We compared the effects of medium light roast (MLR) and medium roast (MR) paper-filtered coffee on antioxidant capacity and lipid peroxidation in healthy volunteers. In a randomized crossover study, 20 volunteers consumed 482 ± 61 ml/day of MLR or MR for four weeks. Plasma total antioxidant status (TAS), oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC), oxidized LDL and 8-epi-prostaglandin F2α, erythrocyte superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), and catalase (CAT) activity were measured at baseline and after the interventions. MLR had higher chlorogenic acids-(CGA; 334 mg/150 mL) and less caffeine (231 mg/150 ml) than MR had (210 and 244 mg/150 ml, respectively). MLR also had fewer Maillard reaction products (MRP) than MR had. Compared with baseline, subjects had an increase of 21 and 26 % in TAS, 13 and 13 % in CAT, 52 and 75 % in SOD, and 62 and 49 % in GPx after MLR and MR consumption (P < 0.001), respectively. ORAC increased after MLR (P = 0.004). No significant alteration in lipid peroxidation biomarkers was observed. Both coffees had antioxidant effects. Although MLR contained more CGA, there were similar antioxidant effects between the treatments. MRP may have contributed as an antioxidant. These effects may be important in protecting biological systems and reducing the risk of diseases related to oxidative stress.