around them, so we can identify flavor profiles based on where the coffee was grown.
Coffee grown within Central America may have a fruitier taste than beans from other areas. South American coffee tends to be mild with maybe a little sweetness. On the other hand, coffee grown in Africa can have a floral taste.
Is it important to you that your java is organic? If coffee has been certified as organic in the United States, it will have a USDA organic label.
There are also certifications for Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance, and even Bird Friendly.
Fairtrade means that farmers and workers are fairly compensated for their products and work. Rainforest Alliance certified products mean that they’ve been grown in a way that helps prevent deforestation, along with other issues that affect world climate. Bird Friendly simply means that it’s safer if birds consume it. However, the only official government certification among these is the organic certification.
Packaging matters, particularly when it comes to keeping coffee beans fresh. Flavors and aromas dissipate from beans quickly when exposed to air, which is why the packaging for unopened coffee beans should always be airtight.
But what about after you start using those beans? Not all packaging is created equal, so if you can’t reseal that bag to protect the beans, they’re going to turn stale pretty quickly. Bags that can be resealed to keep air out are preferable, which will let you enjoy your favorite coffee for longer.
Type of Coffee Beans
This one really isn’t so much of an issue with light roast beans. Most light roast coffees are made using Arabica beans, the gold standard in java. Arabica beans result from one type of coffee plant, and are considered the better-tasting beans. However, they are also more expensive because growing them is more difficult than Robusta beans.
Robusta beans are easier to grow and have more caffeine than Arabica beans. Robusta beans are more bitter, while Arabica beans produce a sweeter flavor. Robusta beans are more common with espresso coffees, but it’s just not common to see them in a light roast.
This may be the most important factor in choosing a coffee. Do you like it? Taste preferences are highly individual. One person may like hints of fruit, while another may prefer caramel or chocolate, or a nutty taste.
And of course, flavor intensity may be a factor, too. Many best light roast coffees have mild tastes, but there are some that are bolder and stronger.
The Top Ten Best Light Roast Coffee Beans
Light roast java has become more popular recently. If you’re not familiar with it, the choices may seem confusing.
But we’ve done the research for you and have compiled a list of the top ten best light-roast coffee beans. Let’s get started with our top pick from Caribou.
~ Best Overall
Our Rating: 4.8/5
- Floral overtones, caramel and nut flavors
- Uses the world’s top 1% of coffee beans
- Sustainably sourced beans
Caribou Ground Coffee Daybreak is a light roast made with 100% Arabica beans, which are sustainably sourced from the Americas and East Africa. While these beans are not organic, Caribou Coffee uses only the top 1% of coffee beans for this blend.
With flavor notes including floral, caramel, and nuts, the brewed beverage offers a subtle fruity sweetness that makes it a great breakfast blend. The beans are roasted in small batches, plus this product is Rainforest Alliance certified.
This coffee can be purchased as whole beans or in different grind levels. It’s affordably priced, while the company remains committed to being environmentally and socially responsible. You’ll be able to use these coffee beans for all forms of brewing.
- Rainforest Alliance certified
- Specialty-grade Arabica beans
- Cheerful, bright flavor tones
- Not organic
- The flavor may be too mild for some people
~ Best Budget
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- Single-origin coffee beans
- Rainforest Alliance certified
- Vegan and paleo
Wink Light Roast Coffee Beans uses single-origin Arabica beans from the Colombian Andes. This coffee is available only in the form of whole beans which you need to grind yourself. The upshot, though, is that it’s suitable for all brewing methods based on your grind.
While this coffee is not organic, it’s suitable for vegan and paleo diets. The product is also Rainforest Alliance certified. Its brewed java has a vibrant, citrus flavor with hints of chocolate and a slight nuttiness.
Wink Coffee uses small-batch roasting to ensure proper roasting and freshness. The flavor of this brewed beverage may be slightly too acidic for some preferences, though. These coffee beans come in a bag with an airtight zipper for resealing, which helps beans stay fresher for longer.
- Suitable for vegan and paleo diets
- Single-origin Arabica beans
- Can be used for all methods of brewing
- Not organic
- The flavor is too acidic for some people
~ Best Blended Coffee
Our Rating: 4.7/5
- Available in whole bean, ground, K-cups, or Nespresso pods
- Starbucks Veranda beans are ethically sourced
- Flavors of toasted malt and baking chocolate
Starbucks Veranda Ground Coffee is considerably more mellow and softer than the dark roasts Starbucks is known for. Starbucks Veranda blend is made from 100% Arabic beans that are sourced from Latin America.
With flavors of baking chocolate and toasted malt and nuts, consumers give the Veranda blend and its smooth body plenty of positive reviews.
Starbucks Blonde Roast Veranda is available as whole beans or ground, along with Nespresso-compatible pods, and compatible K-cups.
