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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...

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. 

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.