Posted Wed Mar 26, 2014, 10:09pm Subject: Lighter than roasted
I wish someone would educate me about the virtues of lighter roasts. I've had George Howell's offerings and just ordered a Kenyan from Kuma (that I'm sure is excellent coffee), but they leave me flat. The acidity predominates and there is so little oil extraction that the flavor dissipates quickly - a good shot of RedBird, on the other hand, lingers for much longer than the time it takes to drink. I'd like to expand my horizons, and hate to think I've developed a very narrow taste profile, so maybe some coffee connoisseurs out there will have some insights to share on how I can learn to appreciate the ultra-light craze. On the other side of the spectrum, I've become ultra sensitive to over-roasted coffee, and these two conundrums are leaving me fairly little to choose from these days.
My answer to the roasting 'problem': (starting many years ago with all the dark burned offerings, and now apparently we also have under-roasted 'cupping roasts' offered as what coffee is 'supposed to taste like' ....) I roast my own. This has been my most rewarding coffee experience and education.
I have had good luck with lighter roasting by following Boot's guide:
Posted Thu Mar 27, 2014, 10:25pm Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
Excellent! I'm so glad to read some articles that corroborate my impression that under-roasting can inhibit proper extraction. I was especially interested to read the Mojo author's theory that under-roasted beans fail to degas. I just received my Kenyan bag the other day, and was perplexed as to why I couldn't squeeze the bag to smell the beans. The bag was flat, there was no gas to squeeze out. Had I not read this article, I would have never given it another thought.
I also perused the Boot Coffee site, entertaining the notion of one of those expensive courses on roasting or cupping - eventually returning to the PDF you provided.
I very much appreciate this feedback, and the resources. I feel relieved that I should not be intimidated by the roaster's assertions that my sense of taste is just too crude to appreciate the light roast du-jour.
I'd love to begin roasting my own beans, but I don't want to start with a popcorn popper. I'll have to check out the home roaster's forum, as I actually have 4 coffee plants in my garden now. They've yet to produce cherry, but I'm coaxing them along and had a few flowers this year.
Posted Fri Mar 28, 2014, 3:35pm Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
If you are careful with your selections, you should be able to buy beans that are not under-roasted or burned. Look to the guides of favorite roasters here and on HB. Be specific on your taste preferences. I can't offer much help there; I mostly live in my own coffee roasting world. I have read that Red Bird is an easy pulling 'comfort' type blend, so maybe something a little more exciting to try, but not under-developed. Eventually, yes, get into roasting, but not with the popper....
z0mbie Senior Member Joined: 26 Sep 2013 Posts: 392 Location: Online Expertise: I live coffee
Posted Sat Mar 29, 2014, 12:20am Subject: how light it too light and how dark is too dark?
I think this is also one of those very subjective topics.. My wife, and iI'm sure most people enjoy (or are used to) the traditional dark roasts over today's ultra-fruity light roasts. She hates the coffee made by specialty coffee because they are all too light. I on the other hand found a renewed interest in coffee after being introduced to this "third wave" of coffee fanaticism.
So when I complain how this or that coffee is too "burnt" it's almost certain there are a very large number of people out there that call it perfect good coffee. It's really up to you to decide what you consider is under or over roasted. Coffee is probably the most acquired of acquired tastes.. I don't know of a single person who drank coffee for the first time in their life and liked it. (Well unless you're this little gal)
SproBro Senior Member Joined: 11 Feb 2014 Posts: 95 Location: Topeka, KS Expertise: I love coffee
Espresso: CC1 v1.5 Grinder: Compak K10PB, Vario Drip: Aeropress
Posted Sat Mar 29, 2014, 7:24pm Subject: Re: how light it too light and how dark is too dark?
I think most of us agree commercial coffee does not taste good. Why? It lacks things humans are wired to like about food (significantly more objective than very subjective) sugar, salt,ect, and includes many things we're wired not to like (metal, dirt, ect). We may vary in the intensity we experience different flavors, especially with varied flavor experiences through our lives (and thus reference points). I'd put money on the fact that people who were introduced to, and have continued to drink underroasted 3rd wave style coffees have the same "noise cancelling" effect on sours as old schoolers are to commercial and overroasted beans and their bitters. Personally I like a full city roast or thereabouts the best, and natural or pulped naturals at that (never had a washed that wowed me like naturals have).