However, these beans are not single-origin, and there appears to be some quality inconsistencies with Starbucks light-roast coffee from one bag to another. This blend is well-suited to drip, French press, pour-over, or moka coffee. It’s competitively priced to boot.
- Not as bold as other Starbucks roasts
- Beans are ethically sourced
- Available in whole beans, ground, Nespresso pods, and k-cups
- Quality seems to be inconsistent from bag to bag
- Starbucks Veranda Coffee Beans are not single-origin
~ Best New Coffee
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- The company was launched in 2019
- Notes of honey, floral, and citrus
- Coffee is roasted to order
Coffee Bros. Light Roast may be a good choice for those who prefer lighter coffee beans for espresso or drip coffee. This roast (available in whole beans only) is a blend of Arabica beans from Ethiopia and Colombia which are grown at different elevations.
This signature blend features citrus fruits, honey, and floral tones. The body is smooth but crisp, without bitterness. Founded in 2019, Coffee Bros. is the new kid on the coffee block. One way the company differentiates itself is through washed processing before roasting its beans.
Coffee is roasted in small batches when ordered, so you can be assured you’re getting the freshest possible product. However, some consumers have been disappointed that these beans are not single-origin and that there’s no pre-ground option for purchase.
- Small batch roasted
- Crisp, smooth flavor
- Resealable bag for freshness
- Beans are not single-origin
- No pre-ground option
~ Best Organic Light Roast
Our Rating: 4.7/5
- The aroma has floral and fruity notes
- Lavazza Light Roast coffee is processed in Italy
- Has a warm golden color with a medium intensity
Lavazza Light Roast Organic Tierra is organic and made from 100% Arabica beans sourced from Central and South America. Although the beans are grown elsewhere, Lavazza processes and roasts in Italy.
The coffee is very aromatic, with some floral and fruity notes. It’s described as medium intensity, which makes it stand out from other light roasts. When brewed, the java has a warm golden hue, with a full body.
Available in whole beans or ground, this coffee is best suited to moka, espresso, French press, or drip java. There have been some complaints from consumers about rocks getting caught inside grinders when grinding beans. Some people have also said that the bag can’t be resealed properly, which affects the coffee’s freshness.
- Uses washed processing
- More intense than other light roasts
- There have been complaints of rocks within the coffee beans
- Complaints that the bag can’t be resealed properly
~ Best Kona Coffee
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- 10% Kona coffee beans blended with other Arabica beans
- Flavors of citrus, chocolate, and nuts
- Small-batch roasting
Coffee Bean Direct Hawaiian Kona Blend is available in whole beans or ground. Kona coffee beans, which make up 10% of this blend, are notoriously expensive. When blended with other beans, though, it becomes much more affordable.
These non-organic beans are sourced from Hawaii and Central and South America. When brewed, this java offers notes of chocolate mocha, macadamia nuts, and citrus fruits. It features bright flavor with a mellow body,
Coffee Bean Direct says this blend is ideal for cold brew or iced coffee, French press, AeroPress, and pour-over. The only real complaint in some Coffee Bean Direct reviews is that some are disappointed that the percentage of Kona coffee isn’t higher.
- Not as pricey as pure Kona coffee
- Hints of macadamia nuts, chocolate, and citrus
- Bright flavor
- Not 100% Kona, which some prefer
- Beans are not organic
~ Best Small-Batch Roasted
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- Peet’s Light Roast Coffee roasts and ships the same day
- Passionflower and stone fruit flavors
- Available in whole beans and multiple grind options
Peet’s Coffee makes regular appearances on top coffee lists, and Peet’s Colombia Luminosa light-roast is no exception.
Also known as Peet’s Luminosa Breakfast Blend, Colombia Luminosa by Peet’s has a bright taste, with notes of stone fruit and passionflower. It also has a subtle sweetness that enhances the flavor without being overwhelming.
Peet’s Coffee Light Roast features 100% Arabica beans sourced from Colombia and Ethiopia. The company prefers washed processing prior to roasting, which happens to order. Beans are roasted and shipped out on the same day for maximum freshness.
As a premium product, it is more expensive than other light roasts. There have also been reports that the coffee was near its “best by” date when received by consumers.
- Available in whole beans or different grind levels
- Hand roasted to order, ships the same day
- Sweetness is not overwhelming
- Reports of coffee nearly being at “best by” date when received
- Higher price point than other light roasts
~ Best Low-Acid
Our Rating: 4.5/5
- Ethically sourced beans
- Washed in spring water, dried in sunlight
- Low acid
Lifeboost is another brand regularly seen on many best-java lists, and this holds true for Lifeboost Coffee Light Roast.
Available in ground coffee or whole beans, Lifeboost uses single-origin organic Arabica beans from the mountains of Nicaragua.
