Let’s face it, finding the perfect cup of coffee can be challenging. Coffee is all about balance, and when a roast is too bitter (or not flavorful enough), it can be a real bummer. As if that’s not enough to worry about, sometimes you go through the hassle of standing in line to buy your morning cup of coffee and realize the roast you purchased has barely enough caffeine in it to keep you going.
That’s why we love medium roast coffee so much. Medium roast has an incredibly well-balanced taste. It’s aromatic, rich, bold, and delicious. As the most balanced coffee roast, medium roast is an excellent introduction to coffee for newcomers. Its depth and natural flavor profile make medium roast coffee a wonderful coffee beverage for coffee aficionados, as well.
What are the best types of medium roast coffee? Keep reading to find out.
At a Glance: Our Top 5 Picks for Best Medium Roast Coffees
What Is Medium Roast Coffee, Anyway?
If you’ve walked into any coffee shop and ordered a regular coffee (or even an espresso shot), chances are you’ve had a medium roast coffee blend. Coffee shops love using medium roast coffee beans because you get the best of both worlds. You get a moderate roast that lands right in the middle of the color, acidity level, power, and intensity scale while still showcasing robust flavors.
But how does it achieve such a balanced set of flavors? Because it’s roasted somewhere between dark roast coffee and light roasts. During the roasting process, medium roast beans are roasted until after the first crack, or pop, where they acquire just enough moderate flavor and caffeine content to become the roast we know and love.
As a result, medium roasts are a great option if you are looking for the caffeine of a light roast coffee bean, but you don’t want to commit to the more acidic flavors that come with light roast beans.
Another significant difference between medium roasts and other roasts? Medium roasts don’t have an oily coating on the beans. If you purchase whole beans often, you’ve probably noticed that some roasts have a heavy oil coating on the beans. While some oil is normal, if there’s too much, it can affect the taste and grind of the bean. Typically, medium roasts do not have as much oil because of the way they are roasted.
Oil rises to the bean surface during the roasting process. The darker the roast, the more oily the bean. While some beans have some oil residue, this is natural and far less than other beans and roasts like dark roasts.
Of course, the amount of oil also depends on the types of beans you use (which is why we think you should buy the highest-quality bean possible).
Quick Summary: Best Medium Roast Coffee
Our Top PickLAVAZZA QUALITA ORO
|Check on Amazon →|
|KICKING HORSE – SMART ASS MEDIUM ROAST COFFEE||Check on Amazon →|
|STARBUCKS BREAKFAST BLEND||Check on Amazon →|
|EIGHT O’CLOCK COFFEE||Check on Amazon →|
|AMAZONFRESH COLUMBIA WHOLE BEAN||Check on Amazon →|
|DEATH WISH COFFEE||Check on Amazon →|
The Roasting Process
If you’ve ever roasted coffee beans, then you know that before coffee beans are roasted and turn those dark brown shades we know and love, they are little tasteless, spongy green beans.
These green beans then go through what we call the roasting process. With high temperatures and sufficient roasting time, a chemical reaction happens within the bean, which changes the makeup of the green bean and releases the rich flavors that then become “coffee.” All you need to roast your beans at home is to purchase green beans and heat them on a skillet on the stove.
Sounds pretty simple? Don’t get ahead of yourself. Achieving the perfect roast takes time, patience, and skill.
Eventually, when you roast beans, they begin to crack (kind of like what happens when you pop popcorn). To get the perfect medium roast, you should take the beans off the heat source just after the first crack. Medium roasts reach internal temperatures between 210°C (410°F) and 220°C (428°F).
Again, timing the perfect medium roast takes skill and practice, so if you’re roasting beans at home, don’t get discouraged if you end up with a darker roast than anticipated.
Medium Roasts: Are They Stronger?
A general rule of thumb is the more you roast a bean; the less caffeine will be present. As a result, light roasts have the most caffeine, dark roast beans have the least, and medium roast coffee lands right in the middle.
Since they are more moderate, medium roasts have a balanced caffeine level between dark and light roasts. If you’re only drinking coffee for the caffeine, you may want to go straight for the light roast since it’s minimally roasted, and it comes with the highest amount of caffeine.
