I usually buy French Roast coffee because I like the flavor in my drip maker and it make very good espresso. Recently I bought some green beans from Flores Island (where the Human Hobbit was discovered a few years ago) at my local coffee roaster. Last week, I roasted them to what I would consider French Roast, very dark brown and shiny, using my hot-air corn popper. This made one of the best cups of espresso I've ever had. Last night, I did this again, but with a twist. I'm not a fan of flavored coffees, although I do like to add a bit of Bailey's after dinner sometimes. I measured out the amount of beans needed for a pot of espresso and put them in my blade grinder. Before grinding, I added a pinch of fennel seed (about a dozen or so seeds) and proceeded with grinding and brewing. The difference was subtle - no distinct licorice flavor, but an enhanced mouthfeel that hit all over the mouth, like a well made wine. The mouthfeel of the regular French Roast seemed to focus on the center of the tongue. The one with the fennel seed hit evenly, all over the tongue, including the sides, like a well made wine. As a preliminary to this, yesterday morning I used the same beans to make a pot of drip coffee and added 1/4 tsp of fennel seed to the grind (my drip coffee maker uses about 3X the amount of coffee as the espresso maker). This had a distinct licorice flavor, that, while drinkable, was not all to my liking. So, a little goes a long way. The tiny bit added to the espresso was very good, but a bit more added was not.
Chico - Hey! This Bottle is empty!
Groucho - That's because it's dry Champagne.