[Homeroast] City? City +? Full City?
coffee at starf.org
Tue Feb 23 12:01:02 CST 2010
Welcome to the list, Eliza; I think we had a bit of a discussion about
Schultz's involvement a couple months back, you can check the archives if
you're interested.... (I'll just point out that Schultz was not a founder of
SBs, he was first an employee of a company that sold a lot of plastic coffee
filter cones to SBs, then fell in love with Seattle coffee culture on a
visit and spent a year convincing SBs to hire him... Then he fell in love
with italian espresso culture on a visit and decided he had to bring it to
America, but couldn't convince SBs to move from roasting to serving coffee,
so he left SB's and started his own chain of successful espresso bars (Il
Journale or something like that) in Seattle.... Eventually he came back and
bought SBs from the 2 remaining founders, one of whom split off and kept
Peet's, which SBs had recently acquired). I think one of the strong
mandates of SBs is to provide its customers with a CONSISTENT experience
---it seemed very important to Schultz that a customer could walk into any
SBs anywhere in the world and feel instantly at home in a familiar setting,
and to that end having the coffee taste the same everywhere was a crucial
aspect. On that kind of scale, that guarantees consistent mediocrity
---there just isn't that much great coffee in the world. I think the folks
talking about dark roasting being an 'equalizer' of coffee flavors may be on
to something. I would also posit that once coffees get a little stale, they
also lose a lot of their individual character.
As for dark roasts, I agree with the consensus that there are few varietals
that shine in a dark versus light roast, and many that suffer when
overroasted. In addition, I find that once the oils are forced to the
surface of the bean as they are in darker roasts, they go rancid quite
quickly, which detracts significantly from the flavor of the resultant
brew. So dark roasts, when drinkable, are much better drunk promptly! I
think that the combination of overroasting and rancidity commonly drives
people to add sugar to their coffee to offset the bitterness. Many people
also seem to associate the "stronger" flavors of dark roasts with "stronger"
coffee, which is ironic as the darker the roast, the less caffeine. I
always tell people that if they like strong coffee they should use more
grounds and less water, not burn the coffee!
Most people seem to prefer familiarity to novelty, even when the familiarity
is crap and the novelty potentially enriching. Look at our political system
if you want an example....
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