The French Propensity for Burnt Coffee

The French are world renowned for their cooking – it was the Gauls who quested hardest for deep savory flavors by cooking things down to their utter essence to create that “umame” flavor. That works for some things like rich sauces, gravies, and creamy soups – however for coffee it just sucks. French roast coffee is an utter sin; not as bad as murder but somewhere between that and stealing candy from babies on the scale of measurable sins.

Roast much darker than this and it's a sin

Why is it such a sin? Every second of roasting the coffee bean beyond light/medium robs it of caffeine by breaking it down. Worse still it embitters the coffee – the darker the bean the more bitter and decaffeinated the brew. The French roast their beans to the point of absurdity — making it sure to wake you up because it tastes so damned awful but not because it has a lot of caffeine. Drinking a good light roast Arabica coffee grown in volcanic mountain soil just straight up black is a joy, while drinking French roasted coffee black is like punishment, a sure way to wreck your day by getting bile flowing. Perhaps this is why the French have that infamous temperament, who knows?

The best coffee to me comes from volcanic mountainsides between 15 degrees North and the Equator  — everything else is just wannabe coffee. If you are going to be picky about where your coffee comes from, you should be careful about the cooking of the bean as well.