This coffee is lower in acid than other light roasts, and Lifeboost uses only natural means for processing beans. The coffee fruit is first washed using spring water, then left to dry in direct sunlight. Third-party testing for mycotoxins, heavy metals, and pesticides ensure quality and safety.
Lifeboost’s light-roast coffee is suitable for all brewing methods. This brand is the most expensive product on our list, which may put it out of the price range for some people.
Some Lifeboost coffee reviews note that the product may be overrated for its price, but it also has an army of die-hard fans.
- Single-origin beans from Nicaragua
- Picked and roasted by hand
- Low acid, compared to other brands
- It’s expensive
- Some complain that it’s overrated
~ Best Premium Coffee
Our Rating: 4.5/5
- Both Fairtrade and Organic certified
- Available in ground or whole beans
- Aroma of brown sugar and cocoa
Kicking Horse Light Roast is both organic and Fairtrade certified, giving this java some serious eco-credentials.
Only Arabica beans from Central and South America go into this blend, which is available in whole bean and ground versions.
When brewed, this coffee offers flavor notes of red currant combined with honey. Its aroma smells strong and delicious, with scents of cocoa and brown sugar. Kicking Horse Coffee advertises this brew as being bright and acidic and says that it works best for drip or pour-over java.
This brand has a higher price point than some other light roasts, but not so much that it’s out of reach.
Some people are unimpressed by this coffee’s taste. We think it’s a star, though, and its complexity is appreciated by many.
- Certified both Fairtrade and Organic
- Available in whole beans or ground
- Hints of red currant, cocoa, and brown sugar
- It’s not as affordable as other light roasts
- Some people are not impressed by the taste
~ Best Flavors
Our Rating: 4.6/5
- Tasting notes of citrus, cream, and milk chocolate
- Bags are 100% recyclable
- Slightly more acidic than some other light roasts
Real Good Coffee – Breakfast Blend comes from a small java company in Seattle. This product is not organic, but it does use only Arabica beans sourced from Latin and South America.
Available in whole beans or compatible K-cups, this breakfast blend has slightly more caffeine than the company’s darker roasts. Drip, French press, and pour-over coffee are where this brand shines. It’s described as having a bright citrus flavor, with an aroma that includes notes of milk chocolate.
There have been some complaints that freshness can be somewhat inconsistent from bag to bag. Some consumers have also said that the aroma isn’t strong enough to entice them.
This coffee is moderately priced among the light roasts available. In keeping with Real Good Coffee Company’s desire to protect the environment, its packaging is 100% recyclable.
- Available in K-cups or whole beans
- Citrusy, smooth taste
- Has a bit more caffeine than darker roasts
- The aroma is not strong enough
- Freshness may not be consistent from one bag to another
Light-roast java is very different from darker roasts, but it has its own unique attributes. Whether you’re just trying out something new or you have a full-blown case of loving light roast coffee, there are oodles of great options on the market.
With beans typically grown in South America, Central America, and Africa, expect mellow flavors including citrus fruit, sugar, or even flowers.
Light roast java has become something of a trendy beverage, especially for people who have decided that traditional coffee is too bold for them.
You can still use all your favorite brewing methods, but instead of rich, deep flavors, you’ll get crisp, bright tastes and a completely different coffee experience.
We love a light-roast brew for an invigorating morning cup, and it’s not too bad in the afternoon either!
Best Light Roast Coffee Beans FAQs
Is Light Roast Stronger Coffee?
If by “stronger” you mean more caffeine, then yes, light-roast coffee can be stronger. The longer beans are roasted, the less caffeine they contain. Because light-roast beans haven’t been roasted as long, they may contain more caffeine than darker roasts.
However, the flavor of dark-roast coffee is bolder than that of lighter roasts.
Is Light Roast Coffee Less Bitter?
Yes, light roast coffee is usually less bitter than darker roasts. However, brewing temperature, grind sizes, and even the ratio of coffee to water can also affect the bitterness — or lack thereof!
What Brewing Is Light Roast Coffee Good for?
You can brew light-roast coffee using virtually any brewing method, but light roasts are particularly well-suited to drip and pour-over coffee. Depending on the particular beans, they may also brew great espresso, too.
What Does It Mean When Coffee Is Light Roast?
The term “light roast” refers to the length of time that coffee beans have been roasted. Light-roast beans have been roasted just until the beans first crack. Longer roasting time will result in more cracking, which leads to darker roasts. Light roast beans are light brown or tan and will not have oily surfaces.
Is Light Roast Coffee Healthier?
Light-roast coffee may be healthier than other roasts. There is some evidence that light roast coffee offers more anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants. These antioxidants offer some protection against diseases and health conditions, such as certain cancers.
What Happens if a Coffee Is Roasted Too Lightly?
Since virtually all roasted coffee has been roasted to at least a light roast, it seems impossible that it can be roasted too lightly. It would likely still be considered to be green coffee if beans have not reached the first crack that signals the light roast level.