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Supermarket Medium-Roast Coffee

Decades after they convinced Americans to drink ultradark French and Italian roasts, the producers of blackened beans are coming out with lighter options. So how’s the coffee?

What We Learned

Well into the late 1990s, most of the coffee consumed in this country was a medium roast. This was the classic American cup: lighter and more acidic than today’s espresso-dark brew. Lighter coffees prevailed in part because they maximized yield: The less coffee companies roasted the beans the more weight they retained and turned into profit. It took West Coast coffeehouse roasters l...