Nutty Coffee! Are nuts good? Sure, but in coffee? Are nut flavors just a function of a lighter roast? Well, partially, but it's about the coffee too. And lots from very different origins have different types of nut flavors. For this selection, we chose two extremes, even though they are neighbors. The frigid, highest reaches of Bolivia (remember, La Paz is the world's highest capital city) are so extremely different than the warm, rolling plains of Brazil's Minas Gerais state, but both coffees have nutty character. And yet they display it in completely different ways against a completely different backdrop of flavors. This week we roasted Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi and Brazil Cerrado DP Fazenda Aurea. Both coffees were kept light, in the City+ range. Each batch took about 15 minutes to roast and we used a profile that builds heat steadily through the first 2/3 of the roast cycle and then dialed it way down to ease through first crack. The Brazil was finished when the thermoprobe read 427-430 depending on the batch and the Bolivia finished a tad earlier around 425 degrees via thermoprobe. We were definitely trying to keep these coffees on the nutty side and stay away from the chocolate flavors that admittedly add a nice balance to both of these coffees when roasted to FC+ or therabouts. But we are nuts for light roasted coffee here at SM's (hee hee) and wanted to highlight the lovely, malty nuttiness in the Brazil, and the more floral, vanilla bean nutty flavor in the Bolivia. Hope you enjoy it; if you don't, you're nuts.
Sweet Maria's Weblog
I am off for an action-packed pre-ship cupping trip of Central America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua in 7 days. Whew. Mostly, this is to select micro lots and cup coffees that are nearly ready to ship. It will be a lot of cuppings with farmers we already work with and coffee "projects" we set up before the season. One thing I can note here, we are going to cut back a bit on the dry-process Centrals this year. That was "so last season" as the kids say. We'll have them for sure, just not to the degree of 2008. It was fun to have that little dance with the devil, to cross the line into bright, clean, fruity, unconventional coffees, but I think we need to put the DP Central thing into it's correct place. We look to these countries for their beautiful, clean, bright wet-process coffees, not to compete with Harar and Yemen. Unless I can get some internet on the road, I leave you with this youtube gem, a student video from Syracuse U. reimagining coffee cupping as a kind of "Woody Allen in Sleeper/2001 A Space Odyssey" quality assurance lab flight-of-fantasy. It's a hoot: ... and check out the "video responses, hee-hee"
I had some interesting footage of the Kenya auction, and the amazing sampling room upstairs. Yes, those auction sound effects are real! I did not dub in sound from a '70s PONG video game! -Tom
This is a monologue, quick and easy video done with a flip camera, showing coffee cherry fresh from the tree, and then discussing the resulting processing options; dry-process, pulp natural, wet-process, forced demucilage. It's not that pretty, but some good information. Sorry the background music interferes a little. I was trying to make it a tad more palatable! -Tom NOTE: tried to fix music, so these embeds are new files! Part 1 Part 2
I finished (sorta) a long pictorial and commentary compiled from my travel notes in Ethiopia the past few weeks. There's a few good points in there, and if you have time to kill, check it out.