I was reading my Internet pages today and came across an article by a "writer" (not designated as a chef or a food specialist) in which he takes us all to task on behalf of all the coffee baristas who suffer while they are forced to behold the awful spectacle of all those who put cream and sugar in their coffee creations.
Writer Nicholas Thompson also rails against dark-roasted coffee in his article, "Do me a favor. Stop buying bad coffee," and I agree with him on that, but there is such a thing as too much. You will have to give up your Mr. Coffee and other drip pots, you see, because the only acceptable way to brew, according to presumed-expert Thompson, is "manual brewing equipment," and I certainly hope that my humble French press pot qualifies. Otherwise I am doomed, apparently, to enjoy my Arabica beans as best I can.
What, you looked at your coffee package and it is Robusta variety? For sin and for shame.
And Thompson insists, in his singularly un-charming way, that we invest in a coffee grinder--not just a grinder, mind you, but a burr grinder--and forswear buying ground coffee for as long as we live.
Okay, I have written articles about coffee too. But I hope that I offer information and choices, not orders. I did notice that when I ordered my very fine Geisha coffee from the Green Mountain Coffee Company online, it was not offered in ground form. I know that the upscale coffee companies restrict their ground forms of coffee varieties as compared to the varieties that are available in whole-bean form only.
But if I were to follow Thompson's logic, the Starbucks Blonde Roast coffee that I have tried wouldn't taste as good as the darker-roasted Geisha, and that isn't true. The Geisha is much better, not because of the roast but because of the variety.
You could try a closer comparison by comparing a Starbucks typical roast with the Starbucks Blonde, but I think the point is already made. Lightly-roasted coffee may or may not taste the best; I am not about to ask Thompson for permission to like what I like. I also give due respect to the coffee roasters who live with their industry, raise the plants, harvest the beans and drink the coffee every day.
In fact, Thompson may or may not know that in South America, people buy green coffee beans (freshly harvested and sold dry) and roast them at home. Coffee roasters are not unknown in South America--my husband is from Peru--and not only do many people roast their own coffee, different members of the family may roast for their own individual preference using the family roaster.
So if Thompson wants to drill down on this, I think that he needs to do some writer's research, which may include talking to someone intimately familiar with coffee growing, roasting and brewing. Probably he has done that already, but possibly he needs to talk to someone other than the very-specifically-trained coffee cooks in the shops. I like the term barista, but let's not get carried away. There is a lot of really good coffee being made all across America, by housewives and students and young singles getting together with their friends and hosts getting ready for dessert.
Some of that coffee is going to be dark-roasted and it's going to taste good. And believe me, if I had you over to my house I would offer you the coffee that I make customarily, but I wouldn't tell you what you may or may not enjoy. Nicholas Thompson needs to lighten up.