When people say "light" roasts, what level of roasts are they talking about? - Page 3

Discuss flavors, brew temperatures, blending, and cupping notes.
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#21: Post by Chert »

Here's an example of a light take on pacific island coffee:
LMWDP #198

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Sal (original poster)

#22: Post by Sal (original poster) replying to Chert »

Thanks for the info. I may give NorthBound Coffee Roasters a try. However, from the price of the bags they sell and the fact it has the USDA Organic label on it(*), I have a feeling that it is not in the same league of specialty roasters as the ones I mentioned, the high-end, third-wave oriented roasters that are more about fruit-forward, "light" roast, and serving to coffee aficionados (e.g. Tim Wendelboe, SEY, Passenger, George Howell, Prodigal, Onyx).

(*) Another discussion in this HB thread led me to believe that there are distinctions between mass-marketed roasters and third-wave focused high-end roasters: see Do organic/sustainably grown green coffee beans matter in your green coffee purchases?

By the way, I have roasted Timor and other Indonesians to what I call "light" dropping during 1C. Depending on the greens I used, they do produce wonderful cups for me, but never a fruit-forward flavor profile I have been experiencing from the coffees I got from Tim Wendelboe, SEY, Passenger, George Howell, Prodigal, and Onyx.
I am a home-roaster, not a home-barista...


#23: Post by jpender »

luca wrote:I can never remember if "gourmet" is the same scale as regular, but with more numbers to describe even lighter coffee, or if the same coffee reads different numbers on the regular and the "gourmet" scale.
The gourmet scale covers the same range but with numbers from 0 to 133 instead of 1.1 to 100. So to convert from gourmet to commercial you multiply by 98.9/133 and then add 1.1. Whoever came up with the idea for the gourmet scale is an idiot in my opinion. If they wanted more resolution they could have simply employed a decimal point.

Although coffee color doesn't tell you everything about a roast it's way better than using non-standardized adjectives. I think it's cool that Onyx is providing the Agtron values for their coffees but doubt it will become common amongst roasters.

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#24: Post by homeburrero »

Before disparaging the folks who developed that SCAA roast color classification scale I'd recommend reading some background here: The Roast Color Classification System: Technology Designed to Advance the Art & Science of Coffee Roasting. (Carl Staub was the head of Agtron and also that 1995 SCAA committee that came up with the 8 color disks and their number calibrations.)

The "Gourmet" scale is the one associated with the Agtron M-Basic/II analyzer. The 2020 manual for that Analyzer includes an updated (2018) table for those classifications. That table is also posted on this HB thread: DIY Color Meter

I know it's been discussed in detail elsewhere on HB, but figured it might be useful here to add a little table showing the SCAA / Agtron numbers, The 2018 Gourmet scale Agtron numbers, as well as the numbers and text descriptors used by Coffee Reviews. Coffee reviews uses an average of the whole bean and the ground coffee numbers to decide on their text description. (see https://www.coffeereview.com/roast-definitions/ .) It's interesting, and maybe instructive to note that they don't bother categorizing coffee as very light or extremely light, and just call everything lighter than Agtron 70 a light roast. But they distinguish four gradations of dark - extremely dark, very dark, dark, and medium dark.

The 1995 Agtron table categorized Agtron 20-30 as "very dark" and for some reason the 2018 table changed that category's text to 'extremely dark'.

nínádiishʼnahgo gohwééh náshdlį́į́h


#25: Post by jpender »

homeburrero wrote:Before disparaging the folks who developed that SCAA roast color classification scale I'd recommend reading some background
I wasn't disparaging the classification scale. Rather I think the addition of a second scale that is simply a linear transformation of the first is a mistake. It would be akin to changing the Celsius scale so that boiling happens at 133° instead of 100°. Thanks for the links. I have seen the Agtron manual before. There is no discussion of why a new scale was created in either of those links. The scales that the SCAA adopted were the creation of the Agtron company. Most likely adding the gourmet scale was a marketing decision.

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#26: Post by luca »

Sal wrote:It may be due to my lack of exposure to professionally roasted coffees in the last ~15 years or so, but I think old-fashioned (if you call it that way) roasted coffees from 20 years ago still exist and thrive in many roasters.
Yeah, I think this is sort of part of the heart of the problem for consumers. These "old-fashioned" coffees still exist ... but it feels like almost everyone has adopted the same language as the light roast "cool kids", so it's borderline impossible for consumers to tell what they are getting based on descriptions - you can expect everyone to give you three or four fruits and flowers, a list of some tech specs (variety, altitude, processing method), some reference to a farmer that makes it sound like someone knows them and regularly plays golf with them, and some reference to how the farmer keeps chickens/antelope/octopus/mucous as some sort of environmental sustainability measure.
LMWDP #034 | 2011: Q Exam, WBrC #3, Aus Cup Tasting #1 | Insta: @lucacoffeenotes

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Sal (original poster)

#27: Post by Sal (original poster) replying to luca »

LOL... I hope I am not getting coffee from farmers keeping "mucous". "octopus" is also questionable, but they can be tasty, so I can live with that. :o
I am a home-roaster, not a home-barista...