Sweet Maria's Weblog

Roast Coffee Pairing #13: Battle of the Lightweights

Mexico, Honduras; two origins with sullied reputations for quality coffee. Most know Mexican coffee, Oaxaca and Chiapas in particular. But there are few small "Estate" type farms in Mexico that focus on quality. Instead, the better coffees come from vast cooperatives of small-holder farmers. Honduras has both small single-family farms with their own mills, and a strong cooperative system in the Marcala region, where most of our lots originate. So what is the quality potential?  First up we have a new lot:  Mexico Organic Chiapas Proish Coop. this cup has a clean fruited character with a touch of cherry vanilla flavor, we went for a City+ roast to highlight the refined character of this coffee.   The Mexico is paired with Honduras FTO Marcala -Beneficio Santa Rosa a more nutty flavor profile with a bit of apple acidity.  We roasted this one in the Full City range to bring out the cocoa powder flavors that compliment the cup so well.  This week we were trying for 16 minute roast times and the final thermoprobe temperatures were in the 432-435 range for both coffees.   Here is my straight-talk for these origins: "Mexico, Honduras, let's be frank. You will never be Kenya, a bright and intensely powerful coffee. But your clean, light-bodied, simple flavor profile can be a nice relief from the overbearing flavors of other origins, of earthy and pungent Sumatras, bright Yirga Cheffe from Ethiopia, leathery Yemens. So keep it up!"

Sumatra and some new Decafs!

We have 3 new coffees, here they are with a brief description from the review: Mexico Oaxaca Pluma WP Decaf, everyone's favorite region Oaxaca, only available in decaf but a nice balanced Oax profile. Colombia WP Decaf -Huila Excelso, a great Huila offering that rivals its caffeinated version! Last, we have a properly caffeinated Sumatra Sidikalang, akin to a less herbal version of a sweet Lintong type Indonesian. See our "New Coffee RSS" for direct links ... over there yonder in the right column...

New crop Costa Rica Herbazu & the last Kona

Two arrivals mark a first and a last. The first of many new crop Costa Rica lots is here from Cafetalera Herbazu, a fully washed coffee with prickly acidity, so bright and lively it might inspire an aria or two.. And the last Kona of the year, another excellent lot from Kowali Farm in Honaunau area of the Kona coast has arrived and is cupping very, very well. -Tom

The Frozen Coffee Cherry Experiment

Because I have so much spare time and hardly any coffee samples are arriving at this time of year (LOL) I took on the crazy frozen coffee cherry experiment. These are 07-08 harvest coffee fruits that were picked ripe and frozen whole. I had tried cupping thisnonce before and nearly vomitted but the results from these 6 samples by Aida at Kilimanjaro were really nice. I was surprised mostly by the body. Tons of it. No doubt there has been some physical breakdown of the coffee that results in more solids iin the cupbut the flavors were good. Funky but good. - Tom

Sale on Panama Esmeralda and Guatemala El Injerto...

I have had the opportunity to cup our Hacienda Esmeralda Gesha vac pack lots (#2, #10) from last year against the new crop, and was surprised at the quality of the '08 coffees. I took the most expensive coffee from the '09 auction home for the weekend, and brewing it every which way, I made coffee I thought was "nice" but nothing that really popped out, nothing I would pay $117 a pound for! It made me think about what I really would pay for a very special coffee, and during the long Memorial Day weekend I came up with a figure, $45 per pound, as a reasonable amount for really top notch, award winning coffee. At that rate, each cup is about $2, which seems like a fair price. And if I roasted a batch that really "nailed it on the head" and another that was a shade too dark, or too light, I wouldn't be all broken up about it. So I decided, given the fact we have a few expensive coffees in vacuum pack that are not selling in this down economy, why not have a $45/Lb. sale? We are offering our formerly $125 Panama Esmeralda Gesha Lot 2 for $45/Lb (without the pound of Lot 10 we were previously pairing it with), and we also have the $92 Guatemala Cup of Excellence #1, El Injerto Pacamara, a blistering-good coffee, at $45 per Lb. We are also reducing the price on Panama Esmeralda Gesha Lot 10 to $13/Lb in anticipation of the '09 lot we bought, which will sell for around $35 per Lb when it arrives. We bought only about 300 pounds of Esmeralda in the auction this year. We have cupped all of these vacuum pack coffees and they are fresh as they day they came in!