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Topic: Thought you guys would be interested in this (9 msgs / 346 lines)
1) From: Bill Martin
Just on the Cooks Illustrated website, and came across this.  Thought 
for sure it would garner some comments on THIS list.
Sent it yesterday, but it bounced because it was too large....  I'll 
break it up....  there's more.
Send your flames to Cooks Illustrated..... not me.  :-)
The Truth about French Roast Coffee
French roast, darling of the Starbucks crowd, may not be what you 
think. Here’s why.
  You order a large coffee from your local coffee bar and, on any 
particular day, the beans might come from one of a dozen different 
countries—Sumatra, Costa Rica, Guatemala. But one thing is likely: The =
beans have been dark-roasted. They may even be French roast beans. Of 
course, all coffee beans are roasted before being ground and brewed, 
but a French roast is dark—very dark—and, thanks to Starbucks and =
other 
specialty retailers, it is also very popular. It seemed to us, then, 
that the obvious question for the consumer was, Which brand of French 
roast beans is best?
  Just like wine, coffee gets its flavor by many means. There is the 
type of bean, the place where the beans are grown (even the same type 
of bean grown in different locales in the same country will develop 
different flavors), and the time of harvest. And then there is the 
processing method, the mix of beans in a particular blend, the length 
of time the beans are roasted, the type of grind, the quality of the 
water used, and the coffee-making process. (The latter is not 
insignificant. Great beans produce lousy coffee when brewed 
incorrectly.)
When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out
my room.  -- Woody Allen

2) From: Bill Martin
Just on the Cooks Illustrated website, and came across this.  Thought 
for sure it would garner some comments on THIS list.
Sent it yesterday, but it bounced because it was too large....  I'll 
break it up....  there's more.
Send your flames to Cooks Illustrated..... not me.  :-)
The Truth about French Roast Coffee
  All Beans Are Not Created Equal
  Given this confusing wealth of factors, many consumers focus on the 
type of bean, something that experts find hard to explain. Arabica, the =
most popular bean at the moment, is so popular that even McDonald’s 
promotes its use in the coffee sold under the golden arches. But the 
arabica bean comes in many varieties, the best of which are grown in 
climates with relatively cool evening temperatures. In other words, 
some arabica beans are good and some are not.
  But if the bean itself isn’t a reliable indicator of quality (even =
the 
country of origin doesn’t make one coffee good and another bad), what =
should the consumer consider when choosing a coffee from the 
supermarket shelf? The only choices left are the brand and the type of =
roast. Using the popular French roast as our reference point, we 
conducted a tasting of nine supermarket brands and the results were, 
well, shocking. Chock Full o’ Nuts squeaked by Starbucks for 
first-place honors in the first round of tastings, indicating that 
price (Starbucks costs more than twice as much as Chock Full o’ Nuts) =
is no guarantee of satisfaction. Noting that the ratings were close for =
all brands, we repeated the tasting. The second time around the results =
were just as close, but the rankings were different. We did note, 
however, that some tasters preferred a darker roast and others a 
lighter roast, a key factor that contributed to the odd results. In 
other words, tasters were not responding to quality per se, they were 
simply expressing a preference as to what degree the beans were 
roasted. Is it possible, then, that all French roasts—no matter the 
type of bean—are not created equal? To try to settle the matter, we 
decided to turn to some experts and set out for the Excellent Coffee 
Company, a coffee roaster in Pawtucket, R.I.
  Measuring Darkness
  We took our nine brands on the road and this time subjected them to an =
Agtron reading, which measures the amount of light reflected from 
particles of ground coffee. A very dark roast has an Agtron reading of =
19, a very light roast a reading of 75. According to common industry 
standards, a French roast usually falls in the range of 20 to 30. Based =
on their Agtron readings, only four of the nine coffees we tested were =
true French roasts. Two qualified as Italian roasts, with readings 
under 20, and three qualified as Viennese roasts, with readings over 
30. So brand does make a difference. The beans in brands advertised as =
French roast are in fact roasted to very different degrees. Coffee 
drinkers who favor that charred, heavily roasted flavor should go for 
Starbucks, but if you like a lighter, more subtle cup of coffee, you 
might choose Chock Full o’ Nuts or Eight O’Clock.
  But what about French roast itself? Despite its popularity, the 
confusing taste test results made us wonder if the roasting process 
somehow camouflaged the quality of the beans, thus making brand 
recognition difficult. We turned to Kevin Knox of Allegro coffee, 
one-time Starbucks quality-control man and coauthor with Julie Sheldon =
Huffaker of Coffee Basics (John Wiley & Sons, 1996). He sums up French =
roast by saying, “It’s just burnt coffee.”
When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out
my room.  -- Woody Allen