Different Names for Medium Roast
Since a medium roast is a more popular roast in America, it is often called American roast.
Alternatively, it can also be called a city roast or a breakfast roast. Where do those nicknames come from? Honestly, we have no idea.
Lavazza Qualita Oro
Since 1965, Lavazza Coffee Company has carved a name for itself and its premier coffee with an emphasis on affordability and quality taste. With bold, refined flavors, this rich, aromatic beverage contains notes of fruit, honey, and nuts to give you a perfectly balanced cup of medium roast coffee.
These flavors are unearthed from deep parts of Central and South America and combined with six varieties of high-quality Arabica beans. This Italian-made coffee is also crafted without harmful GMOs.
Lavazza has procured quite the fan base during its decades-long run. The medium roast rates highly on consumer websites like Amazon, and most customers are thrilled with the balanced taste and affordable price. Customers rave about their experiences with the velvety smooth and robust Lavazza Medium Roast coffee.
However, there seem to be some manufacturing issues. For example, many customers have had problems with rocks in their bags, which unfortunately damaged their coffee grinders beyond repair. Other customers have complained of finding holes in their coffee bags, which leads to bean spillage, but it is also a severe health and safety concern.
- Mellow, smooth taste (no bitterness)
- No oil on beans
- Issues with manufacturing
Kicking Horse – Smart Ass Medium Roast Coffee
This quirky coffee company based in Canada’s Rocky Mountains has as much distinct flavor and attitude as their coffee itself. Fun, vibrant, and bursting with personality, Kicking Horse Coffee crafts quite a cup of coffee. They pride their coffee on being bright, perky, and chocolaty, which it very much is. This deep, dark, delicious coffee is 100% certified organic and fair trade coffee so that you can purchase it with a clear conscience.
Kicking Horse consists of African, as well as Central and South American beans. They boast that they grow their beans in a socially and environmentally responsible way, creating a sustainable business plan that local farmers can depend on.
And the flavors are there. Their beans are fresh and of good quality, so you can always depend on robust flavors.
However, the beans are a bit oily, maybe more so than other medium roasts out there. If you grind your beans at home, make sure that you have a grinder that can handle an oilier roast.
All in all, Smart Ass Medium Roast coffee has a lush, intoxicating flavor that will keep you coming back to your coffee maker for more and more pours.
- Delicious flavor
- Ethically crafted
- Long shipping times
Starbucks Breakfast Blend
Much has been said about this formidable coffeehouse chain. Whether you hate or love Starbucks, you have to be in awe of the weight and power they bring to the coffee industry. Plus, who else could we thank for popularizing cold brew?
Of course, the Starbucks breakfast blend is one of the more convenient medium roasts one can buy, simply because you can pop into your neighborhood Starbucks and snag a bag within minutes.
Plus, the flavor of the coffee isn’t too shabby, either. The smooth flavors of this famous coffee are balanced with rich elements that place this medium roast as a top contender. The medium roast has a citrus tang that delivers full flavor with a lot of character without leaving a bitter, acidic after-taste.
Naturally, the type of coffee you enjoy the best differs drastically from one person to the next. Some people complain that the Starbucks breakfast coffee blend is too mellow for a true coffee drinker, while others say that it walks that line very well and is an excellent option for days where you want a lighter flavor of coffee without the bright acidity that comes with a light roast.
Customers seem to complain the most about manufacturing and not about the coffee itself. Some people complain that they received already opened bags with the seal broken. Others have complained that the bags they received contained expired, stale beans.
So, if Starbucks Breakfast Blend is the roast for you, you may have better luck strolling into a Starbucks and picking up one of the bags on the shelves.
- Good flavors
- Issues with Manufacturing
Eight O’Clock Coffee
If the winning medium roast coffee is judged by how well it stands the test of time, Eight O’Clock Coffee is a surefire front runner. With a whopping 150 years of experience crafting quality coffee, Eight O’Clock Coffee is a favorite among serious coffee drinkers.
