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Is 89C the new 96C?


I’ve noticed a trend among some coffee roasters recently, that may reflect where the coffee market is heading. When you’re advised to brew coffee at a temperature cooler than the World Barista Championship has recommended for the last 15+ years, it’s a negative trend in coffee quality. Why? It’s harder to explain than I thought!


When roasting coffee for espresso, the goal is to enhance the best flavours in the coffee. You aim for those dreamy and sometimes exotic fruits to come through and taste as good as possible. In other coffees, you want solid chocolate and maybe even nutty flavours. These coffees don’t have to be roasted dark to taste good or work with dairy or non-dairy.


With more people drinking coffee and climate change affecting coffee harvests, the best coffee harvests are becoming limited, and the costs of producing quality coffee are rising. Does this suggest that roasting darker is the new trend? Are we going full circle? I understand that not everyone wants to taste the boundaries of where coffee can go, but is the coffee “industry” helping itself by becoming generic and ordinary in this way?


Maybe it doesn’t matter and coffee is just coffee, in the same way that wine and cheese are both just wine and cheese.


I didn’t enjoy writing the last line, as much as you hated reading it.