Blonde on Blonde

Ahh the morning paper and cup of coffee nothing quite goes together like those two, and to be honest I am surprised at how often coffee turns up in the morning paper these day. Just today I found this on the front page of the Personal Journal section in the WSJ: "The Hot Blonde in the Coffee Shop: A Lighter Roast."

It's a fairly interesting article about the lighter roasts that are finding their ways into coffee shops, mainly the big specialty coffee roasters (i.e. Starbucks, Tully's, Peet's) and how they have all introduced lighter roasts recently.

What I find interesting about the article is not that those companies are trying to expand the taste of their line-up of roasts to be inclusive of all types of coffee drinker preferences, but the how the article is written. As it seems like it's being written either by someone that is a bit of coffee snob trying to appeal to the larger audience or someone pretty naive about coffee trying to sound like they know a little more.

I don't want to critize someone's tastes, but in the article she sites a certain fellow be a "coffee conniosseur" because he likes Peet's, and considers it the best. I like Peet's but I am not sure I would consider it conniosseur territory. And also citing many "coffee snobs can only drink the dark brew at Starbucks and Peet's and that anything else tastes like dishwater."

However, it seems like this flies in the face of some of the other comments that she brings in from some truely specialty coffee roasters saying, "A raft of new high-end cafes and coffee roasters...only sell light-roasted coffee and say that dark roasting is tantamount to ruining good coffee." Then there are also a few comments by Tyler Wells of Handsome Coffee Roasters and Jeremy Tooker of Four Barrel, of how dark roasts ruin the origin taste of the coffee and don't reflect the actual strength of the brew that you are making.

The article ends with the coffee conniosseur saying he is going to give his mother, who dislikes dark roasts, a bag of the new lighter roasts offered at Starbucks.

It seems like the article is coming at lighter roasts in two ways, that a lot of non-coffee obsessed people do not like dark roasts, and that the high-end coffee shops are only offering lighter roasts. So where does that leave Starbucks and their ilk?

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