Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Dark vs. Light

Let's talk about coffee. Recently I began to appreciate the lighter-roasted coffees. See now coffee, for many, is a symbol for adulthood: it's dark, it's bitter, and it's really caffeinated--especially if it's ground very finely and brewed in a French-press, such that a semi-solid sludge forms on the bottom of every cup. Yum. Coffee is enjoyed by some, yes, but it is also used by others: used to stay up late when pulling an all-nighter for instance, or simply used to wake-up in the morning when facing another frickin' day of drudgery in the office. Coffee comes in a variety of roasts, and when imbibed for its stimulatory benefits, is is deceiving. I used to equate the darkness of the roast with the intensity of the coffee. Visually it makes sense: jet black beans gleaming with coffee-oil appear much more intimidating, dangerous even, than dry light-brown beans, like coal compared to graham crackers--one looks much more capable of powering a steam engine than the other. But this is wrong. So wrong. Wrong like confusing your embrocation with your chamois cream. The darkness of coffee beans is entirely dependent on the roast. Essentially, if your coffee beans look black, it's because they've been cooked so long they're starting to burn. The flavor inherent in the bean has been cooked out, and replaced with the taste of the roast. This is not to say that dark roasted coffee tastes bad, but just that the taste of the coffee is not so much dependent on the quality of the bean, but rather the skill of the roaster. Lighter roasted coffees preserve much more of the original coffee flavor, and can brew just as strong a cup of coffee depending on the method of brewing. So for all you ignorant coffee drinkers who think you are getting a more caffeinated cup of coffee when you chose the darker roast, wise up fools!

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