I feel like an "acquired taste" is when you acquire the ability to discern characteristics between different modes of the same thing through experience; not the dulling of a sense to be able to handle something with less fuss than another person. Its a bit like becoming partially deaf and being able to handle sitting in the front row of a concert comfortably; I wouldn't consider that "acquired hearing". :D
Posted Mon Mar 31, 2014, 10:41am Subject: Re: Lighter than roasted
My red flag marker of 'under-roasted' is a dry astringent finish. Not bitter or sour, a drying mouthfeel astringency that dominates the finish. Maybe a hint of this character is just ok. Under-ripe coffee beans tend to have more of this astringency in the green beans, so it will show up more in commodity grade machine harvest lots than in specialty grade hand picked (only ripe) lots. This may help explain why commercial coffees tend towards more over-roasted.
As Tom Owens described in the article referenced above; Green coffee is completely unpalatable. (try it) The coffee roaster's 'value added' to the product is to make it 'palatable', and hopefully much more; aromatic, sweet, delightful and delicious.
Why not? At the risk of coming too late into this thread, let me continue. If you read enough, at present it seems that appreciation of 'fluid bed roasters' (the high falutin term for air poppers) is staying strong which, by comparison, enthusiasm for CO/SC roasters is being slowly abandoned. Of course dedicated drum roasters are much more controllable than poppers; they can roast larger batches with better ability to replicate previous roasts. But air poppers are a great way to learn and to be exposed to the great tastes of very fresh (once degassed) roasts. I started roasting about two years ago with an air popper and I still use it. After paying careful attention to the experience that is posted all over the net, the learning curve was nothing - it was easy with only one wasted 1/4 lb. batch somewhere along the line. The outlay is minimal. It will give you confidence in investing in a more sophisticated roaster or it will satisfy your desire to brew fresh roast and console you if you do not want to spend $$$ on getting a bigger unit shipped to the island. Buckley
The easiest way for me to understand/explain it is in terms of wine. If you like wine, this should make sense; if not, stop reading now . . .
Bear with me.
The "heavier" the influence of the winemaker (let's limit this to Chardonnay and aging in brand new oak barrels), the less influence the place of origin has upon the flavors of the bottled wine. In other words, the more time the wine spends in new oak simply means you taste more oak and less Chardonnay -- regardless of its origin (be it, say, the Napa Valley of California, the Margaret River region of Australia, or the Burgundy region of France).
The darker the roast, the more influence the roast itself has upon the taste of the coffee, and the less influence the origin of the beans have. An "über-dark" roast like the ubiquitous *$, and it can be difficult to tell a Columbian origin coffee from a Kenyan or Indonesian. A lighter roast shows more of the beans' origin(s), but less of a "roast" flavor.
Q: What's best, light or dark? A: Yes. (It's the one you like the most.)
…I'd love to begin roasting my own beans, but I don't want to start with a popcorn popper. I'll have to check out the home roaster's forum, as I actually have 4 coffee plants in my garden now. They've yet to produce cherry, but I'm coaxing them along and had a few flowers this year.
It's not necessary to start with and air popper, but let me point out some plusses of the air popper method. Many of us started that way and learned a lot about roasting by doing so.
Because of the limited batch size, it means both smaller experiments, and smaller failures as well. It's easier to have success and consistency with a full-batch in a small capacity roaster (like an air popper) than trying to roast a ¼ pound in a one pound capacity roaster.
If you were able to roast batches at City, Full City, Full City Plus, Vienna, and French and compare both the resting time and taste, it would probably tell you what level of roast you prefer.
You are saying you don't like the under roasted beans, but what level is under roasted? For me that's City or City Plus. I really like espresso roasted at Full City Plus (which people who like Vienna, French or Spanish would consider under roasted). I don't like burnt flavor, and love the depth of a Full City Plus roast after about 5-10 days.
Hope you find either a source of beans you like, or learn to roast them for yourself. That's why I started roasting.
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