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Thread: Light Vs Dark Roast

  1. #1
    STS
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    Light Vs Dark Roast

    Gene Cafe Coffee Roaster $850 - Free Beans Free Freight

    Arno Holschuh, the Vice President of Production for the Blue Bottle Coffee, presents an argument on why lighter roasted coffee is best.

    How To Buy The Best Cup of Coffee

    Hmm. Not sure if I would totally agree??

    Sean

  2. #2
    Senior Member chokkidog's Avatar
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    Good find STS, however, the article contains a bit of relativity.......... we know that some American roasters turn their beans to near charcoal,

    so, relative to this, what is meant by a super dark, dark, medium, light and super light roast?

    The writer certainly alludes to super light roasted coffee as being undrinkable (as espresso??)

    I think from a cultural perspective there would be a high level of agreement with that, here in Oz, especially >5kms from Melbourne CBD? ... ;-)

    When an argument such as this is proffered without supporting material it falls a bit flat, becoming meaningless without a context.

    One thing is certain tho'; he's right about two things...............

    over-roasted coffee and lightly roasted coffee are both unpalatable as espresso, with the former, unpalatable in any form.
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    Senior Member Journeyman's Avatar
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    The few light roasts I've tried have put me off them a bit - not sure I like my mouth puckering that much. But TampIt has been helping my education along and I can now appreciate a med roast with some of the more subtle flavours - he kinda snuck it up on me by suggesting learning to pour a med roast would help my coffee edumacation along.

    I still love my rich dark roasts, but I've come to think maybe most cafés don't know how to treat the lighter roasts and the hipsters have gone too far in trying to be hip and make brews that barely taste like coffee any more.

    whether that's a good thing or not, I'm not sure, but it's definitely not to my tastes. But I'm willing to try a light roast and see what i can make with it... (any advice on what to try is welcome )

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    TOK
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    Hi there.

    yup yup yup yup, and the blurb at the start of that says:

    "....Arno Holschuh is the Vice President of Production for .............................coffee company...."

    My interpretation: Guys......Arno has given you his opinion, and it is tempered by his experience in his market. In this country (Australia), very very few roasters turn the coffee "dark" (read black) in the way that commodity roasters do in the US....our entire coffee culture is different, and the article needs to be read with that in mind. And it may also be, that the article is in essence presenting a "position statement" for the product that his company would like to present and sell to its clients. Annunciating a point of difference, in effect, a sales pitch. Nothing wrong with that, just read with eyes open.
    The important thing is for people to enjoy whatever they like.
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    STS
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    Whilst there are probably very few people who would argue that roast depth at the far ends of the light to dark scale becomes undrinkable, could it be equally argued that there is also a fairly broad swathe of subjective opinion across the drinkable range with respect to roast depth?

    Is anyone aware of an objective measure of things such as an acceptable acidity level, similar to TDS and extraction?

    Sean

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    Just an observation, I've had coffees at several Blue Bottle cafes in the states and their coffee is definitely not the bright tart stuff you get at some of the hipster joints here in Melbourne.

    I've also bought their beans while in the US and from memory they were 'normally' roasted, i.e. what we'd typically describe as medium-dark.

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    James Freeman knows a whole lot about coffee and has a very hands on approach with his business. Watched quite a few interviews of him and he stated in a few of them that he roasts darker than a lot of specialty roasters in his area and BlueBottle will continue down that path of roast level for espresso. So an interesting article, change of heart?

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    Where as Ritual Coffee also located in San Francisco push the boundaries of lightest roasted coffee, guess it's all about knowing you clientele and what their preferred drinks are.

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    I like light roasts, but generally as a pour over, not espresso.
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    Senior Member Dragunov21's Avatar
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    I know a lot of it's been covered, but I'll throw in my second crack anyway.

    - Dark roast in Australia does not tend to be as dark as commodity dark roast in the US, from what I've experienced (or even specialty dark roast, though the speciality dark roasts I've purchased have been delicious as espresso, if bitter)
    - Light roast in Australia does not tend to be as light as light roast in the US, from what I've experienced, and in the US, "medium" is all over the place depending on roaster, ranging from medium to lighter than I've ever seen from Aust. roasters.
    - I think the concept of what coffee (as a drink) is supposed to taste like is fundamentally different in the US, possibly because a lot of the US coffee business is filter rather than espresso and filter does great with lighter beans and provides greater clarity of flavour. When you try and apply this to espresso, you don't necessarily get great results.
    - I've had light-roasted espresso here (US) that literally tasted like a shot of hot citrus juice. That is not coffee by the accepted Australian definition as far as I know (maybe I've just gotten lucky with my choices around Melbourne). The place gets rave reviews here.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member greenman's Avatar
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    I have been doing a lot of filter roasting lately just to the end of rolling first crack, I generally run a few shots through the espresso machine to gauge how they taste as espresso/long blacks, I have had some unpleasant experiences as espresso but as a long black the acidity and fruitiness shine through. My latest roast a Guatamala Santa Clara produced a lovely viscous espresso with upfront citrus acidity but the chocolate and fruit notes shone through with a lingering aftertaste. Great as a long black and also produced a great brew through the V60. Experimentation is the greatest joy of coffee roasting!!
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  12. #12
    STS
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    I wonder to what degree we acclimatise our palate to prefer a certain roast depth, much the same as we would with things such as beer, wine or certain foods?

