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Sep 17, 2008 10:38 AM

Goodbye to coffee

About six months ago I began to be aware of a change in the idea of what constitutes a good cup of coffee. I was probably hopelessly behind everyone else in realizing this, but I hadn't been keeping up with developments in coffee trends because I was busy drinking coffee that I really enjoyed.

When the coffee I was formerly enjoying (La Colombe Corsica) began to seem less than delicious to me, I started trying to find another source. First I spent almost $60 on a pound of Las Esmeralda Especial (apologies if I have misspelled one of the words), anticipating something glorious. When I tasted it I couldn't believe there were people who considered this a great, let alone good, cup of coffee. I wrote to the roaster to express my disappointment, and was told that their preference is for lighter, more acidic coffees. To me, that sounds like tea. I did find a miraculous Sumatra Marimau Tiger, probably the most delicious coffee I've ever drunk, but the roaster ran out of their supply and has not replenished it since.

Over the past 5 months on coffee roasters' sites I've fallen for descriptions of rich, strong coffee that will result from the "espresso roast" beans they sell, only to find, time after time, that there is a harshness and a tanginess that does not fit with my idea of what good coffee should taste like. It is always apparent just from looking at the bean that the coffee was only a medium roast, not dark. This is what espresso roast has become.

Today I found out for sure that it is all over for me and coffee. On the site, it is stated plainly, in the July 2008 newsletter, that the trend is toward the lighter roasts and roasters do not want to produce the dark roasts now. When I complained to Ecco Caffe about the three "espresso" roasts I ordered, I was told that they could understand how their medium roast might be a shock to my system, if I'm used to dark roasts.

It's clear that my preference is no longer considered drink-worthy, so I can foresee the day when I will no longer be able to find a coffee that I enjoy. I see too that I must be in the minority, or else this trend would not be growing. This is a sad and unanticipated development.

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  1. Nooooo... bad news for me too...

    But, scope out the ethnic stores for coffees like cheap green Yerga Cheffe... and roast yourself in a hot skillet over the stove. It's not terribly "precise" (not every bean will roast to the same degree or color), but it ends up tasting surprisingly good and fresh and rich.

    1. I've been roasting my own for years. I started out with an air popcorn popper and then moved up to a real roaster. While I prefer a lighter roast, you could roast it as dark as you like.

      Nice folks, good coffee, as fresh as it gets, and much less expensive than buying pre-roasted.

      1 Reply
      1. re: chileheadmike

        Good idea. Maybe it's come to that. Thanks!

      2. How delightfully dramatic this post is!

        (I prefer the darker roasts too)

        4 Replies
        1. re: Metalee

          Well, I guess I do sound rather dramatic, but it's just a reflection of how I feel about coffee. I've always loved the stuff, and drinking my first cup in the morning was one of the great delights of the day. To think that because a new way of thinking about coffee has made what I love disappear is very sad. And I think all those medium-roast-, mild-flavor-, high-acid-loving people are just WRONG! And they have ruined coffee.

          1. re: mayiomoula

            Phooey on all of that.

            Order anything from Peet's. They roast very dark, but not burnt. I prefer the coffees from Indonesia and the South Pacific, and love both the Maduro Blend and Garuda Blend. Also, Major Dickinson's Blend is their signature. All very dark, and very delicious.


            1. re: winedude

              another vote for Peet's. and yes, Major Dickason's blend is excellent.

              1. re: winedude

                Thanks! I'll check them out. Fingers crossed, I'll find what I'm looking for.

          2. I feel for you, but I'm with the majority. I almost always prefer a lighter roast.

            1. You're one step away from getting a great cup of coffee. I have a friend who blends and roasts his own, I mean awesome, it's the only way to go. So I'd suggest learning to blend and roast.

              1 Reply
              1. re: treb

                Thanks, I will definitely consider it.