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Tag: commercial coffee roasters

The Importance of Proper Coffee Roasting, Or, Why Fresh Roasted Coffee, LLC, Stinks

by on Aug.16, 2012, under coffee, Kitchen, product review, Uncategorized

As readers know, I am a coffee enthusiast.  I roast my own beans and have several espresso machines, including one of the finest manual levers ever made, the Olympia Cremina. I sometimes like to purchase commercially roasted beans in order to gauge my roasting skills. I recently ran across a website purporting to offer roasted coffee beans at decent prices, Fresh Roasted Coffee, LLc, operating out of Selinsgrove, PA.  Since it wasn’t clear from the website whether the beans were actually fresh roasted (more than about two or three weeks and it becomes stale), I emailed the site and received a reply that the beans were shipped within 5 days of roasting, an acceptable amount. Based on that response, I ordered three bags of different varieties of coffee.  I should have noticed at the outset, though, that one of the varieties advertised, a Papua New Guinea single origin, was a “limited edition dark roast.”  This should have been a clue to me that the proprietors of this site didn’t know what they were doing.  You see, it’s a common misconception, fostered mostly by Starbucks, that dark roasts are for espresso, when in fact this is completely not the case.  Most high end espresso roasters roast much much lighter than a dark roast.  The reason for lighter roasting is that roasting too dark produces a monotonic flavor that masks all the subtleties of fine coffee beans, and this is most pronounced with espresso, which is an extremely demanding beverage.  The reason Starbucks overroasts their beans is because the beans basically will continue to taste the same over quite a long period of time, thus allowing transport and storage, and of course sacrificing the flavor as well.  This is why Starbucks is generally avoided by espresso aficionados, because their espresso is simply terrible.  Well, at any rate, when the beans arrived and I opened the bags, my heart sank. All three varieties were covered in oil, which is the primary sign of overroasting.  From their appearance, I suspected that none of these beans would be suitable for espresso, and I was correct; none of the varieties produced drinkable espresso.  I found this to be a valuable lesson:  don’t do business with unknown vendors who may or may not know what they are doing. Certainly I will never order from Fresh Roasted Coffee, LLC, again.  I did offer them the opportunity to refund my purchase price, but they ignored my email.

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