I just finished reading a scathing review of Mahogany Roasters Alice Espresso - this is a wonderful "comfort food" espresso blend that is easy to dial in and work with at a price that won't break the bank. It is rated high here on ROASTe but over all it flies under the radar when espresso blends are mentioned on other forums. This one ranks as good as many of the more known products in my opinion, so the one cup review startled me. here is the review:
I THOUGHT THAT THIS COFFEE WOULD BE ROASTED TO A DEEP, GLOSSY BLACK. IT WAS NOT. IT LACKS THE DARK ROAST BITTER COFFEE TASTE THAT ONE WANTS IN AN ESPRESSO ROAST. I AM TRULY DISAPPOINTED.
The coffee is labeled as a medium roast. Medium roast espresso will not be deep, glossy black. It will intentionally (and thankfully) lack a dark roast bitter coffee taste. This was not the aim of the roaster for this blend of beans. Here is what the roaster chose to describe this offering:
Mahogany Roasters Alice Espresso is a delicious blend of coffees particularly well-suited for a rich, sweet espresso, good both straight and in milk drinks. We recommend a little lighter roast than you might expect for an espresso blend, in the style of Northern Italy. You'll be surprised at how much more flavor this blend will deliver.
This is like slamming regular coffee for not having hazelnut flavor. There are good dark roast espresso beans available here on ROASTe but this is clearly not one of them. It is very good espresso though and is a wonderful example of the Northern Italian style that is gaining in popularity with most specialty coffee roasters since it lets the origin of the bean shine through. If anything, this is a much more difficult undertaking by the roaster since roasting a lighter blend demands attention to bean quality, roast level and blend percentages.
Contrast this to roasting dark, oily and bitter beans. All roasting to a black oily state requires only heat and time not to mention that the beans will taste the same roasted this way so no care need be taken as to the roast composition - mix these black ones with those black ones, bag it, and call it a day.