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Come Into the Light (Roast - That Is...)

July 16, 2010

My first cup of really fresh, unique, and delicious coffee was a French roast blend brewed in a French press, (oui, oui). That distinctive dark, bittersweet, slightly charred taste served as my benchmark for all that was good and right in a cup of coffee.  After a while, I came to realize most good French roast coffee tastes dark, bittersweet, and slightly charred.  Dark roasted coffee is like comfort food - it is good, simple, and predictable.  

One day I decided I had settled on what was comfortable long enough.  I boldly filled the bag provided by my grocer with four ounces of his best Moka Java beans.  The description below this exotic name promised a delicious blend of light and bright and dark, full bodied coffee.  The result in the cup was eye opening.  I started learning about coffee trying to find out what was going on with this blend.

My quest landed me in East Africa - in spirit at least.  I took a leap of faith the next time I pushed my shopping cart past the bean bin and filled my bag with four ounces of Kenya AA - light roast - along with another sample of the Moka Java.  I hurried past the French roast, pretending I did not see those dark, oily, and oh so comforting beans.  The Kenya AA was more than eye opening - this was a true revelation!  I actually tasted the dark currant and chocolate notes in the finish!  Coffee suddenly became exotic and exciting.

From these humble beans the seed was planted that grew into my current coffee obsession. Light and medium roast coffee highlighting the uniqueness of the bean rewards those who are willing to move out of their comfort zone and into the light (roast, that is...)  Ethiopian? Sure - I'm in. Is it natural or washed?  It *does* matter.  Rwanda anyone?  How about Tanzanian or Burundian, or Costa Rican, or Bolivian, or Brazilian, or Colombian, or Sumatran?  The list of good coffee - single estate or micro-lot - is huge with a multitude of roasters offering this large variety to feed my need.  

Thanks to ROASTe, I don't stop by my grocer's bean bin very often, but sometimes nostalgia hits me and I lift the lid on the French roast bean bin and - for old time's sake - stop and smell the coffee.   






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