When the weather turns each fall, dark roasts can be the ultimate comfort coffee. Dark Roasts might share a general roast style in common, but there's a whole range of different flavors to explore between coffees. We're proud of the work we've put into our range of dark roasts - here's a quick guide!
Roast Styles: "Medium-Dark" and "Dark"
Each Fazenda coffee has a roast style designated on the label: Light, Medium, Medium-Dark, or Dark.
Our "Medium-Dark" offerings are generally roasted closer to the "Medium" than the "Dark" end of the roast spectrum, but hit a lot of the same characteristics most dark roast drinkers are after. They tend to be lower in acidity & are big, full bodied coffees.
Our "Dark" offerings have more up-front roast characteristics. You'll start to see surface oils develop on the beans themselves over time, but we don't always rely on oily beans as an indicator of roast degree! Even very dark coffees will not be very oily in their first few days after roast, with the oils only coming to the surface after the coffee sits for several days. (The pictures below were taken within 2-3 of roast.)
End temperature isn't the end all, be all of coffee roasting. How fast or slow the roast is will have a big impact on how the coffee tastes. An 11 minute roast will tend to have a lighter, smoother body compared to a 14 minute roast, which will stereotypically be deeper & more robust with a more pronounced "roast" flavor. If you're used to drinking one particular style, we'd encourage you to check out exploring coffees in the next "style" over! Roast degree is ultimately along a spectrum, so you might find yourself surprised to really love a coffee in another category.
Dark roast coffees tend to be more "soluble" (it's easier for the brewing water to do its work) because the structure of the coffee bean has been broken down more in the roasting process. In order to get the perfect amount extracted from a dark roast coffee, we'll make two tweaks compared to the parameters we'll use for a light or medium coffee: grind size and brew temperature.
When grinding the coffee, we tend to go one or two settings coarser. Dark roasts are more brittle, so when ground they tend to break into smaller particles. These smaller particles extract quicker because they have more surface area; by grinding at a slightly coarser setting, you'll have closer to the "correct" grind size.
Dark roasts tend to be more forgiving with brew temperature differences. If we have the ability, we prefer to brew at a slightly cooler temperature (192-195°F, compared to 200°F for light & medium coffees). Most standard home coffee makers tend to use slightly lower brew temperatures, so this means a darker coffee can often times perform better in a cheaper coffee maker compared to a light roast.
And Finally: The Coffees!
French Roast (Dark)
French Roast is the best known dark roast "brand"; it harkens back to a particular style of roast in the early 20th century, but today is a catch-all term for any dark roast coffee. Our French Roast is a full bodied Guatemala-based blend, with a caramel & molasses-like sweetness. We design the roast profile with brewing traditional filter coffee in mind, so it has a roast flavor without being too dense (we sometimes use the word "chewy" to describe dark roasts that are so intense as to be unpleasant!).
Mexico Mixteca (Dark - Organic & Fair Trade)
Mexico Mixteca is our single origin dark roast coffee. This starts with the exact same raw ("green") coffee as our medium roast Mexico, but with an entirely different roast profile. Compared to the French Roast, the Mexico has a more explicit smoky note & an earthy flavor, with notes of fresh cedar. As an added bonus - it's both USDA Organic & Fair Trade certified!
Espresso Midnight Blue (Dark)
Midnight Blue is our dark roast espresso, inspired by classic Italian espresso. Originally a spin off of our Espresso Blue, Midnight Blue has evolved into it's own blend. We use a longer, drawn out roast profile to develop lots of body in this coffee to perform great as espresso. It has a big chocolatey body with hints of walnut, and produces great crema. If you have a super-automatic espresso machine, we find Midnight Blue performs best in these machines compared to other blends.
Guatemala La Flor Del Café (Medium-Dark)
Guatemala La Flor Del Café (or "La Flor", as we call it) is a coffee from the Antigua region, and one of our most popular coffees. It's closer in range to our Medium roasts than our Dark Roasts, but is roasted deeply enough to have a lower acidity & chocolatey, smooth body; on the finish, it has just a hint of roast flavor in the background. La Flor has a particular rum-like flavor note that stands out!
Costa Rica El Conquistador (Medium-Dark)
If we had to choose one coffee to serve after a meal, it'd be Costa Rica El Conquistador. Similar to the La Flor, El Conquistador falls in the Medium-Dark range, so it's not explicitly smoky, but has a caramelized sweetness & big body. Comparing the two coffees side by side, the Conquistador is slightly more nutty with a more fruit-like sweetness that lingers long after the last sip.