Look for: Brown sugar, milk chocolate, hazelnut/almond nuttiness. Sweet, very mild acidity.
I started working with a roasting company in 1998 near Portland Oregon. I was a whelp of 17 and it was the beginning of an era in specialty coffee that many people, (in & outside of the industry) remember as being marked by rude baristas and ever-lightening roast profiles.
This was in Oregon of course, and many people all over the world were, and had been roasting lighter for a long time. But it felt new to us at the time.
I can remember when roast profile was a clear and (we thought) trustworthy class-differentiator. We were the light-roasters. They were the dark-roasters. Us. Them. Elves. Goblins.
I waited until 2012 to roast anything that even brushed up against second-crack, and as soon as I did it was an obvious hit. Because people--real people--like darker roasted coffees. It came as a great shock to me. It's called Benevolence and it remains one of our top sellers company-wide.
I think because I came into adulthood in the context of specialty coffee, and because we always had what amounted to pretty amazing coffees just laying around, (I'm looking at you 1999 Harrar Horse...), I came to see them as daily-drinkers, and I missed out a little bit on developing the ability to enjoy a simpler cup of coffee.
In the following years, as my business developed a more robust wholesale program I saw clearly the need for coffees that were excellent AND predictable. (I'm not looking at Harrar Horse on that one...). And I learned more fully the difference between TASTING coffees and DRINKING coffees.
Finally, this year, (2018) we've developed the darkest coffee we've ever roasted--Road Trip. It was initially at the behest of a single wholesale customer, but if I'm honest with you it's spread pretty quickly throughout the rest of the company.
It's been a challenge, but a treat to craft a coffee that roasts into second crack! It's not the same as a lighter roasted coffee blend. We don't just take the coffees we use for Benevolence and turn 'em browner. It's a new learning process. It's been infuriating for me in some moments, because especially earlier on I felt like I was grasping in the darkness--I didn't even know what exactly I was looking for... Let alone how to find it!
But today I'm pretty happy with what we've developed, and I think you will be, too!