Coffee taste burnt lately? Here's why
Roasters are sneaking cheaper robusta beans into their blends to save money. Will coffee drinkers revolt?
Coffee companies are sneaking more robusta beans into their grounds as the price of the higher-grade arabica beans has spiked, Reuters reports. Very few roasters are actually admitting to doing this, but the evidence is as plain as day: U.S. robusta imports soared by 80% in the first quarter, while arabica fell by nearly a third.
Higher-quality arabica beans have a milder, more delicate and complex flavor than robusta. They're harder to grow and more expensive. Coffee experts say robusta, by contrast, tastes like burned rubber. Robusta also has a lot more caffeine.
Robusta coffee has been dismissed for years. In fact, U.S. coffee merchant COEX Coffee International never traded robustas five years ago, Reuters reports. Now the company said 40% of its business is robusta.
That raises a big question: Who's using all that robusta? Reuters guesses it's the national retail brands sold in supermarkets. Only one major roaster has admitted to using more. Massimo Zanetti, which makes the Chock Full o'Nuts and Hills Bros. brands, said it upped its robusta content by more than 25%, according to Reuters.
Everyone else is quiet.
There's only so much robusta Americans will take in their coffee blends. And roasters seem to be pushing the limit -- an understandable move, given the wild increases in coffee prices in recent years.
But coffee prices have come way down. Arabica futures hit a two-year low this week, in fact. So will the roasters that switched to robusta return to higher-quality arabica now that costs have settled? Unless there's a consumer backlash, the answer is no.
Shoppers on tight budgets are trading down to less expensive coffees, willingly accepting a slightly harsher taste in order to save a few dollars. That means robusta's popularity is probably here to stay, and the coffee industry is adjusting to this new reality. That's good news for Vietnam, the world's biggest grower of robusta.
How does a coffee bean make it to your cup? The following video traces coffee's journey.
Starbucks coffee has been burnt and bitter since day 1
NOT because of robusta
because they think " dark roast " is supposed to taste that way
finally many americans walked away
so they introduced blond
lastes like swill
i have been drinking Lavazza " Milano Roast " for 25 years
it is a light roast ( the ground coffe is light brown color ) so you know it is not burnt
Lavazza suddenly discontinued Milani Roast and substituted " Premium House Blend "
it is NOT as good
i tried Dunkin Doughnuts " Original Blend " and found it to be quite nice !
i am now " runnin on dunkin !
I roast my own beans - not because it's cheaper (although it is a lot cheaper) but because I can control the taste. I pay about $5 a pound (in bulk) for top quality beans. All you need is a stainless steel wok (some people even use a stainless dog dish) and a heat gun. Others use popcorn poppers, etc., but a heat gun is faster and lets you precisely control the amount of roast. For dark, oily french roast it takes about 15 minutes a pound - lighter roasts are 12-13 minutes. After the roast I hit the beans with a hair dryer that blows cold air for a few minutes to stop the roasting process. Done. Although I personally use a pretty sophisticated brewing system, it's not necessary. Just buy a good burr grinder and you can have your coffee any way you want. Green (raw) beans can be bought on eBay (I buy mine from sweetmarias.com - excellent quality and low prices). There are many tutorials online re roasting.
The burnt bitter taste comes from the culls and pee beans (because they are over cooked (burnt)). While the flavor and aroma comes from the male bean.
The electric roast evaporates oils (ie. Starbucks). While a properly turned fire roast (without the problems identified above) gives you the perfect cup of coffee. Of course this assumes you have the perfect blend of beans to begin with. I enjoy (100% Arabica from Private Plantations) in balance of these 5 flavors (blended) Colombian Medium Roast, Mexican, Guatemalan, Costa Rican, for a well-rounded flavor, and medium acidity and French Roast blend for the perfect cup of Joe. This is a morning, noon and night blend.
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