By Kenneth Davids
June 1st, 1999
A deep, resonant pungency envelops the Kenya dry wine and tart berry tones, giving them a sexy fresh-sweat twist. This odd, rough-yet-smooth pungency is a Peet's trade mark, and only occasionally found in coffees dark-roasted by competitors. Here it supports without obliterating the citrus and berry freshness of the Kenya.
Strikingly sweet, with virtually no dark-roast bitterness. The sweetness is agreeably complicated by tart berryish or citrusy tones, but overall the profile seems a bit restrained, a touch limited in range and dimension.
Probably the smoothest, most seamlessly integrated dark-roast blend in the cupping. Preserves distinct acidy tones, but wraps them in dark-roast character, balancing them richly on the cusp between fruity tart and roasty pungent. Softly sweet in finish, without a trace of charred or burned notes.
A clean, sweetly understated acidity complicated by a hint of flowers animates the bittersweetness of the dark roast. Ultimately the bitter tones dominate in finish, however, and intensify as the coffee cools.
The bittersweet paradox is less intense here than in the Jeremiah's Pick French Roast, with a bit more emphasis on the sweet side of the equation and a hint of dry, pruny fruit. The smoothest body of the eight French roasts I cupped, suggesting that the roast drove fewer fats out of the bean.
As usual with most extreme dark-roasted blends sold under the name French roast, no real flavor survives, only competing sensations of bitter and sweet -- in this case inclined more toward the bitter. I preferred this particular "French roast" profile over several others owing to the invigorating intensity of the bittersweetness