What is Blonde Roast Coffee? A Guide to the Most Popular Light Roast

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Have you ever wondered why coffee lovers rave about blonde roast coffee? 

Maybe it’s the cinnamon roast color with a mellow and sweet taste with sour notes. Or maybe it’s the South American and East African roots. Or perhaps the blonde roast coffee’s popularity reemerged when world-renowned cafe Starbucks launched its famous Blonde Espresso coffee in 2017. Blonde roast coffee is a brew worthy of a deep dive. 

What Is Blonde Roast Coffee?

Blonde coffee beans are lightly roasted, dry, and acidic, with less roasting process time than the typical medium and dark roast coffee beans. However, blonde roast coffee should never be mistaken for other lighter roasts, such as white and gold. 

You may find blonde roast beans often described as: 

  • Light City
  • Cinnamon
  • Half City
  • New England Roast
  • Nordic Roast

Unlike white roasts that are ready right out of the roaster without the first crack and gold roasts that retain their high caffeine with a smooth taste, blonde roasts have an unmatched acidic flavor that coffee devotees describe as a mellow citrus taste. 

Blonde Roast Roasting Process

blonde roast coffee

The blonde lightly roasts until the bean starts to crack at the first sound. The longer the roast, the darker the coffee beans become. Therefore, blonde coffee roasts spend the least time in the roaster than medium and dark roasts. 

For example, medium roast coffee beans exit the roaster until the sound of the second crack. And dark roasts roast until the sound of the third crack. 

Suppose you are new to roasting coffee beans. In that case, you may wonder what the ‘crack’ sound that specialty coffee roasters describe is—each batch of coffee undergoing roasting experiences chemical changes that influence the aroma and flavor of a blonde roast. 

After the bean absorbs the energy from your cast iron or drum, the heat from the first roast moves into the green coffee bean triggering a Maillard reaction between amino acids and sugar that creates that first crack sound and distinct aromatic and flavor compounds inside the bean.

This roasting process of chemical reactions continues until the desired roast, smell, and flavor bloom inside the roasting chamber.  

Blonde roasts typically roast at lower temperatures – between 350-450 F and brew between 195-205 F. 

Blonde Roast Doesn’t Mean Less Caffeine Content

Don’t believe the ancient folklore that tells the tale of roasting: the darker the coffee bean, the more the caffeine content. Instead, the caffeine content is relatively equal between a blonde roast and a dark roast. 

Blonde roast coffee beans have more caffeine than dark roasts because blondes tend to have more beans in a scoop than in a dark roast. That is due to the density of the blonde coffee roasting until the sign of the first crack. 

The longer the roast, the less dense, and the more the coffee beans expand and lose their density. 

However, comparing blonde, medium, and dark roast by weight may have the same caffeine content. To learn more about caffeine content check our post How Much Caffeine in a Cup of Coffee.

Blonde Roast Coffee Beans Don’t Have Much Body

When it comes to specialty drinks, the body is a delightfully weighted mouthfeel on the tongue experience that is relatively difficult to describe. The body divides into three categories: light, medium, and heavy.

And the blonde roast coffee has a light body. So when you take that first sip of a cup of blonde, your mouth may experience thin or watery consistency with a grainy texture left behind on the tongue.

Although some coffee roasters attribute the body to the altitude and soil type the bean grows under, the body is a good indication of the roasting style. 

  • Medium or full-bodied has a smooth mouthfeel with little residue on the tongue.
  • Heavy full-body roasts retain flavor with a syrupy or buttery mouth feel.

To get the most out of coffee tasting, cleanse your palate with a swig of cool water or a bubbly seltzer to rid your tongue of residue grounds, oils, and acids. 

Blonde Roasts Acidity

blonde roast coffee

Blonde Roast has higher acidity than medium roast and darker roast. Acidity in a blonde roast is simple to notice, though it should not be confused with the level of acid (pH) inside the coffee. Instead, acidity describes the flavor sensation as it travels through the palate. 

