Thanks for the responses ...
I waffled a bit in my original post, so I want to clarify that there are two different issues regarding coffee writing that I am talking about:
1. Is the writer aiming to achieve a result that I am likely to agree is good?
2. Are the writer's statements credible, or worth following? (This is the point that the rigour of research is relevant to.)
What I am asking for is people's opinions regarding what authors' coffee is like, so that I can take an educated guess as to whether or not they are aiming to produce a result that I am likely to agree is good, based on my subjective taste preferences (and so that others to do the same, noting that our preferences might be totally different, so we might not agree).
I'm not saying that the mere fact that an author uses scientific or technical jargon, references to experiments, etc. is something that is determinitive of my view on anything. Nor am I saying that Scott would assert that his statements are backed by any particular level of scientific rigour. What I am saying is that my approach is to sceptically examine what anyone presents and that this is a lot of time and effort that I don't want to spend if it turns out that the writing is geared towards achieving a result in the cup that I'm not interested in in the first place. In other words, I don't want to pony up $50 on one of Scott's books only to later learn that he tries to make every coffee taste like Monsooned Malabar (ridiculous, extreme example, not grounded in reality, obviously)! Sorry if I caused any misunderstanding.
happycat wrote:But I do think it's pretty funny how a fairly arrogant (and I do not mean that as a put down... just an observation of chauvinism) pro-scientism (meaning belief in ever more OCD of measurement and control = goodness) opinion boils down to demanding subjective evidence through tasting... an unintentionally funny undermining of positivism and reinforcing the subjectivism that is complained about.
Science can tell you things like what a measurable quantity is, or how to achieve it. Science can't tell you whether or not that quantity is good. I'm saying that the purpose of science is to repeatably achieve a desired taste outcome. If the taste outcome being achieved isn't desired, then the science that achieves it is irrelevant. One of my friends spent several years using his chemistry degree to work out how to formulate a particular paint. None of his work tells you whether you like the colour. Again, sorry; I think my original post didn't make this distinction clearly.
He works as a consultant and no longer roasts and sells coffee or owns a coffee establishment that I'm aware of. I don't believe he has a preference for lighter or darker roasted coffee. He does have a bugaboo for underdeveloped coffee, but I have never read him use the term "over-developed", just "baked and roasty".
Thanks, I think this is kind of what I was after.
aecletec wrote:Rao does describe how much research he went to, so try to read the beginning rather than flip through it.
Good to know. Which book are you referring to? I'm probably more interested in the extraction books than the roasting book at the moment.