Light Roasted Coffee has more Caffeine?Monday, February 16, 2009
Hmmm...According to my friend Duane, this is because the longer you roast the coffee, the more caffeine you burn off.
This requires further investigation.
Here is my Google Search on the topic.
And here is a technical blurb from Roast Magazine:
Beyond selection of the green beans, the roaster is commonly thought to control one more variable in the final caffeine content of the beans: the roast level. Popular lore has always been that the darker the roast level, the lower the caffeine content. This is not really the case, as caffeine changes very little during the roasting process. Caffeine has a very stable crystalline structure with a boiling point above 600 degrees Fahrenheit, far above roasting temperatures, which rarely exceed 470 degrees Fahrenheit. This means there is very little change to the caffeine during the roasting process. The minimal amount of caffeine lost during roasting is attributable to sublimation, which is the transition of a substance directly from its solid state to its gaseous state, as commonly occurs with dry ice. Caffeine undergoes this transition at around 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Since coffee is roasted at temperatures above 350 degrees, a minimal amount of the caffeine is lost this way during the roasting process.
Although minimal caffeine is driven off or destroyed in the roasting process, the bean undergoes major changes during roasting. This can confuse the situation because the caffeine content per weight and per volume changes—not because the caffeine changes, but because the size and the weight of the bean changes. Ironically, because the bean loses weight (mostly water) during roasting, the caffeine content by weight increases, but because the bean increases in size during the roasting, the caffeine content by volume decreases.
It is fortunate that there are no requirements to label caffeine content on packages of roasted beans. So many variables contribute to the caffeine content of a single origin at a defined roast level that it is nearly impossible to predict the content without decaffeinating the bean and measuring the amount extracted. Now take differing cultivars from multiple farms and multiple countries, throw in a little robusta for an espresso blend, and you might need to put on another pot of coffee and call an organic chemist.
When I roast beans, if I inhale the smoke that's coming off them, it gives me a caffeine buzz. That would indicate to me that at least a little bit of caffeine is being burned off the longer the beans cook. I'm sorry I don't have any hard data for you, though.