Please excuse us. We need to take issue with an article, "French roast brews, sip for sip" in today's Los Angeles Times.
Why were we reading the L.A. Times, you ask? We're secretly Angelino-philes (that's why we poke fun at them sometimes).
We happened upon the above-linked piece and, being your Trimethyldioxypurist, thought we should weigh in on the flawed methodology, the lack of transparency in tasting method, and, perhaps most of all, we wanted to take up for our friends at Graffeo, whose dark roast is described in the article as having "chocolate aromas and a soft finish," but being "rather flat."
Okay, Graffeo may have a Beverly Hills location, but that's a San Francisco company you're messing with, L.A. Times. We're calling bullcrap on this whole "review piece."
First of all, much like SFist Mary Ladd's excellent point about Bill Addison's over-taqueria-ing in the Chron a little while ago, you're not being fair to any of the sampled products by tasting 13 of them at once. This is hogwash. Coffee is complex, and those complexities are often subtle; would you lend any credibility to a similar article tasting 13 types of Zinfandel in one sitting? We don't think so.
Second beef: The article says the coffees were "all brewed identically in French presses." Any true coffeephile knows that flavor profiles of different beans/brands/blends are optimized differently, even if all purport to be "French Roast." An additional or reduced volume of ground coffee, a hotter or cooler brew temperature, more or less steep time, a slightly coarser or finer grind -- slight differences in any of these factors could highlight one or two of these 13 products and mask the finer qualities of many of the others. Would you prepare every type of heirloom tomato the same way? No! French Roast is just a ; an important designation that, however, does not make it okay to prepare the same way across the board.