Posted Mon Jul 23, 2012, 1:09pm Subject: French roast for every coffee origin?
Recently I was in a coffee shop on the Oregon coast - the roaster said he sourced alot of single origin coffees and roasted them to bring out the flavors and aromas particular to these coffees - he then said that he roasted every coffee to a French Roast level which confused me as it seems that a roast that dark would eliminate any of the specific natural flavors and aromas of the coffees he so carefully sourced, leaving only the french roast taste.
My question is whether coffee(for example an Ethiopian)when roasted to such a dark level can actually retain any of the original flavors and aromas which the growers intended for that coffee? It doesn't make sense to me that one would source good coffees and then roast each one to the french roast level; seems that it would destroy any taste/aroma qualities in the coffees by doing this and so all of his coffees would taste the same?
Posted Mon Jul 23, 2012, 1:58pm Subject: Re: French roast for every coffee origin?
In my experience, very very few unique flavors are left intact with something that dark. So no, I wouldn't wager that sourcing great coffees to roast French is a good use of your money. Check the price per pound, however, and you may have a better idea of how good the coffee is. If it's $12-15, it may not be "very good" coffee at all, much over that and yeah, that fellow may be ruining (in my opinion) some pretty good beans.
Posted Tue Jul 24, 2012, 5:26am Subject: Re: French roast for every coffee origin?
One thing to keep in mind - one person's "french" is another's FC+ (or ++, even though there's really no such thing).
In my mind, it's all temp and time, and the temp gradient is fully a part of this definition.
I've had some rapid roasts (high heat low bean load) that proceed to a true french roast (really crackling 2nd crack, oil on the surface of the bean within the first hour post roasting) within 20 seconds of the onset of second crack.
Conversely, I've had "gentle" momentum roasts with stretched first crack and a more gentle progression, where bean temps progressing through first crack to finish 1C around 425°F, then up to 40 seconds separation between 1C and 2C onset, as the roast gains to ~440°F. At onset of 2C, it builds slowly, and doesn't start rolling 2C in earnest until temps approaching ~455°F and 2C+50seconds.
Rapid roasts pushed quickly (first method) are the appearance of 14 at only 2C+20seconds, finish around 460°F,
Gentler roasts (second profile) look more like pictures of 12-13 at 2C+50 seconds, finish temp more around 455°F at a rolling 2nd crack.
Both ending somewhere around 12-13minutes total, both have onset of 1C around 8-9 minutes.
If a roaster defines "french" as 2C onset + 30 seconds or more, both are technically "French", but they are completely different roasts. An ethiopia sid or yirg roasted with the second process will be more full bodied and have some great chocolate notes and still a significant amount of fruits and winey character. Roasted to the first process will be basically Starbucks, with some obliteration of the terroir of Ethiopia Sid or Yirg is known for.
However, for some reason, the pac NW area is completely enamored with near-combustion, draw-the-logo-of-your-roaster-with-one-of-the-beans, on-the-edge roasting. Heck, Peet's and Starbucks have re-shaped the industry with this anti-east-coast roasting. It's ONE way, but not the ONLY way to roast coffee.
(I do find it interesting that Starbucks is now starting to market green coffee extract... LOL! Talk about light roasting - how about not roasted?)
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