Contact UsStanford Sierra Conference Center
P.O. Box 10618
South Lake Tahoe, CA 96158 Physical Address:
130 Fallen Leaf Road
Fallen Leaf, CA 96150
We love coffee! Many of us cannot start a great day without our morning ritual of imbibing a cup of the revered bean.No matter how excellent, sustainable, micro-lot, direct-trade sourced the coffee in the bag is, the ultimate determining factor of its enjoyment in your cup is defined by the roast. Here’s a quick guide to roast degrees and their attributes: First Crack - Light (Third Wave / Artisan): Dry bean surface, cinnamon to light brown in color. Minimal point of development for enjoyable consumption. Best representation of country of origin’s terroir. Accents coffee’s varietal qualities and subtleties of flavor, but often lacks good body and richness. This roast can be over-acidic, disrupting the balance of flavor. Highest degree of caffeine and potentially gastric disturbing acidic compounds. City (medium): Dry bean surface. Light to medium brown in color. Full and balanced representation of the coffee’s true flavor characteristics in all their glory. Good body, true acidity and outstanding flavors. High degree of caffeine, with reduced gastric disturbing acidic compounds. Full-City: Slight spotting of oils on surface, darker brown. Believed by many, including this author, to be the best all around roast degree for full spectrum coffee enjoyment. All of the attributes of medium roast plus enhanced richness from a slight carmelization of sugars, which adds intensity and richness to the cup, especially aftertaste, which is critical and indicative to quality coffee and expert roasting. Dark: Dark brown to black with shiny, oily beans. This is a broad, high temperature range of development, which starts with Vienna on the lightest side (medium dark) and ranges up to French and beyond for Full Dark. Italian Roast is regarded as the darkest degree for the east coast, USA, and French Roast as the darkest on the west coast. Full carmelization of sugars creates the greatest intensity in the cup, and all but mutes truer terroir attributes. The darker the roast is, the greater its intensity becomes, with much less actual flavor in the cup, due to more carbon (flavorless) conversion of the bean’s cellulose. All degrees of roast, single origin and blended coffees, can be brewed by any manner suiting the coffee drinker. Espresso does not have to be extracted with a Dark Italian Roast, nor does a pour-over cone drip brew need to be prepared using a First Crack roasted single origin bean. Although, there are brewing applications which tend to best accentuate specific types of roast, and those we all are witnessing in today’s dynamic specialty coffee scene. The veteran's of the industry are well known and have been roasting mostly dark for decades. The roster includes the ever-populars: Peet's, Starbucks, Cafe Roma, Tully's, et al. The newcomers, which are quantified as the Third-Wave roasters, who proselytize the one and only roast for coffee is the First Crack (light) roast, are taking the specialty industry by storm and upping the information game and artisanal, culinary level of experience. These attention-to-detail organizations include Blue Bottle, Verve, Four Barrel, and a whole and ever-increasing host of new players. The aforementioned companies comprise each end of the roast spectrum, offering something for very distinct target markets, but provide little in the way of roast degree variety. To be recognized and celebrated, are the "classic" roasters, who offer a variety of roast degrees, based upon what best represents the particular coffee's origin and varietal cultivar. These roasters, definitely artisans in their own right, include experts, such as Intelligenstia, Stumptown and Weaver's Coffee and Tea, to name a few. Alpen Sierra, Lake Tahoe's local classic specialty coffee roaster, is a proud purveyor of small batch roasted coffee for Stanford Sierra Camp. For the guest's enjoyment, the team at the Fountain and in the dining room, serve many coffees, which include the Full Dark traditional French Roast, Medium Dark Italian Roast for the espresso, a Full-City Certified Organic Mexico, a Viennese Brazil Yellow Bourbon, and a Medium Decaffeinated Colombia. Over the season take a gander and enjoy the variety of Alpen Sierra Mountain Roasted coffees!