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The Best Light Roast Coffee

Last updated on May 21, 2020

We looked at the top 12 Light Roast Coffee and dug through the reviews from 34 of the most popular review sites including Coffee Channel, Coffee Gear Spy, Mama's Royal Coffee, Roasty, Coffee Review, Koobie's Coffee and more. The result is a ranking of the best Light Roast Coffee.

Best Light Roast Coffee

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Our Picks For The Top Light Roast Coffee

Show Contents
Our Take
  Best Overall

Kicking Horse Light Roasted Coffee

Kicking Horse

Light Roasted Coffee

Overall Take

Strong, Complex FlavorFruit flavors and heady aromas make this strong coffee a solid choice to wake up with.

  Runner Up

New England Coffee Donut Shop Blend Light Roasted Coffee

New England Coffee

Donut Shop Blend Light Roasted Coffee

Overall Take

Mellow BlendThis drinkable light roast is a good daily blend, perfect for your morning routine.

  We Also Like

Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light Roasted Coffee

Real Good Coffee Co

Breakfast Blend Light Roasted Coffee

Overall Take

Bold Caffeine KickGet your caffeine kick with a side of chocolate and cream flavor from this well-balanced blend.

  Strong Contender

AmazonFresh Just Bright Light Roasted Coffee

AmazonFresh

Just Bright Light Roasted Coffee

Overall Take

Easy-Going BlendExpect consistent flavor from these solid beginner beans.

  Also Great

Caribou Coffee Daybreak Light Roasted Coffee

Caribou Coffee

Daybreak Light Roasted Coffee

Overall Take

Sustainably Sourced CoffeeDrink guilt-free with this bold and sustainably sourced blend.

Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, Simplemost analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
19

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the light roast coffee available to purchase.
12

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

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34

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources.

34,933

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Walmart.

The Best Overall

Kicking Horse Light Roasted Coffee

Our Expert Score
9.8
Our Take

These organic beans are sourced responsibly from Central and South America. Their complex mix flavor profile includes echoes of fruit and aromas of brown sugar and nougat. The high caffeine content makes this a great first cup for a busy morning.


The Best Bang For Your Buck

New England Coffee Donut Shop Blend Light Roasted Coffee

Our Expert Score
9.8
Our Take

The mellow flavor of this coffee targets fans of a less intense blend. The flavor is smooth and free of bitterness on the finish. It is also gluten-free and kosher for drinkers with special dietary restrictions.

Our Light Roast Coffee Findings

Kicking Horse Light Roasted Coffee

What We Liked: These organic beans are sourced responsibly from Central and South America. Their complex mix flavor profile includes echoes of fruit and aromas of brown sugar and nougat. The high caffeine content makes this a great first cup for a busy morning.

New England Coffee Donut Shop Blend Light Roasted Coffee

What We Liked: The mellow flavor of this coffee targets fans of a less intense blend. The flavor is smooth and free of bitterness on the finish. It is also gluten-free and kosher for drinkers with special dietary restrictions.

Real Good Coffee Co Breakfast Blend Light Roasted Coffee

What We Liked: Chocolate and cream flavors are a highlight of this bolder blend. The beans are 100% Arabica, with no artificial flavors added in the processing. It’s a caffeine-packed coffee that can be used in a variety of different makers with a consistent taste throughout.

AmazonFresh Just Bright Light Roasted Coffee

What We Liked: These Arabica beans are cultivated in Central and South America, then roasted in the U.S. Theirs is a light, clean flavor that comes through in a variety of different brewing methods. Instructions are printed on the package for coffee novices.

Caribou Coffee Daybreak Light Roasted Coffee

What We Liked: Like all Caribou Coffees, this blend is Rainforest Alliance Certified. Fruit and floral flavors abound with a nutty hint on the back end. The low acidity and bold profile is capable of winning over even fans of dark roast coffee.

Our Light Roast Coffee Buying Guide

If you really love your coffee, you know that not all beans are created equal. The dizzying array of coffee-growing regions can rival the geographic variety of wine grapes, and it seems like baristas are inventing new ways to brew java every other day. But there’s another factor that affects the final taste of that cup, and it might be the biggest: The roast.

We’ve all seen light, medium and dark roast labels on the coffee we buy at the store. They’ve all got their distinct flavor profiles. But among them all, light roast coffee might be the most misunderstood — and have the most potential for “true” coffee flavor.

To understand why, let’s take a quick look at why coffee beans are roasted at all. Raw coffee beans are green and earthy, and any attempts to brew a beverage with them would not be pretty. Roasting them brings about a chemical reaction that changes the color and releases other flavors that are inherent to the specific varietal of bean.

Light-roasted beans are those that are roasted at temperatures up to 401°F. That’s roughly the temperature where heat causes moisture inside the bean to evaporate into steam, bursting it open and resulting in the signature split that we see down the middle. That’s known in coffee circles as the “first crack.”

As coffee beans are roasted past this point, the flavor comes less from the bean and more from the roasting process itself. That’s why — despite what the name might imply — light roasted coffee doesn’t result in a thin, or “lighter” taste. In fact, while the body might be thinner, the flavors will likely be bolder and more complex. Depending on the bean, you can expect floral notes, bursts of fruit and an acidic finish (which can come off as sour if the beans aren’t roasted consistently or correctly). If you really want to taste the “terroir” of a bean, most coffee aficionados will tell you to go with a light roast.

Another big perk is the caffeine jolt. Many drinkers assume that the darker the roast, the bigger the pick-me-up. Actually, the reverse is true. As roasting temperatures increase, some caffeine gets burnt off in the process, making light roast coffee the best choice for morning efficiency.

Within the broad category of “light roast,” there are different classifications to look out for. “Light city” and “half city” beans are roasted the least. So-called “cinnamon” beans are roasted just above that, slightly before the first crack, and the name refers to their color and not their flavor. At Starbucks, you might see this type of beans referred to as “blonde” to alleviate confusion.

Simplemost Fun Fact

Which beans are the best candidates for a light roast, you ask? Coffee grown in the Kona region of Hawaii is highly sought after for any blend, but its crisp citrus flavors are especially well served with a delicate touch at the roaster. Other great choices include smooth-flavored beans from Costa Rican regions or the floral-tinged coffee native to Tanzania. There are of course many more, but half the fun is in the journey! Experiment with different types to find your ideal flavor profile, and you may never return that dark-roasted “cup of mud.”

The Light Roast Coffee Tips and Advice

  • If there’s one appliance you invest in other than a coffee maker, go for a grinder. The extra time you take to grind those beans will pay off in taste. Grinding the beans releases the full flavor in preparation for the brewing process, but the longer they sit idle, the weaker that flavor gets. That’s true even of vaccuum-packed ground coffee. If you can spare an extra minute or two in the morning, the choice is clear: Buy whole beans.
  • Coffee harvesting isn’t always the kindest agricultural activity when it comes to the environment, but it doesn’t have to be harmful. If you’re going green, look for a seal from the Rainforest Alliance. This certifies that the coffee was made with water and soil conservation procedures, little to no chemical pesticides and due regard to the welfare of the workers.