Don’t believe us? Hop over to their Amazon page, where they have a nearly perfect score with over 12,000 ratings. Pretty impressive stuff.
So, what makes Eight O’clock Coffee stand out? They craft excellent medium roasts with fruit notes and sweet tastes, with a full-bodied, rich finish. In particular, the medium roast is Eight O’clock Coffee’s is the company’s original and oldest recipe and their most iconic roast.
The medium roast is also Kosher certified. Plus, Eight O’Clock puts a heavy emphasis on sustainability and environmentalism.
The beans also deliver an excellent, smooth, silky cold brew for coffee drinkers who want to stay refreshed during those hot summer months.
Overall, most customers seem as thrilled with the palatable, but robust flavor. However, some customers find this medium roast a tad flavorless. If you’re someone who enjoys strong, bitter coffee tastes, then this may be a little bit too weak for you.
- Smooth, not bitter taste
- Some customers report flavors are a bit bland
AmazonFresh Columbia Whole Bean
Is there anything Amazon can’t do? This once small delivery service has turned into a heavyweight powerhouse with its fingers in nearly every market, including coffee.
The most significant benefit of AmazonFresh coffee is its unbeatable price. Amazon has also done a great job maintaining its freshness after roasting and packaging. Many customers applaud Amazon for its ability to deliver such freshness.
As for the taste, this coffee has a little bit more of a mild, mellow bean flavor. Unfortunately, some customers complain that the flavor isn’t quite up to snuff and is a bit too mild for their preferences. However, for its price and its speed of delivery, AmazonFresh Columbia Whole Bean is a solid medium roast option for those on a budget.
Death Wish Coffee
Living up to its name, Death Wish Coffee boasts that it is the strongest medium coffee on the market. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that they have compromised the taste and quality of their brew. On the contrary, they also deliver a perfectly balanced brew with a strong kick of flavor in addition to the hit of the caffeinated coffee.
Death Wish also infuses notes of caramel, roasted peanuts, stone fruit, and smooth, dark chocolate to create a perfect flavor profile that you’ll quickly fall in love with.
Death Wish coffee company also prioritizes sustainability and environmentalism. Each bag is crafted and certified USDA certified organic and fair trade, so you can have your cups of coffee without compromising your beliefs.
How do they craft such high-quality beans on such a large scale? With a little technique called small-batch roasting. Death Wish ensures both quality and consistency so that each bag comes with fresh beans for a fresh taste.
Be warned: some coffee drinkers can’t handle the strong taste, so if you like a more mellow flavor, you may want to steer clear of this brand.
- Serious amounts of caffeine
- Too strong of a taste for some
Is Medium Roast Strong?
Yes and no. The great thing about a medium roast is it’s less intense in flavor and acidity content. Does it have as much caffeine in it? Yes – but the amount depends on what roaster you buy from. Just take a look at Death Wish Coffee, which has an insanely powerful medium roast.
What Is The Best Brand Of Medium Roast?
It depends on personal preference. Kicking Horse has a terrific brand of flavorful coffee (if you don’t mind paying a little extra), and Eight O’Clock is an excellent starting point if you like more mellow flavors and are looking for a more affordable option.
How Do I Roast My Own Medium Roast?
Roasting is a fun project that every coffee lover should take a crack at, at least once in their life. To buy green beans, go to an online store like Sweet Marias. From there, all you need are the beans and a pan to roast them in. Make sure to buy many bags of green beans to practice – medium roasts take the most patience because they’re the middle child of roasting profiles.
If you want to get really fancy (don’t we all), buy a coffee roaster for your home to elevate your roasting skills to the next level.
Medium roast coffee is the perfect gateway to becoming a coffee fanatic. It has a moderate yet full flavor with a hearty amount of caffeine to get the blood pumping for the day. With so many coffee roasters out there, it can be overwhelming to figure out what the best medium roast is for you. However, much of it boils down to personal preference. Have fun experimenting with which flavor profiles work for you to find your favorite medium roast coffee.
Either way, a great starting point is a medium roast coffee. Once you decide how strong you like your cup of coffee, you’ll be able to start exploring with other roasts.