Sweet Maria's Weblog

Mexico FTO Chiapas - La Union Coop

This week's Roastmaster coffee is a fine pooled lot from Chiapas that boasts a balanced sweet cup and can take a wide range of roasts. The first batch we roasted seemed to hit first crack rather violently, I missed backing off the heat right at 380 degrees like we've been doing and waited until 385. This caused the coffee to enter first crack with too much momentum resulting in a loud snap around 415, which is a bit later than most other coffees. For subsequent batches I was more on target and even pulled the heat back a little before it reached 380, first crack was still very loud and snappy which leads us to think the moisture content of this coffee is a touch lower than some of our other lots. Basically, roasting isn't an exact science, as you all know, each time out you need to get in "synch" with the coffee you are roasting and sometimes it takes a batch to do that. We settled on a roast in the CIty++/Full CIty range which meant a final thermoprobe temperature of 430 degrees.

Ethiopia Organic Sidamo DP Special Prep.

This Sidamo was taken to 438 degrees for a Full City roast. We used a profile that started with the heat at a very low setting then bumped it up as the coffee began to yellow. We then cut the heat dramatically near first crack, which draws out the roast and lengthens the amount of time it takes to complete first crack, especially on this dry processed coffee. Remember to cull out the lightest colored beans, called quakers, and enjoy the rustic blueberry and apricot notes in this outstanding lot. We've been enjoying the test roasts in our Technivorm here at the warehouse and hope that you like the results on the Probat.

a great assortment of new lots

Today I am listing a great assortment of new lots.
  • Perhaps the most unusual is Costa Rica RIP Red Honey Coffee. RIP? Roasted In Parchment. This coffee has not been dry-milled, the green bean is still in the outer shell. In perhaps the wackyest moment in Sweet Maria's history, we discovered you can roast coffee in the parchment shell, and it has a very unusual flavor. This is for experts only, since you can't really see the green coffee as it turns brown. See the review and the pictures of the RIP process.
  • Not quite as "out there" is our new lot of Kenya Thika Chania - French Mission Cultivar. This is a coffee lot from the original French Bourbon varietal as it was brought to Kenya by French priests in 1893, and it as a unique cup character.
  • Some will think I have gone to "the dark side" by offering a Hawaii coffee that is not a small-farm Kona. But we found the Ka'u coffees from south of Kona on the Big Island have greatly improved in recent years, none more than Hawaii Ka'u Wet-Process -Will & Grace Farm. We also got some miniscule lots from them of hand-processed Ka'u Dry-Process and Pulp Natural NanoLot coffees. Yes, NanoLots. Sub-MicroLots. Read the commentary for these...
  • For those who must have monsooned coffee in their espresso blend, we have a fine new lot of India Monsooned Malabar AA
  • Our Classic Mandheling is gone but we have a really good, traditional Grade One Lot to back it up: Sumatra Gr. 1 Mandheling. The preparation isn't pretty, but the cup has true Mandheling origin character.
  • And we have a nice lot of Sumatra Mandheling WP Decaf that scores quite well alongside it's non-decaf counterpart.

panama boquete golden peaberry

I have no idea what makes these peaberries golden, they sure don't look like it to me. But I just cupped the production roast (yeah, yeah, with less than 10 minutes of rest out of the roaster), and it sure has a winey fruit note, an maybe it's just language suggestion, but I get golden raisins. I am sure it will change dramatically over time, but it's a good glimpse at what the cup will become with a few days rest. In general, drum roasts emit less CO-2 during the roast process, and in the first 12 hours of post-roast rest. Air roasts "puff" more, and this additional expansion might explain the fact that they de-gas faster. You can see this clearly by brewing a French Press with an air roast vs. a drum roast when the coffee is too fresh, i.e. 10 minutes after roasting. The drum roast will create a rapidly foaming head that will threaten to overflow the carafe. The air roast will foam, but much less. In brewing really fresh coffee, pre-wetting the grinds can help alot, since rapid de-gassing will prevent good extraction/infusion of the coffee and water. Ah, I digress. Panama Boquete Golden Peaberry, 431 f finish temp with the probat curve we have been using as of late... which includes dropping the heat before 1st crack in order to create an extended, slower pop, and lead to a good controlled finish. -Tom

GeshaFest 2008

It's time for GeshaFest 2008. The fabled Panama Esmeralda Estate Gesha (AKA Geisha) auction lots are here, with prices ranging from $10.50 to a trifling $125 per Lb.! Ouch. Is the top lot that good? Yep, highest rating we have ever given a Gesha coffee. It's not for everyone, but we hope offering these 4 distinct lots, at 4 price ranges, everyone can check out the way this special cultivar influences aroma and cup flavors of this unique offering. Rounding out our Gesha offerings for 2008 is the arrival of our Guatemala Acatenango Buena Vista Gesha. We have a very small amount, and the coffee scores slightly lower this year, both the result of wind damage to the trees in storms of late '07. Below, a picture of the Esmeralda Lot 3, Peaberry. It was the smallest lot in the auction, and a modest $66 bucks a pound! We have just 150 Lbs of this lot (as with the $125 per pound Lot 2 - the highest price in the auction!) These 2 lots will come vacuum packed in 1/2 lb bags, and will include a Lb. of the lowest priced Lot 5 for test roasting, and for cupping comparison.Panama Esmeralda Gesha Peaberry Lot 3