I've noticed that most (non-specialty) places that sell coffee tend to have very dark roasts. This includes Starbucks, any Fast Food restaurant, most nicer restaurants, and hotel coffee.

I can't tolerate anything darker than Starbucks' "Blonde Roast". All their others I'd consider to be dark roast. When I buy coffee in the store and make it myself, it's never anywhere near as dark as what you get in shops. I usually get fresh beans from The Fresh Market or Caribou brand.

Is there any reason shops tend to make their coffee so dark? Or is my taste just skewed from most people's?

  • 1
    Most in what location? Worldwide? USA? The reasons may be local. May 14, 2015 at 2:07
  • 1
    We have no way to answer whether your taste is skewed from other people's
    – EdChum
    May 14, 2015 at 9:00

2 Answers 2


Roasting coffee dark may be used because it is easier to create a consistently flavored bean, with less monitoring and concern for flavor profiles. In the case of Starbucks they are shipping so much of their coffee to so many locations and creating so much coffee at once that it may be easier to create consistency. The darker you roast the less the flavor of the original bean matters, so it may also be used as a method to roast cheaper or lower quality beans.

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    Additionally darker roasted coffee "keeps" longer. The origin flavors of a lighter roast coffee fades quickly after roasting, the flavors from a darker roast tend to hang on a bit longer. So places mass roasting and shipping coffee get a bit more travel out of a darker roast. May 15, 2015 at 17:03

In addition to what have been said:

  • easier to maintain consistency as quality is lower.
  • longer preservation.

It could be added:

  • it gives more intensive taste (possibly local market demand and standards).
  • allows greater dilution.
  • possibly smaller dose in the shot extraction.
  • 1
    Allows greater dilution is the real answer. Coffee shops that use these dark roasts tend to sell mainly milk-based drinks sweetened with syrups in large sizes. When I use medium or light roasts at home, I use about 6 US ounces of milk to 4 oz of espresso to make a latte. Meanwhile, a Starbucks Tall is 12 ounces and uses a single shot, meaning 10 ounces of milk to 2 oz espresso. Grandes (16 oz) use a double shot, so 12 oz milk and 4 oz espresso. You wouldn't taste the coffee at all if they used lighter roasts. (Starbucks roasts are typically extremely dark.)
    – R Mac
    Apr 2, 2021 at 20:36

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