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French Blend
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French Blend

“Nous voila, Lafayette (Lafayette, we are here!“) *

The 1880’s were a big decade for Gustave Eiffel.  He designed the support structure for Auguste Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty, soon to rise in New York, and a tower in Paris, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the French Revolution, that bears his name.

In 1980, Georges Hauguel, President of Coffea, the great French roasting retailer of that generation, based in La Havre visited Gillies in New York. He saw a sign that said French Blend, and putting both lands into the waiting roast he pulled out a double handful of dark beans. He looked at the beans, looked at me, and said, "Don. This is not French. This is burnt.” And, with that my education in the ways of French style torrefaction (roasting) began. 

My first visit to France was that year, when I travelled with Pierre Auerbach to visit the operations of Coffea, throughout France. By the time I returned to Gillies I had absorbed much that would influence the way I roasted coffee, particularly our style of roasting coffee for French espresso, Cafe filter, and cafetière à piston (French Press). The first blend that I refashioned in the image of what I had learned was Gillies’ French Blend.

Mellow Brazils with just a hint of walnut shell and old-crop Arabica Milds are roasted together to obtain a rich chestnut brown color, with a broad bean sheen. The cup has a caramel-like quality, with that distinctive and elusive peek-a-boo of walnut in the Brazils, and a brown-sugar, vanilla toffee finish. Designed originally for the Melior® brand cafetière à piston, it brews a simple pleasurable strait espresso. French holds up well to steamed milk, and it makes an enjoyable Cafe filtre too. Rich Dark Roast™ -DNS

* said at the grave of Lafayette, Paris France, July4, 1917 by Lt Col Charles Stanton, on the General Staff of the recently landed American Expeditionary Force, WWI.


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