    I 'grew' into high quality espresso through filter/pour over. As such my 'acclimatised' palate has a definite preference for the lighter/brighter even in espresso.

    I don't like the lighter roasts because I'm trying to be a 'third wave hipster' or because I am telling myself I should like something unpalatable; for me, it just tastes good.

    Sean

  13. #13
    TOK
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    Yes, you do become accustomed to what you are drinking so that it becomes your preference. I wouldn't know about beer, but I do (good) red wine, single malt whiskey....and of course (any) good food.

    And that is why even the people that drink (what we think is) nasty robusta based italian blends....think that is good and that our high grown arabicas are weasel wee....they have become accustomed to it over time.

    But there is still a difference between "high" and "low" quality coffees for various reasons, and you only need to look at the judging sheets that some of us use when working, to see what a good palate is looking for in good coffee (by our definition!!!).

    Don't need no fancypants BS TDS meters to tell us what is right and what is not...
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    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman View Post
    The few light roasts I've tried have put me off them a bit - not sure I like my mouth puckering that much. But TampIt has been helping my education along and I can now appreciate a med roast with some of the more subtle flavours - he kinda snuck it up on me by suggesting learning to pour a med roast would help my coffee edumacation along.

    I still love my rich dark roasts, but I've come to think maybe most cafés don't know how to treat the lighter roasts and the hipsters have gone too far in trying to be hip and make brews that barely taste like coffee any more.

    whether that's a good thing or not, I'm not sure, but it's definitely not to my tastes. But I'm willing to try a light roast and see what i can make with it... (any advice on what to try is welcome )
    Hi JM et al

    A good thread from all. Very good points raised throughout.

    As stated a few times by various CSr's, there is a wide range of drinkable between light and dark. Too dark: burnt and NFG. Too light: too little (and incorrect) flavour for most CS'rs.

    The various methods of making a cuppa also have a huge effect on the end result, not forgetting the newer espresso techniques of varying preinfusion time and quantity, temp & pressure profiling etc that are redefining Gaggia's 1950's espresso machine efforts. Grape? Wheatgrass? Quininine? Lemon? All available at the flick of a switch or two using the same beans with some new machines. Knowing what you are trying to achieve is almost as important as setting your gear up to achieve it. From my end, if I want to have a coffee, I prefer it to taste like... (surprise)... coffee.

    Which brings me to your "most cafés don't know how to treat the lighter roasts and the hipsters have gone too far in trying to be hip" comment. Amen to that.

    Let me know (JM to PM me) when you are ready to take the plunge and I will work out some light roast bean that is interesting, challenging, confronting... and also worthwhile for you.

    Have fun


    TampIt
    BTW, what on earth is "edumacation"?

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    Senior Member Vinitasse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TampIt View Post
    BTW, what on earth is "edumacation"?


    The word is courtesy of Homer Simpson... at his erudite best
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  16. #16
    STS
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    Tim Wendelboe and James Hoffmann give their perspective on roast depth.

    http://www.jimseven.com/2011/05/20/e...tim-wendelboe/

    This is a great podcast that also spends a fair bit of time talking about the effect of processing (and more specifically drying) on bean quality.

    The discussion about roast depth happens at about 31 min and 41.50 min in to podcast.

    Sean
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    I've been fortunate enough to have visited the Blue Bottle stores in NY and San Francisco and both were good experiences.

    However, stating that, I certainly would say that the coffees I had were on the slightly more 'roasty' side of Australian speciality. Argument obviously just comes down to taste, some people prefer darker as they drink with milk vs lighter who drink black.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Yelta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erikholmwood View Post
    some people prefer darker as they drink with milk vs lighter who drink black.
    Then there are those among us that prefer darker roasts and drink our coffee black.
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  19. #19
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    Yelta that is very true, more of a reflection of my experiences I guess

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    I had a coffee today that was quite undrinkable. (Had it anyway ). But thought "Gee that brings back memories of coffee that I used to love." "SO MUCH flavour!" I would have thought.
    In fact it was burnt/ roasted to cinders , but well made.

    I have, in a big way, come around to light roasts . There's a limit, of course... "Do you prefer food that's too sweet or too salty?" (Maggie in Extras).

    To me there really is more interestingness(!) in light roasts. But this is something I've come around to, owing to the fact that my local in Mt. D. makes consistently beautiful light roast espresso.

    In short, I would respond to Sean's post with: "My experience has been that yes, my tastes have re-acclimatised - significantly". But I've always got kick out of coffee. Nothing's changed there.
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