When we first started roasting coffee, we offered no dark roast. We held out for a year, but had so many requests for one, we had to relent. The problem–besides getting past our aesthetic objections–was coming up with blends and profiles that were tasty enough to put our name on. A coffee bean has all sorts of subtle contributors to flavor, and high heat and longer roast profiles literally send them up the chimney. And when inexpensive beans are used–low-grown and relatively boring Central or South American origins–as is usually the case, the result is quite poor. Beans that don’t start out with good density and character simply deteriorate to charcoal, and that’s what you taste in your mug. Unfortunately, there are myriad examples of such coffees out there. We attempt to create blends that exhibit the pungent aromatics and semi-sweet, baker’s chocolate accents that lots of folks like in a dark roast, without being too bitter and burnt-tasting. The beans are mahogany brown, not black.
Oh–and who is Sock Saunders? See Louis Dickinson Rich, We Took to the Woods, p. 197.