Light roast coffee: love it or hate it? Yes.

The first time I had a light roast coffee and liked it was when Starbucks introduced the Veranda/True North blend from Starbucks. It’s by far my favourite of their standard coffees, and it’s a blonde roast. Prior to that, I loathed anything labeled ‘light roast’ or ‘breakfast blend.’

A lot of these ‘third wave’ coffee roasters roast lightly. The distinguishing characteristic of third wave coffee shops is their focus on the farmer and origin of the coffee. At the far opposite end of the scale with Italian/French roasts, the domninant flavour is roastiness.

I love the flavour of some darker roasts, and others I find abhorrently burnt. I love the flavour of some light roasts, and for others the second half of the cup is nasty and sour. I want to like light roast coffee, but I’m not sure yet what the factors are that make one kind taste good, and the other bad.

Is it all in the roast? Does the region matter? Is it my brew method that’s the problem? Are there certain varietals that are more delicious than others? And where are the people who are tasting all kinds of different coffees and talking about them? I feel like all I encounter is either people who are fanatically in love with a kind of coffee (e.g. third wavers), people who hate on what’s popular (e.g. Tim Hortons), and people who just have a preference, but not a range of experience (e.g. “I only like the dark roasts at Starbucks”).

Where are the people who are trying everything with reckless abandon? Are they all done with that now that they’ve found what they like? Did they all graduate to roasting their own coffee beans?

I can’t say yet whether I like light/blonde roasts as a category. There’s definitely one I like, and many I dislike. There’s probably a straight road to sorting out what the source of that difference is, but I think I’ve got more meandering to do before I find it.

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