Roasting coffee is, put kindly, a fickle affair. On a good day it feels like chasing a dropped piece of paper in the wind. On a bad day it feels both impossible and unknowable.
In recent years roast degree has become imbued with a kind of morality. A tenet of modern coffee is transparency, and we know that any step in the seed to cup process can cloud it or leave it clarified. Roasting, of course, is perhaps the most obvious step for scrutiny. Roasting a coffee to a deeper degree obscures its origins, any taste of place smothered under generic, carbon-like roast notes. This was considered bad, because this practice works well should your taste of place not taste very good. Low quality coffee would obviously be roasted darker to hide its shame. 1 Starbucks were long held up as the evil doers in the world of dark roasting. The reasons proffered within the community were many and varied: “They do it because they buy bad coffee.” or “They do it so their coffee tastes the same all over the world.” or “They do it so it is easier to extract/it’s more tolerant.”. Now is to the time to examine or debunk these claims, perhaps another time… Continue reading “Lightness and Darkness in Roasting”
- Let’s avoid the substantial contrary evidence of instant coffee and rapid roasting, where the coffee is roasted very quickly and dropped quite early. This has the dual benefit of leaving more soluble material and not causing problems – like fires, that rapid roasting to second crack will inevitably cause. ↩︎