For example, a strong coffee may experience dryness towards the back of your mouth or a crisp lingering numb sensation towards the tip of the tongue. 

The blonde has a unique mild taste with sour citrus notes that taste most like a green coffee bean flavor. However, the acidity in a blonde is not sweet or buttery. And you won’t taste the same caramel notes you find in medium and dark roast coffees. 

  • Light roasts acidity tastes bright and sour. 
  • Medium roast coffee acidity tastes lively that’s slightly sour with berry notes.
  • Dark roasts taste burnt, bitter, or smoky.

Instead, with a blonde roast, you may experience subtle floral notes of lemon verbena at the back of the palate and a tart or crisp, vibrant lemon flavor on the tip and sides of the tongue. 

How Does Blonde Roast Taste?

Blonde roast coffee does not spend much time roasting, which creates a distinct taste, unlike medium and dark roast coffee. In addition, the blonde roast bean is lighter in color, so your black coffee won’t pick up any signs of bitterness. 

And the bean doesn’t lose its acidity. Instead, blonde roasts remain acidic, incredibly smooth, and mellow, offering a lemon citrus aftertaste.

Blonde roasts are perfect for coffee beginners that want to embody and follow the history of coffee making from beginning to end– light roasts to darker roasts. And they are ideal for coffee drinkers that are too embarrassed to admit that they don’t enjoy the taste of coffee. 

Some even describe the blonde as a heavy tea. Grab a blonde coffee today and taste it to explore the differences yourself. 


Blonde roast coffee makes for the perfect cup of coffee over these frequently asked questions. 

What is white coffee?

White coffee is the lighter version of blonde coffee. Instead of removing white coffee from the drum at the sound of the first crack, white coffee is ready to brew. White coffee is roasted at a low temperature and has more caffeine. 

How to brew blonde roast coffee?

Brewing blonde roast coffee is similar to brewing other light roasts. You can use any coffee maker, whether a drip brewer, French press, or espresso machine. You can even make a cold brew. The key is to use fresh, high-quality beans and grind them yourself before brewing.

Is blonde coffee the same as light roast coffee?

Yes, blonde coffee is considered a light roast coffee. The light roast coffee bean is well known for its cinnamon light brown color, lightweight body, and roasting temperature. Light roast coffee beans exit the drum after the sound of the first crack. 

Blonde roast coffee vs. dark roast. Is blonde roast stronger?

The blonde roast has a lighter flavor because it’s been removed from the drum earlier. It typically has more caffeine. However, dark roast coffees have a more bitter flavor and heavy body taste than a blonde roast. So if you are not into bitter coffee, light roasts are the way to go.

Blonde roast coffee vs. medium roast coffee

The difference between a blonde and a medium roast is quite simple. The former gets removed at the first crack, while it takes two cracks for medium roast coffee.

The flavor of coffee is largely determined by its roast level. Blonde Roast coffees tend to be lighter and less bitter, while medium roasts provide a more balanced taste with chocolatey undertones.

How does Starbucks blonde roast coffee taste like?

Starbucks blonde roast coffee has a light, mellow flavor. Their most popular blonde roast is the Verbena blend– a Latin American light roast bean with hints of toasted malt and baking chocolate. And the Blonde Sunrise Blend, also from Latin America, is a lightly roasted bean with a smooth taste and chocolate aromas. 

What is Starbucks Blonde Espresso?

Starbucks offers its own spin on blonde espresso with its Blonde Roast. Starbucks blonde espresso is perfect for those looking for a milder espresso with a caffeine kick. If you are new to espresso or are not a fan of strong coffee flavors, we suggest trying the Starbucks Blonde Roa

Final Thoughts

As lighter roast coffees continue to rise in popularity, the well-established blonde roast will surely be a mainstay at your local coffee shops. With its smooth, citrusy flavor, this roast may be just what you need for an easy pick-me-up. Try a cup today!

Now that you know all about Blonde roast coffee. Check out our post to learn about the difference between Blonde Espresso vs Regular Espresso.

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