Sweet Maria's Weblog

Roast Coffee Pairing #11: Andean Neighbors

I was looking at Google Earth and pondering the relationship between the excellent coffees of Northern Peru and the odd absence of Ecuadorean coffee in the United States. We have a really nice lot from Ecuador now, the Puyamgo Loja, so things are changing indeed; but the potential of Ecuador coffee, at least in terms of small lots from particular regions, has not been fully developed. From the north of Peru, we have the Peru FTO San Ignacio Cajamarca region coffee. Geographically these coffees are not that far from each other, and are grown in similar terrain. But the differences in flavor offer 2 interesting interpretations of an Andean coffee appellation.  The Peru has a wonderful candy-like sweetness when kept in the City+ range and that's what we were shooting for here, final roast times were around the 14:30 minute mark with final thermoprobe temperatures right around 427 degrees.  The Ecuador is a more balanced cup at City+ with a wide range of flavors harmoniously working together to satisfy--again we went for City+ with roast times in the 14-15 minute range and final thermoprobe temperatures of 428 degrees.  Checking back two days after roasting I am very impressed with the Ecuador lot we just brewed up here in the warehouse.  Yesterday on barely 24 hours rest the cup was a little bitter, and not quite as developed as it is today.  As I take my last sip I can taste the wonderful combination of bright alto notes and the nice body that makes this a really great "drinking" coffee.  What do you mean, all coffee is for drinking isn't it?  Well, yes, however some origins excel at producing great mild coffees that have the right touch of both sweetness and heft.  Hope you enjoy two great lots from  these Andean neighbors, we already new Peru could produce stellar lots to rival pricey Colombian coffees, now we must recognize the potential for Ecuador to join the party!

Los resultados ... Best of Panama 2009

So we finished the Best of Panama competition this afternoon with an unusual twist: re-roasting and re-cupping the top 8 coffees. There was enough concern on the jury about variations in the roast levels that some felt they could not judge the coffee fairly. One was quite light, several a bit dark. But the fact is, these were a very difficult set of samples to roast. A pacamara, 2-3 geisha, some miel coffees, and one really weird low grown lot. Nobody is quite sure how that slipped in... Anyway, Maria noted the results at the award ceremony as best she could while I chased around after Ben: 10. Callejon Estate -Alvado 9. Cafe valentine 8. Lerida Estate -Collins 7. Kotawa -Koyner 6. Cafe Ole -Monchi 5. Elida Estate -Lamastus 4. Carmen Estate Paso Ancho -Carlos 3. Don Gulliano - Gonzalo Rojas (Pmara) 2. Gesha Carleda 1. Esmeralda Especial Gesha So it's not a huge surprise, Esmeralda entered again after a hiatus and won. Their Gesha lot was truly spectacular next to the other 2 in the top 10 coffees. This is a rough list with a few misspellings for sure - So after a couple weeks on the road it's back to California tomorrow and back SM on Monday! -Tom

a nice time in costa rica, off to panama...

after a week in el salvador i flew over to costa rica to meet up with maria and ben - a rare family coffee trip in one of the best countries for such a thing! we are headed to panama in the morning, and i will be cupping in the competition. the 4 barrel-ers are here too, jeremy, his wife laura and son rogan, along with phil anacker and we will all head to panama, with our friend francisco mena. the past few days here have been nice. the rains have definitely started which helps trigger the coffee flowers to bloom. and by the looks of the flowering, next year should be a much bigger (and easier to harvest) crop than the one being processed now. But on the cupping table the shipping samples of our lots have been really stellar. and with the special packaging we are doing they should arrive in great condition (about 3 weeks or so from this writing).

Two new oddball t-shirts!

We have our own ideas when it comes to tshirts. We like the art we find when traveling to coffee origins, folksy stuff. The green shirt shown above is from beauty shop (they call them "Saloons" there) Tom took near the town of Karatina, Kenya. The orange "Double Expresso" shirt is a drawing of Tom's own creation... what can I say. Expresso is so hard to find these days!  - Maria

Roast Coffee Pairing #10: Raisin Coffee

Raisin coffee is a term for dry-processing, where the coffee is allowed to dry (partially or wholy) on the tree, before it is picked. It is only possible in a few coffee growing areas where the weather changes dramatically, where the dry season starts when the coffee is ripe on the tree. In the past, picking dried coffee from the tree was reserved for the end of the season, when all coffee cherries, ripe or not, dried or not, are "strip-picked" off the branches indiscriminately. This is called the Repela, or Rebusca in some places, the final harvest, and the quality of this coffee is very low. But a true Raisin coffee is picked with care, choosing only uniformily "tree-dried" cherries that have a raisin-like brown appearance. The cherries are then carefully sorted to remove defect or under-ripe coffee. A true Raisin coffee takes a lot of work. We have two lots from Brazil, one that is a special project on a designated plot of a larger fazenda, the Brazil Moreninha Formosa Raisin Coffee Microlot. The other is from a very large coffee farming operation, not a micro-lot at all: Brazil Ipanema Tree-Dry Process. The fruity flavors associated with tree-dry coffee, from the longer contact the fruit and skin has with the coffee seed inside, is much more apparent in the Moreninha, but both feature heavy body, low acidity, chocolate roast taste, and a very pleasurable tasting experience.  As for the roast level, I really tried to push the Ipanema right up to the Full City+ level with a few snaps of second crack heard as the beans hit the cooling tray, this ended up being nearly 450 degrees by thermoprobe.  For the Moreninha I wanted to ensure that the fruitiness was still evident so I ended those batches safely in the Full City range at 445 degrees.  Since I was roasting slightly smaller batches than normal the roast times were right around 14 minutes.