What Does Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?

There are various types of coffee roasts, and each offers unique flavor profiles. For starters, what does dark roast coffee taste like? In this guide, you're going to understand the changing taste of dark roast coffee and what this means for dark roasted Kona beans.

What Does Dark Roast Coffee Taste Like?

Dark roast coffee generally has a rich and bold taste. Depending on how you grind and brew, it may also have a bitter, sour, or burnt flavor profile. Some varieties of dark roasted beans can provide a sweet and chocolatey taste, much like Kona coffee.

Cup of dark roast coffee

It's a common notion that dark roast coffee tends to have deep flavors, which some people may perceive either as sour or bitter. While taste can be subjective, quality dark roasted coffee should be full of body and a rich aroma. However, the overall flavor may change depending on certain factors.

Rich and Bold

Due to the oils from the beans, dark roast coffee often tastes bold and rich with a pungent scent. This is also why using dark roasted beans can prevent making a cup of coffee less watery.

However, roasting beans under extremely high temperatures in a short amount of time can burn the beans and kill the flavor. This is why if Kona beans get roasted hotter than 450 degrees Fahrenheit, this may make the coffee taste more like charcoal.

Slightly Bitter

Dark roast coffee will usually have a somewhat bitter taste. The bitterness can be within your control, as your brewing method or the freshness of beans can prevent the harsh, biting taste.

  • Keep in mind that dark roasted and French coffee beans are roasted the longest. The long roast time brings out the bean's oils, producing a strong, bitter taste.
  • If you want to make weak coffee, changing the grind size may result in under-extraction. In some cases, this may cause dark roasted coffee to taste sharp and bitter.
  • Over-roasting comes from hotter temperatures. This process breaks down more acids that give a bitter taste to dark roasted coffee.
  • It can be good if the bitterness tastes like roasted nuts, charred fruits, or chocolate. For example, expert roasters at the Bay View Farm Estate follow a tedious roasting to bring out the pear fruit aftertaste of dark roast 100% Lava Lei Kona coffee.

Woman holding her cup of coffeeIf you end up with a disappointing cup of bitter coffee, there are several ways to make dark roasted coffee taste better. This may include adjusting the brewing time or adding flavor-enhancement elements.

Sour or Mildly Acidic

Some dark roast coffees may taste a bit sour because of mild acidity. Due to the longer roasting time, dark roasted beans contain the least caffeine, decreasing the sharp acidic-like aftertaste.

Moreover, they contain fewer compounds that prompt stomach cells to produce acids. Caffeine, catechols, and a chemical substance called N-Alkanoyl-5-hydroxytryptamides can stimulate stomach acid secretion.

Sometimes, even if you're using quality and fresh dark roasted Arabica beans, under-extraction can make the coffee taste sour.

Sweet and Chocolatey

The process of making Kona coffee, especially dark roasted ones, can affect if the coffee has a sweet, chocolatey, or caramel-like taste. When planted, cultivated, and roasted properly, some darker roasts can have nutty flavors that taste like decadent dark chocolate.Thermos pouring out coffee to a cup

Coffee varieties planted at higher altitudes have a slow maturity period. Additionally, the cooler temperatures help the plants focus more energy on bean production. The longer maturation process gives the beans more complex sugar, bringing a natural sweetness to dark roasted coffees.

Related Questions

What Is the Best Way to Prepare Dark Roast Kona Coffee?

The best way to prepare dark roast Kona coffee is to use a slow brewing method to extract flavors the most. This includes pour over, cold brew, and French press. It also helps to learn how to froth coffee creamer so you can prepare recipes like latte and breve.

What Are the Differences Between Dark and Light Roast Coffee?

Light roast has a shorter roasting time than dark roast coffee. In effect, lightly roasted coffee retains more of the original flavors and caffeine content. This is also why light roast coffee has a light brown color as opposed to dark roast's dark brown to black hues.

What Are the Differences Between Dark and Medium Roast Coffee?

The roasting time is the main difference between dark and medium roast coffee. Since it takes a few minutes longer for the dark roast to achieve the second crack, it tends to have a bolder taste than the medium roast. Additionally, the medium roast can preserve more flavor nuances without tasting a bit ashy.


Dark roast coffee typically offers a full body with a rich and bold taste. Depending on the bean variety and your brewing method, it may also taste bitter, sour, burnt, or even chocolatey. With Lava Lei 100% pure Kona coffee, you can experience authentic dark roast beans.