Burnt Coffee

With all apologies to my friends from the Pacific Northwest — y’all burn your beans. I have tried, over and over, to enjoy dark roasted coffee. I love that they call dark roast coffee “gourmet” coffee. What the heck?!?!

If you cook your bread until it’s black, that’s called burnt toast.

If your pancakes are “roasted” until they’re black? Burnt.

If your marshmallow catches on fire and turns black — it’s BURNT.

Here’s the secret: Roasting coffee is like roasting marshmallows. It’s precise. It takes patience. Too little, and your mallow is cold and firm in the middle. Too much, and it tastes like the campfire that roasted it.

And don’t get me started on French Roast. It’s like the French roasters must say, “Oh look, zee beans are perfect! We have achieved the best possible flavour from our amazing roaster! How great we are. These roasted coffee beans will have better flavour than any beans in the history of histories. We are such great roasters of… Oh crap, they burned. Oh well, it’s just a little burned. We’ll say that’s how we like it.”

Medium roast. Brewed REALLY strong. That is all. You’re welcome.

18 thoughts on “Burnt Coffee”

  1. We just had this bleary-eyed discussion in our kitchen this morning. Donald was about to make coffee and I asked him to please let me do it. He likes dark roasts made very strong, and I just can’t drink it. So the first pot of the day was his dark roast made slightly light. The next pot, which just finished, I allowed him to do. Strong roast + strong brew = undrinkable. Something, somewhere, has to be medium or I remain undercaffeinated.

  2. Sorry Shawn, but you’re wrong about the marshmallows. Marshmallow + stick + fire = awesome.

    The marshmallow must catch on fire to be properly edible.

    Plus, you’ve got a flaming marshmallow on a stick. What could be more awesome than a sugar torch?

  3. I like a dark roast, and am really partial to a bean that comes from Western Canada. The only problem is that while it is finally available here, the cost factor is HUGE. I normally have family bring me some back when they go to the west coast…better than a key chain!

    And Michelle….flaming marshmallow on a stick…YUMMY!

  4. Yay! Someone else said what I’ve thought for years.

    I got a bunch of free coffee from a coffee place a few years ago in exchange for a little blog pimping and had to say not nice things because it all tasted like burnt socks. Dark roast is icky. As are charred marshmallows.

    The sugar torch thing is cool, just don’t ask me to eat it 🙂

  5. There are people who like “dark” toast, too. And “extra crispy” bacon. Maybe the taste of blackened carbon does something for some people.

  6. I combine half Chock Full-o-nuts with half Cafe Bustelo. Perfect every time.

    And though I don’t particularly care for the taste of mashmallows, I do love me some flamin’ crap on a stick.

  7. If by Pacific Northwest you mean Starbucks, then I would agree. If by Pacific Northwest you mean geographically speaking then I would disagree. Some of the most burnt tasting dark roast coffee I ever had came from Costa Rica so I think geography has little to do with it. 🙂

    Starbucks coffee is only good if you dump lots of stuff in to it. Frappucinos, lattes, etc. are Starbucks finest. Drip coffee from them is yucky.

    Have you tried Torrefazione’s? http://www.titalia.com/ . One of my favorite coffees and definitely no burnt taste. They use to (maybe still do) have a shop in downtown Seattle and it was my hang out. Now I buy their pre-packaged coffee at some fancy grocery stores around town or on cooking.com.

  8. To the burnt marshmallow lovers: You have every right to be perfectly wrong. 🙂

    Carlie: I actually assumed the dark roast, burnt coffee was rather Seattle-y in nature. My apologies. I’ll have to get some Torrefazione’s — I’m always up for coffee recommendations.


  9. Actually, it does seem to be kind of a Seattle standard to make very strong, dark roast coffee. I don’t mind strong, but I don’t like bitter or acidic coffee. We buy medium roast Kona and actually make it quite strong, we don’t like to be able to see through the pot at all.

    I’ve done downtown Seattle walkabout taste testing and Starbucks (and Seattle’s Best) *loses* – it is bitter and burnt and acidic. I think people who like Starbucks do so because they get adulterated, much-sweetened coffees, which I do not. Bleah.

    Almost every other downtown brand, chain or indie, is better than Starbucks. Caffe d’Arte and Grand Central Bakery are my personal favorites.

  10. when I drank coffee, I liked it strong with “stuff” in it. However, like everything else these days, I think they make so many different varities how can a person decide. And it had to be fresh, after a half hour or so…it smells bad and taste worse.
    I’m with Shawn on the marshmallows.

  11. I rarely drink coffee anymore b/c of my meds, but when I do, I put enough flavored syrup/creamer in it that it really doesn’t matter what the roast is like. 😉

    A little coffee roasting fun-fact for the caffeine addicts, though: The darker you roast coffee beans, the less caffeine the resulting coffee will have. The standard American espresso roast is actually on the weaker side of the spectrum, it’s the method of preparation that gives espresso it’s caffeine concentration. If you really want a kick, get very lightly roasted beans and brew it extra strong.

  12. Burnt marshmallow=fun, but not edible. The marshmallow must be slowly warmed by the fire so that it has a nice, golden brown exterior that is like the skin of a pudding.

    And roasted coffee, nasty! I have a friend in Milwaukee that swears by this chain they have up there, Altera. They roast their own beans. I’ve tried it a few times, Jason speaks so highly of it I want to give it the benefit of the doubt, but man is that stuff nasty and bitter. Now, when I visit up there and we go to Altera, I just get a hot chocolate or a Chai.

  13. Most St*rbucks coffe is over roasted. That makes up for the beans being second-rate blends. My absolute favorite coffee is from the Dominican Republic and is perfectly roasted and the highest quality beans anywhere!

    I make my coffee with a large French press and the result is very strong, smooth (never bitter) coffee…


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