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Author: La_Maudite (
Date:   05-23-02 21:55

butch burton ( wrote:
> Also the beans offered by these large roasters seem not to be the ones
> I see offered by SM or Barry. Having talked with one of the large
> roasters-I got the feeling this guy is all about making all the money
> he can as fast as he can.

Barry Jarrett ( wrote:
> *really* large roasters roast lighter because of the weight loss
> savings. remember, coffee is bought and sold by the pound, so dark
> roasts cost the roaster more.

Ivo van der Putten ( wrote:
> The temptation to use some cheaper beans and thus increase porfit margins is
> soooo big . . . .

Sami Chbeir ( wrote:
> Butch, roasting is usually a matter of preference. I roast to all degrees
> depending on coffee, and I sometimes roast 4000 pounds (green) in a day.
> But many times your right. A roaster roasts dark because he might not have
> the skill to get a roast on its sweet spot.

Jack Denver ( wrote:
> Large American roasters, certainly the mass market kind, used to roast their
> coffee very light....more or less in the style that Dunkin Donuts continues
> to roast in. This was especially so in the Northeast US. Perhaps for reasons
> of saving weight loss, as Barry suggested, or just by tradition. If they
> missed the sweet spot, the error was on the side of too light.
> Then came Starbucks. Starbucks distinguished itself in the mass market by
> roasting dark, unlike the dominant style at the time. They managed to
> associate in the public's mind the idea that dark roasted coffee was
> "gourmet". Now that Starbucks is the "prestige" mass market product, other
> roasters have repositioned their products to imitate it.
> So, it has very little to do with hitting a sweet spot or consistency (large
> roasters have the automation to roast accurately and can hit any degree they
> want without difficulty). Rather, it is all about marketing. As for not
> having the same beans as Barry or SM, of course not. This is like saying
> that Chateau Lafite uses the same grapes as are in Pink Ripple.

Charlie Preston ( wrote:
> I agree that roasting beyond full city seems to at least dampen the
> varietal characteristics of the beans. So I stop the roast at city to
> full city for that reason. Profit has little to do with it. Like the
> vast majority of the group here taste, taste, taste, or "off with your
> head". Even an espresso, which in my opinion should go no further than
> a Vienna is better at full city. IMHO.

I840COFFEE ( wrote:
> It is an old axiom in the roasting community, "A dark roast can hide a
> multitude of sins." This does not mean that any particular specialty roaster
> today chooses to roast darker in order to disguise poor beans. It it is simply
> a truism in the trade that darker roasts obscure some faults that would
> otherwise rise to the palate or nose from the cup.

I840COFFEE ( wrote:
> Consumer testing had shown that the average coinsumer palate could not pick-up
> a blend change of up to 25% so the introduction of Robusta beans in the
> post-war years was an acceptable cost saving measure.
> Light roasting might save several percentage-points of shrinkage in roasting,
> while the addition of peletized chaff, and additional water in the roasting
> quench, and then again during grinding, added bulk weight without raising costs
> perceptively. This is a nice idea ina commodity sold by the pound.

Jack Denver ( wrote:
> The story of how the 1 lb. can of Arabica became 12 oz. of robusta, water
> and pelletized chaff is a sad one. It reminds me of the story of the thrifty
> farmer who tried to train his horse not to eat by feeding it less and less
> each week. Just when he had it trained not to eat at all, it up and died on
> him. The only thing that saved coffee from even worse adulteration was the
> labeling laws and the need to sell "100% coffee" (chaff and "water for
> processing" don't have to be labeled as such, since they are naturally found
> in coffee). Otherwise, we'd be seeing "5% Coffee Drink", the way some of the
> "Juice Drinks" are 5% Juice and 95% sugar water.
> Coffee was once the all purpose American beverage, consumed with every meal
> (often not just after the meal, but during the main course) and on every
> occassion. Unfortunately, the raw materials for this beverage actually cost
> a significant portion of the retail price (unlike Coke, where a $1 bottle
> has a few pennies worth of sugar and flavoring). This was maddening to the
> captains of industry, who were used to outrageous margins on packaged goods
> (the $3 box of cereal that has 10 cents worth of wheat in it). Through
> short sightedness on the part of the industry, they almost managed to kill
> the coffee drinking habit in America. As Don points out, the specialty
> coffee revival, which looms large for us here (and even that 8% is mostly
> stuff us snobs wouldn't touch...Starbucks, various flavored coffees, etc.)
> still doesn't amount to much overall. The situation in the cans is worse
> than ever, as Vietnam Robusta has become a major component, not to mention
> the horrid envelopes of powdered "latte" made of sugar, creamer and instant.

jim schulman ( wrote:
> Alas, consumers and manufacturers benefit. Consumers because they get
> their coffee cheaper, manufacturers because their profits rise.

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