Posted Tue Nov 9, 2004, 11:53am Subject: "French Roast"
I'm just about to get starting roasting (Caffe Rosto is in the mail to me) and I need to get myself some green beans. I've perused SweetMarias materials a bit and plan to start out by ordering from them, however I need to come up with a list of beans to get me started. I figured I'd get one of their sample packs and also choose some on my own.
Now to get to the topic of my post. I like light to std. French roast coffees (though not exclusively), but have no clue as to what type of beans are "typically" used, since (obviously) the naming just tells you the roast type. From some of what I've read it seems that by the time you reach a french roast, the flavor just from the "char" is eclipsing that contributed by the origin of the bean. If true, then it would seem to not matter what type of bean is used (at least up to a point).
Anybody want to weigh in and help me sort out this mess? Does the type of bean matter, and if so any "favorite" beans for french roasts??
Posted Tue Nov 9, 2004, 12:37pm Subject: Re: "French Roast"
If you're going to order from Sweet Maria's, then read Tom's recommendations about recommended roast levels. If you decide to order from someone else later, then read their recommendations. Good coffee vendors provide that information to their customers. Coffee crops are so variable, even when from the same region, that it's difficult to generalize.
In my stash of beans, the Nicaraguan Matagalpa and Sumatran Gayo Mountain stand up best to a dark roast. YMMV.
Posted Tue Nov 9, 2004, 12:49pm Subject: Re: "French Roast"
[If you're going to order from Sweet Maria's, then read Tom's recommendations about recommended roast levels.]
I'll have to look more carefully at the beans section. In the general reading I did on the site it definitely seems that he has a bias against dark roasts, so I thought I'd ask here for some info. I just wasn't clear on whether the bean origin even mattered much for the darker roasts.
Posted Tue Nov 9, 2004, 1:17pm Subject: Re: "French Roast"
[Many of us are "biased" against very dark roasts becuse we're coffeegeeks and we like to taste the differences of the varietals.]
Certainly. I'm not looking to burn all of my beans, I just like some variety. I plan to experiment with most of the beans at various of the lower levels of roast, but do want to some beans that will produce a decent french roast.
[Of course this whole conversation should be predicated on what you intend to do with the beans. Will you make drip or French Press or possibly even espresso?]
I've got a Krups Moka Brew at home and an old Krups 4-cup drip at the office. Those are all I've got planned for the present.
[By the way, welcome to CoffeeGeek-dot-com!!]
Thanks. I did a lot of reading here when before I bought my Moka Brew. Since then I've got myself a Zass grinder and the roaster that's on the way. It's a very informative site and a good community.
I have noticed that the Kenya, Brasilian, and Ethiopian tends to get darker, and Celebes (Sulawesi) also gets pretty dark. The decaf beans get real dark real quick and they seem to develop an oily sheen earlier too. YMMV of course...
I tend to roast Costa Rican, Tanzania and Guatemalen beans well into second crack for drip coffee. It leave it short of a French roast but it does get a "toasty" flavor. Whenever I am going for a darker roast I will "stretch" the roast so that after the first crack the roast moves slowly to the second crack and that seems to mellow the roast considerably. In general I shott for about 5 minutes between first and second crack if I am trying for a dark roast.
Posted Tue Nov 9, 2004, 3:03pm Subject: Re: "French Roast"
SM's has a french roast blend that is designed to hold up well to a dark roast. http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.other.blends.html#sm.frenchroast Usually I prefer a single origin for drip, but once you roast to a french roast you will lose the origin characteristics of the bean which will be replaced by roast characteristics. Therefore, you may be better off using a blend when roasting to a french roast.
Posted Tue Nov 9, 2004, 5:16pm Subject: Re: "French Roast"
I think you will find that Tom's (Sweet Maria's) roast recommendations are right on track. I have gone darker and I did not like the results at all. I really like my coffee now at City/Full City. You claim that you want variety well my friend now you have it. I have been roasting for about 2 weeks and I love the difference from bean to bean. I have had some truly great coffee! Do not equate a darker roast with a better roast all the time. Tom knows his stuff and he is dead accurate. Also though it comes down to your tastes! Experiment and keep us updated.
I'm not planning to burn all my beans to a crisp, just one or two varieties :)
I had not really taken a close look at the beans list at SMs and do now see that there is good guidance as to the range of roasts for the beans. They even mention french roast for a few of them. Guess I should have done my homework a bit better. I was trying to find an article discussing general guidelines for what holds up well to darker roasts, but didn't find such a discussion.
I don't think I'll go with any of SMs blends yet, I want to experiment with the individual varietals to get a feel (taste) for them separately first. The experimentation is half the fun after all!
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