What is a Blonde Roast Coffee?

Joshua Allerton
March 12, 2023

Blonde refers to the roasting style of the coffee beans. In this case, blonde roasted coffee beans are lightly roasted for a shorter duration at a lower temperature.

The result? A lighter, more delicate coffee.

Blonde roast coffee is great for coffee beginners. Whilst darker roasts can be too smoky and bitter for those starting out, blonde gives a milder introduction. Expect notes of citrus, fruit, and floral.

You can normally identify a blonde roast by its lighter colour. Look for beans that are  light brown in colour and sometimes with a slightly yellow or gold hue.

Characteristics of Blonde Roasted Coffee

Blonde roast coffee has seen a resurgence in the past few years thanks to Starbucks. Through their Blonde Roast bean, they appealed to a new set of coffee drinkers who wanted a less smoky and more smoother experience.

It’s these characteristics that make blonde roast stand out:

  • Lighter colour
  • Mellow, delicate flavour
  • Higher acidity - this is where the citrus notes come
  • Lighter body - you won’t feel full after drinking an Americano

Overall, the characteristics of blonde roast coffee make it a popular choice among coffee enthusiasts looking for a lighter, more delicate coffee experience with a unique flavour profile.

Ignore any suggestion that blonde roast coffee has more caffeine.

This is a misconception. When comparing singular bean to singular bean, blonde roast will have more caffeine. That’s because beans shrink the longer they’re roasted. As blonde beans are roasted shorter, they lose less mass.

Compare the same weight of blonde and dark beans, and you’ll find similar caffeine levels. They’ll be more dark beans because they’ve lost more mass.

Other types of Light Roasted Coffee

Blonde Coffee falls in the higher end of the light roasted coffee spectrum. The difference between light and dark when roasting is the number of cracks in the bean. Dark roasts have two cracks, whereas light only has one.

The length of time roasting after the first crack determines the type of roast. Except for white roasted - they stop just before the first crack. That’s harder than you think.

Let’s look at others:

White roasted coffee is the lightest. The beans are pulled out just before the first crack, which is extremely hard to time. The result is a nutty, bright flavour with no bitterness.

Gold roasted coffee is lighter and even more mellow than a blonde roast. If you’re a tea-drinker looking to experiment with coffee, this is where I’d start. Reminds me of a rooibos.

For me, white and gold are experimental and push the boundaries of typical coffee. I enjoy them, but if I ordered coffee in a shop and was given either, I’d be thrown off. Blonde roasted coffee is the minimum roast anyone expects when they think of the beverage.

How to try blonde roast coffee

There’s no “best method” to try blonde coffee. It’s down to your personal preference. If you drink cafe lattes all the time, try a blonde roasted bean in that.

However, with any bean, I’m a fan of going back to basics: the espresso. It’s the perfect way to fully appreciate the flavour notes without being tainted by milk or syrups.

As this is a lighter roast, I’d suggest drinking it as long black on a day to day basis. It’ll still give you the caffeine hit with less intensity.

If you’re a milk-based lover, a flat white or macchiato would certainly complement. 

Recommendations that aren’t Starbucks

Whilst Starbucks popularised the Blonde roast, I don’t think they do it best. Here are three roasters I trust.

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