Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Roast levels

Dear Reader- I have not relapsed with coffee although I almost did yesterday but was saved by an intervention of a friend. This is just a months old coffee post languishing in the drafts pile...

One morning I had a spectacular fail as a home barista- my one and only regular customer dumped his lovingly hand crafted cup of high end Ethiopean Yirgacheffe straight down the drain.  My husband hates - hates "blond" roasts as an abomination perpetuated by millennial roasters and I had conveniently forgotten all about it. I reckon you could not serve a blond roast to a civil war union soldier or an old time cowboy neither without them spitting out such weak brown stuffs.

The current trend among specialty roasters is a lighter roast as dark roasting ruins the delicate aromatics of the original bean.  When you add milk to a light roast- it just kills the flavor and the cup becomes dish rag water.  I even contemplated re-roasting or giving the beans away. In the same way you would not defile a high end tea with cow juice, these blond roasts only show their best unadorned. It was the third time I drank this Ethiopian black that I totally understood the beauty of a blond roast. Since the citrus aromatics with the lingering sweetness is not what I traditionally consider "coffee",  my prior expectations had ruined the experience. If someone had served me this brew as "tea" instead of coffee,  I would have simply appreciated the cup without hangups.

A local roaster "paid" my husband in suitably dark beans for a quickie metal job. When I tasted the crowd pleasing rich full bodied nutty taste of this dark roasted Sumatra, I quickly realized fruity high noted complexity in the morning is not an appropriate start for a working man like my husband.  Even I who only moves brain cells and a few fingers for a living prefer a dark cup in the morning- coffee or tea.   I take my light roasted Ethiopians as an early afternoon treat and have given up convincing my man that floral and fruity aromatics belong in coffee.


  1. The tea shop in our Capitol city served me brewed coffee leaves as "tea."

  2. > an abomination perpetuated by millennial roasters

    Once upon a time this was called a "Cinnamon roast" and no it is not (except for the name) an innovation.

    When *$, Peet's, and their ilk took over the world there was a Great Blackening of specialty coffee. I think it was originally an idiosyncrasy of the first group of West Coast coffee vendors to use Southern Europe-style roasts for absolutely everything, using no judgement whatsoever. But when *$ became the McDonalds of coffee, they had no other option: I don't think there *is* enough annual production of really good coffee for a multinational superchain to sell a reliably reproducible brew without burning the shit out of it to make it consistent.

    "Normal" specialty coffee (to the extent that there was such a thing) in the pre-Starbucks era was roasted to a so-called "city roast," intermediate between cinnamon and the dark roasts that *$ has succeeded in making "standard."