Sweet Maria's Weblog

Dropping the Kenya coffee bomb ... new crop is here.

It's a fantastic day ... the day I get to announce that new crop Kenya coffees have arrived. And we are dropping this Kenya bomb to maximum effect: THREE new auction lot peaberry coffees all at once, heralding in what I think is an epic year of great Kenya coffees. Kenya Nyeri Peaberry -Mutwewathi Factory, a floral cup with apple-apricot compote and pink-grapefruit flavors. Kenya Kirinyaga Peaberry -Gakuyu-ini Factory, a fruit-bomb with complex lemon flavors followed by raisin and grape when it cools. Kenya Kiambu Peaberry -Ndumberi Coop, the cup is a delicate balance between bright fruit and refined sugar, with a pepper accent. Click-through to the full reviews for more cupping notes and farm facts.

Coffee Cultivar Conversation in Panama

At the Best of Panama competition, a very interesting conversation about coffee varietals ... and a lousy looking video. Sorry about the lameness - I was more engrossed in the conversation than making it look good.

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).