Sweet Maria's Weblog

Ethiopia Dale, Classic Italian Espresso, Panama Decaf

I did all the roasting and had a ball ... I really like roasting on the Probat but lately I have so much cupping that it falls into Josh's competent hands. I was really gentle with the Panama Panamaria WP Decaf, and kept it on the light side to preserve the brightness. The Classic Italian is one of our slightly darker espressos, but you also need to have a nice gentle warm-up, bring on the heat around 5-6 minutes, then back off as it approaches first crack in order to have a controlled reaction. In general, I did not have to bring up the heat to reach my target point, which was 460 at 16 minutes. The Ethiopia Dale is dry-processed and, as always, the number of under-developed "quakers" is a bit surprising. I guess when you do small batches in a home roaster or a sample roaster, you don't see the same thing as a bigger 25 Lb batch. I pulled some of the lightest ones manually, and made a note on the label. Still, this is the natural (dry-process) coffee conundrum; there are great coffees that have a lot of under-ripes in there. What should one do? Reject them? For me, when I cup this Dale and there are 7 phenomenal cups, 2 good cups, and 1 with off taste, I will take those odds ... especially knowing that the informed home roaster can pull out a couple quakers without much effort.

Mexico Organic Nayarit Dry-Process

For this dry-process coffee we decided to go for a Full City roast: not quite to second crack and about 438 degrees by thermoprobe.  You might notice some unevenness in roasted bean color which is to be expected in a dry-process lot.  Tom, Derek, and I cupped the test roasts which represented three different levels: City, City+, and FC.  The City+ roast had some good qualities but was ultimately too "winey" while the darker roast revealed nice bittersweet chocolate notes.

cupping in quick time

i took this movie at 1 fps in peru at the "Concurso de Cafe de Calidad" this past week. it starts in round 2 with cupping, then cleanup, setting up the new tables for round 3. I kinda like the dead space in between rounds ... but actually, i had forgot my camera when the jury went off to discuss the round 2 scores, so it was an accident... at the nearest table you can see me, looking kinda scruffy, in the light shirt, and geoff watts from intelligentsia in the dark green shirt, along with maritsa and lourdes, catadores peruanas. -tom ps: I put together this little movie of clips from the peru competition too ... rock out!

Guatemala Huehuetenango "Quetzal Azul"

So, Derek and I tried this Huehue at three different roast levels and both agreed that the lightest was best.  In order to achieve a City level roast on the Probat I took each batch to 428 degrees, with an average time of 15:30.  By the time this coffee reaches you, the customer, it should be ready to drink having rested for at least 48 hours.  The tricky thing about light roasting coffee is that it hits it's "peak" flavor point a good while after it was roasted.  This differs from coffee to coffee but on this particular dense Guatemala lot it will take every bit of two days.  The darker the roast the less amount of time between roasting and peak flavor point.  By the way, since Tom is out visiting farms, we used the trusty Behmor to do our test roasts...I just threw 1/2 pound in on the 1 pound setting, P4 profile, and then tried 20 min, 18 min, and 16 min roasts to achieve three very different roast levels.

New Central Americans and One Outsider.

Before leaving for Peru on Monday, I have some new arrivals to upload. We have quite a few Central American arrivals (5) so let's start with the one outlying coffee: Australia Mountain Top Farm -Bin 478 has more character this year, fruited with rose hips and spice. Back to those Centrals, the Costa Rica Brumas Dry-Process is phenomenal coffee, but expect something more like an Ethiopia Harar than a Costa Rica. It's fruity and chocolaty, not to any ridiculous extreme ... but ... if you want one that is, boy do we have it. Guatemala Oriente Dry-Process is completely over-the-top with a complete fruit salad and super intense chocolate at FC+ roast. Read the review! We have two beautiful El Salvador arrivals, the El Salvador Cup of Excellence -Finca Malacara which was #5 in the competition, and El Salvador Organic -Finca Mauritania a classic cup with sweet delicate fruited flavors and balanced body. Lastly, we have the humble, simple (yet delicious) Mexico Organic Chiapas Proish Coop ... another nice Mexican coffee with another unglamorous name. Thankfully, names don't make coffee taste any worse (or better). Also see the shennanigans of the Costa Rica Micro-Millers visit to Sweet Maria's on Friday. How many cupping have free soccer balls at the end? -Tom