3) From: Bill Martin
Just on the Cooks Illustrated website, and came across this.  Thought 
for sure it would garner some comments on THIS list.
Sent it yesterday, but it bounced because it was too large....  I'll 
break it up....  there's more.
Send your flames to Cooks Illustrated..... not me.  :-)
The Truth about French Roast Coffee
  The Roasting Rules
  To understand just what Knox means, it’s necessary to know a bit =
about 
the coffee-roasting process. Beans can be roasted from light (American) =
to medium (Full City) to dark (Viennese, French, and Italian, the 
darkest roast). Although these are imprecise terms, the method is 
simple enough. Beans are roasted by hot air and then cooled. They can 
be roasted slowly or quickly, and the cooling method can vary as well, =
and variations in both factors affect flavor. The reason French roast 
beans are often considered burnt is that they are roasted until many of =
their carbohydrates (sugar and cellulose) are converted to carbon (that =
is, incinerated), causing the beans to lose up to 20 percent of their 
weight in the process. Thus many experts believe French roasting 
destroys flavors, rendering the differences between high- and 
low-quality beans meaningless. Forget about the subtle flavor of 
honeysuckle in Kenyan beans or the bittersweet chocolate taste of 
Guatemalan Antigua.
  To test this theory, we did a tasting at Excellent Coffee of both 
high-quality and mediocre beans roasted to both light and dark stages. =
While expert and staff tasters could tell which bean was which when the =
beans were lightly roasted, the differences between the high-quality 
and low-quality beans were harder to detect when the beans were darkly =
roasted; in fact, some tasters preferred the lower-quality dark roast 
beans to the higher-quality dark roast beans. Knowing that character 
flaws and nuances in flavor can be masked by dark roasting, 
professionals “cup,” or taste, coffee brewed from very lightly =
roasted 
beans.
  We also asked the Excellent Coffee experts to blind-taste French roast =
Starbucks against Chock Full o’ Nuts. The result? They preferred the =
cheaper Chock Full o’ Nuts, a lighter roast that they found “mild =
and 
sweet,” opposed to the dark roast Starbucks, which they found “smoky =
and sharply acidic.” (The tasters did comment, however, that they =
could 
discern a higher-quality bean in the Starbucks coffee than in the Chock =
Full o’ Nuts, although they didn’t care for the burnt taste of the =
roasting.)
  So the best question to ask when it comes to supermarket French roast =
coffees isn’t “Which brand is best?” Even though Starbucks uses 
high-quality beans, its coffee doesn’t have much on Folgers or Eight =
O’Clock when the beans are French roasted. George Howell, founder of =
the Coffee Connection, goes so far as to say that “taste can wind up =
having little to do with quality.” What is certain is that for dark 
roast coffees, the roasting process has a bigger impact on flavor than =
bean quality.
  What is the best question to ask when selecting a French roast coffee? =
Probably, “How do you like your coffee?” As Howell points out, if =
given 
French roast, the person who prefers light roast “will feel like he is =
walking into a dark room. It’s all thickness and no clarity.” 
Meanwhile, someone who favors dark roast but is given light roast 
“feels like he is being attacked by the corrosive rays of the sun.” =
So 
forget about beans, price, and country of origin and simply use the 
notes above to help you choose the brand of French roast best suited to =
your palate. We’ve organized the coffees in order from the darkest to =
the lightest roasts. Keep in mind that how you drink your coffee may 
also influence your choice. Black coffee drinkers may prefer a lighter =
roast, whereas those who add milk and sugar might find the darker 
roasts more appealing.
When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out
my room.  -- Woody Allen

4) From: Bob Yellin
I received two copies of this post in my personal email and one in the
list. Are your settings OK?
Bob Yellin
<Snip>
 
<Snip>
other 
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unsvbscribes) go to =http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

5) From: peter zulkowski
Hi Bill,
Thanks for going through the trouble of sharing this.
The masses have a long way to go. Not too bad an article if you want to 
tolerate bulk roasted coffee meant to please everyone.
My first 25 lb. I bought to practice with had flavors all over the 
spectrum based on roast inconsistency and differences in grind and 
brewing. Still have 7 lb. or so of it, and it is still good.
When we were on our trip to Mexico with the church mission to build a 
house, they made me in charge of coffee. Honestly I felt so bad, but I 
could not possible roast enough for 27 people for 4 days, and they 
supplied me with F***ers. All I could do was make it strong. Had lots of 
comments about that, and some came to me and appreciated it.
It was not so bad a coffee, to me even, that's why I am embarrassed. 
(Well, I did have some of mine that I ground and brewed before I started 
the other, tried to keep it a secret)
Maybe it's just when you wake up and get out before the sun, and the 
temp is in the mid 30's and you really want something warm, the F coffee 
is pretty good.
Naaa, that's all these people drink anyway.
Next year I will roast enough for everyone :)
PeterZ
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6) From: John Blumel
On Mar 5, 2004, at 1:31pm, Bill Martin wrote:
<Snip>
I thought this article was most interesting for what it didn't say. 
Unless I somehow missed it (I read it through twice), they didn't say a 
word about freshness affecting flavor. It's kind of hard to imagine CI 
not extolling the virtues of fresh ingredients so it's interesting that 
they didn't mention it, even in passing, in this article. Of course, 
maybe freshness is irrelevant with an Agtron reading of 20.
John Blumel

7) From: John Abbott
Bob,
  I think you're looking at backup tapes from the server.  The mailing 
list was down for awhile today.  I noticed a lot of yesterday's posts 
showing up today as well.
John - loving life in the slow lane
Bob Yellin wrote:
<Snip>

8) From: Bob Yellin
<Snip>
Probably - but I received the two copies of Bill Martin's post sent to my
personal email yesterday afternoon (Friday) along with an additional copy
(total three) in the regular SM list so I sent that message yesterday
shortly afterwards to inform him of that... But my message of yesterday =
to
the list didn't show up until just this evening for the reasons you =
stated.
Anyhow - no big deal - just thought he might have some settings problems
and he might want to check it out. It was probably just a hiccup in the =
SM
server, yesterday.
Bob
<Snip>
unsvbscribes) go to =http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings

9) From: Bill Martin
I plan to refer them to the SM website.  Since they didn't mention 
homeroasting, I think maybe they are missing something!!!
Bill
On Mar 6, 2004, at 3:08 AM, John Blumel wrote:
<Snip>
When I was kidnapped, my parents snapped into action. They rented out
my room.  -- Woody Allen


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