I love ice cream, as many of you do. And being a lover of ice cream, I am aware there is a difference in ice cream brands and flavors. I can start with vanilla ice cream and be satisfied with that, or I can add a topping such as chocolate or strawberries and nuts or whipped cream. Or I can select different flavors. Many producers add different ingredients or use different production methods to enhance the makeup or taste of their ice cream. The ice cream experience can be very diverse.


The same can be said about coffee. We have single origin coffees, coffees from a single source (country). And each has its own unique taste. We have two or more coffees that are blended together to make other unique tastes. We have coffee that is milled to a certain grind, which allows different brewing methods and therefore taste. And some coffees are roasted to a different level to produce a light, medium or dark brew. The darker the brew, the bolder and richer the taste. An example of this is the French Roast. So the coffee we drink can also be very diverse.

Many Americans have traveled to Europe and have experienced coffee with a much bolder, richer taste that they are accustomed to. And many of these people have the false idea that coffees grown in Europe have a more robust and rich flavor. But the truth is, there is no coffee grown in Europe. Coffee is grown primarily in the coffee belt that girdles the globe, which is between the Tropic of Cancer (23.5° North Latitude) and the Tropic of Capricorn (23.5 ° South Latitude).

In the Americas, our purchases of coffee consist of single origin coffees. The consumer knows what country the bean is from and many times, what estate, e.g., Bolivian Carnavari or Costa Rica Tarrazu. Or we can purchase coffee that has been blended with one or two other single origin coffees to produce another flavor. And the emphasis tends to be on the bean.

The beans used in French Roast or other European coffees can vary. They can be from Brazil or Kenya, or any other coffee producing country. They can be a single origin bean, or they can be a blend of coffees. But for European coffees, the emphasis is more on the roast. The beans do not define the European Coffee, the roast does.

The contributing factor that makes French Roast and other European coffees richer or bolder than American coffee is the roast. The coffee bean is roasted to a darker color. It is typically the darkest of the roasts and will tend to have a chocolate color with a smoky, rich flavor. Most European coffees are roasted to a darker color, resulting in more robust coffees than the coffees of the Americas.

Although coffee in Europe is generally a darker roast, the roast is not necessarily uniform across Europe. You might enjoy an 8 oz. cup of dark roasted, rich flavored coffee in Germany, but a enjoy a 2 oz. solo espresso in Italy. Just remember, in America, it is in the bean. In Europe, it is in the roast.

~~~ Dwayne Collins

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