Coffee Express

Providing great service to coffee houses and other specialty retailers in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana

Posts Tagged / Roasts

Espresso Roasts and Blends

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Decades ago, espresso coffee in the U.S. was more generic: dark roasted, and of unknown origin. In the late 1970s, Peet’s Coffee of San Francisco raised the quality level of the beans they were using; they didn’t view dark as a way to mask the poor flavor of inferior beans.

More recently, a trend has developed that has baristas brewing espressos with single origin coffees, and/or much more lightly roasted beans.

Leaving aside brew strengths for now, how do you go about determining your favorite espresso? Does that espresso shot have the character to hold up well if you want a cappuccino or latte?

When cafes are putting together a blend for espresso brewing, they understand that some coffees are tart, and some are softer. Using the espresso method of 130 psi, coffee beans are ground to allowed an enormous amount of the surface area of the bean to become exposed to the hot, pressurized water and steam. Intense flavors come through, and both the good and bad are revealed.

The West-coast coffee chains that grew in popularity in the 1980s & 1990s are hugely successful, and responsible in many ways for what’s called the “second wave” in coffee. Better quality, very darkly roasted coffee is now the norm for a majority of espresso, cappuccino, and latte drinkers. The “third wave” is easing up a bit on the roast, and using even higher quality coffees. Is there a certain standard flavor you expect from an espresso? Are you willing to take a walk along the cutting edge?

You can experiment by asking your favorite local cafe to pull a shot of medium, or full-city roasted beans – espresso ground, of course – and see what you think. Be prepared for the results though; this will be an entirely new (and hopefully fun) experience for your taste-buds!

As The Roaster Turns

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It will be twenty-two years this August since I first came to work for Coffee Express, and so much has happened in the coffee world since then. You could say a lot of water has passed over the coffee grounds. First, specialty coffees emerged as the new status-quo, then organics hit the scene, and lately – due to a surge in interest about the traceability and origins of what we are eating and drinking – Microlots have become more popular. But some things don’t change, like the fragrance coming from opening the coffee bins first thing in the morning, the smell of fresh ground coffee, and the aroma of a freshly-brewed pot.  Read More

Medium vs. Dark

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Previously, we discussed degrees of roasting and the 1990’s trend toward dark roasted coffees. In explaining the trend toward dark roasts, we mentioned American travel to Europe, the growing popularity of coffee houses, and other culinary phenomena, which gave rise – among some drinkers – to a preference for darker roasts. Read More