- From: "forlino" <forlino@xxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: 12 Sep 2006 22:07:04 -0700
I recently found this little write-up on the "I LOVE COFFEE" site.
It's starting to make me think that perhaps I'll love light or medium
roast beans instead of dark-roast, which, so far, I've hated:
"Dark Roast vs Light Roast"
by Denver Wilkinson
Consider the last time you bought a bag of coffee. Perhaps it's wrong
of me to assume , but would I be correct in guessing the coffee you
purchased was a "dark roast"?
By watching coffee commercials and reading the ads, without hesitation,
one would easily believe the dark roast is a superior coffee. When it
comes to the roast of your coffee, while a great deal of it simply has
to do with personal taste, don't believe mass marketing that says the
dark roast is the ultimate expression of quality coffee. It's not.
There are reasons the dark roast has become so popular. For one thing,
the coffee industry is extremely large, the second largest industry
next to oil. Think of the massive volume of coffee that hits the
consuming market each year. Then consider this: only 10 percent of that
coffee qualifies as excellent in quality. The remaining 90 percent is
considered somewhere between average to poor. Meaning there's nothing
very special about it, no inherent flavors that set it apart from any
other coffee. And if there are intriguing flavors, most likely they
aren't desirable. For instance, a typical low-grown Robusta coffee
can taste medicinal, even rubbery.
So, if so much of the coffee grown is of mediocre quality, why is it
that people so happily consume so much each and every day? The answer:
The Ubiquitous Dark Roast. (Well, and a lot of cream and sugar too.
I'll cover that some other time.)
Dark roast simply means that the coffee bean has been roasted to a
higher temperature and typically for a longer period of time. This
causes all of the flavor molecules stored within the coffee
beans-both the good and bad flavors-to be burnt away. By roasting
so dark, the end consumer (you) can't tell whether it's a good bean
or a bad bean because all the natural flavors have been turned to
Think of it this way: a fine filet mignon and a strip of utility beef;
if they've both been very overcooked, even a culinary expert would
never be able to tell the difference between the two. Same with coffee.
So if you're a large coffee company, what do you do? You roast dark,
then market the heck out of it and try to convince the mass market that
it's a wonderfully rich and complex coffee.
You can't really blame them now can you? What else are they supposed
to do, tell you that because they're so big they are unable to
guarantee quality, they do you a favor and roast dark so you can't
taste how bad it is?
Not to be misunderstood, I'm not saying a dark roasted coffee is
always a poor coffee. There are some wonderful dark roasted
single-origin coffees and blends out there. Just don't assume the
dark roast is as "rich and flavorful" as many roasters say it is.
Most of the time there is a reason it's roasted so dark.
Instead of going with a dark roast next time you're picking up your
bag of coffee, consider trying a freshly-roasted bag of something
slightly lighter, perhaps a city roast or even a full city roast
(almost a dark roast) if you're not feeling terribly adventurous.
When shopping, keep in mind that the lighter the roast, the more
confidence the roaster is showing in the quality of the raw bean.
There's a whole world of coffee out there (quite literally) and so
many natural flavors to experience, don't settle for the mediocre
stuff. The darker the roast, the less likely you'll experience the
subtle apricot flavors in a great Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, or the
blueberry notes in a wonderful Harrar, or the earthy, ripened notes of
a great Sumatran Mandheling."
- Re: light/medium/dark
- From: Barry Jarrett
- Re: light/medium/dark
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