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September 01, 2009


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Beautiful post Daniel!

Daniel Humphries

Thanks, RJ!

Alex Linebrink

GOOD words! It's soooo frustrating when I meet people who think coffee is supposed to be a bitter drink just because that's all they've ever had. I've managed to convince a few off of their sugar additions with some good, fresh roasts.

Can you talk about the sweetness half-life for coffee after roasting (and according to other timelines) sometime soon? I realize it differs a TON for different coffees, but the difference in sweetness between freshly roasted and even a week old roast is HUGE.

Thanks again Daniel--- you ROCK!

Daniel Humphries

I always tell people that coffee has a natural bitter component, too. If you have ever had pure caffeic acid in solution with water, you will know what I mean. Caffeine is BITTER, as are many of the other compounds in coffee. But the bitterness should not dominate the sweetness. Something can have bitterness and sweetness in it at the same time... they are not mutually exclusive. But, yes, most coffee is unfortunately long on the bitterness and short on sweet.

As for sweetness changing as coffee ages, that's a great question! I'll try to address it soon!


Really looking forward to the post on roasting.



Thank you for this post.

I was at the Intelligentsia Coffee Shop on N Broadway St couple of months back and ordered a shot of Espresso. I went with an expectation that the crema will have sweet notes and the coffee bitter and they both will balance out.

When I slurped the first sip, I was a little surprised as it was really sour and there were not sweet or bitter notes, though the taste lingered for a long time.

Is that how the Black Current tastes?

Daniel Humphries


Yes, sour crema can be quite the unpleasant surprise. It happens to the best coffees sometimes, and to the best baristas. I don't think that the Black Cat is "supposed" to taste like that.

As for the other factors you mention, without tasting it myself it would be hard for me to evaluate it. It's very, very easy to mess up an espresso, even for an excellent company like Intelligentsia. That's what makes it so amazing that they are consistently so excellent!

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