TIL: Relation between colonialism, trade, and bad coffee in France

French coffee shop owner Aleaume Paturle explains that in the past coffee from French colonies could be imported back to France duty-free, and the crop planted in places like Vietnam and Laos was the Robusta variety rather than the more prized Arabica.

Robusta, as the name suggests, is more hardy but the taste isn’t as rich and sometimes it’s over-roasted to give it more aroma. In general this makes for a more bitter, rougher taste, more notes of burnt wood and ashtray than chocolate or vanilla.

— Inrng, in Café Culture in France

All the same if you buy some Segafredo in Italy it tends to have this same taste, compared to the smoother varieties from Lavazza or Illy.

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