Last week we talked about the City Roast, that would indicate that the only logical thing to do this week is to continue the series and talk about the distinctly different City+ roast.
The slight difference between City & City+ roast contributes to why I struggle to answer the common question, "What is my best 'light' roast coffee." These are both on the lighter side of the roasting process and yet have a very different flavor profile. City+ is a very versatile roast level, and a ton of coffees have great flavor at this level. However, within the 3rd wave community, it is considered a medium roast. That goes back to what I talked about in my City Roast post as it relates to the super light roasted coffees that are popular. They tend to be more sour / 'baked' and have a bitter flavor that more people do not enjoy at first. If you are newer to fresh roasted, 3rd wave coffee, I would start with City+ roasts because the Maillard reaction has developed more caramelization within the been. Unless of course, your coffee comes from that hugely popular coffee shop with the green logo, then you're used to burnt coffee and may need something a little darker.
As I said before, this is a versatile roast level, but not always optimal. Meaning that a lot of coffees taste good this way, but not all coffees are at their best with a City+ roast. At this level, you lose some of the sour / 'baked' light roast flavors. If done right, you haven't yet lost some of the uniqueness of the cup and get the local flavors that we try to develop in the beans.
We use all five senses to determine the roast level. Sight: Slight splotches with white stripe in crack Sound: 10-60 seconds after the first crack. Taste: Bright, sweet and juicy, less sour than City. Smell: Sweet, Floral depending on bean Touch: Still uneven, no shininess at all.
As some of you may know, Ethiopian coffees are always my favorite. A dry-processed, fruit forward Ethiopian bean is always a winner in my book. For many years, they have been the world's best-reviewed single-origin premium coffee beans. As the 5th largest coffee producer in the world, Ethiopia has mastered the art of harvesting and processing the beans and the flavor profiles are perfectly complex and delicious.