Sweet Maria's Weblog

Hyenas of Harar #2

Hyenas of Harar #2, originally uploaded by sweetmarias. My full photoset of Harar Pictures is available on our site!
The pack in Harar has been fed for 50 years by the Hyena Man (2generations of Hyena Men, to be correct). They also come into town through "Hyena Hole", a gap in the wall surrounding the Jogol, the old town. While they are dangerous and wild, they are pack animals, and highly adaptable. So the feeding of them seems partcularily tame. But there are hyena attacks on children, as you will see when I photographed a 10 year old victim who survived (my full pictorial coming soon.) They will take young children and simply disappear to the mountains. This happened 2 weeks before in the region of Hararghe where I went to meet the small farmers.

Ethiopia Organic DP - Dale Yirga Alem

Better late than never...This was quite a treat to roast and is a fine example of a dry process Ethiopia coffee.  Perhaps some of you have had a chance to roast the Wet Process Koratie we have on offer, becuase that would draw a nice contrast to this particular coffee.  I pushed this roast right up to the Full City+ level with final temperatures in the 438-442 degree range.  Lighter roasts of this coffee explode with blueberry and the darker roasts bring out bittersweet chocolate notes, so my goal was to have the best of both worlds.  Again, we combined a few different roast levels to achieve this goal and I think the results were pretty great.

Costa Rica Helsar "Typica Villalobos"

This week we decided to do a combo of roast levels.  With four total batches needed I took two of them up to 435 degrees and two of them to 430 degrees, then blended them all together.  The resultant cup should have a great balance of apple notes and low acidity.  Again, we used the trusty "build up momentum slowly then cut the heat" profile that has been working so well lately.  This style of roast is very similar to the method we used when roasting the other Helsar a few weeks back.  Can you tell that we're a little gonzo for Helsar here?  Enjoy.

A post from Rwanda

Well, we finished the judging of the 2008 Rwanda Cup of Excellence, the first COE ever held in Africa. We did all the judging in Huye, Butare, near many coffee farms and mills. I always prefer to have the cuppings in the coffee areas, as opposed to the big city (I guess it is a stretch to call the capital, Kigali, a big city). Nobody has posted results yet, but here are the top 5: 1. MIG Buremera 2. Facko Rulindo 3. MIG Buremera 4. SDL Minazi 5. SDL Muyongwe 6. Kabuye Maraba 7. Bufcafe Remera 8. Coopac Kabirizi 9. MIG Buremera 10. Horizon Nyamyumba Ok ... what the heck? These are the names of washing stations, i.e. wet mills. The first is the name of the mill group, and the second is the area. In Rwanda, farmers tend to have around 300 trees. Trees! That makes them some of the smallest farms in any coffee producing area. Each winning lot, about 15 bags (60 kg) of green, are the work of anywhere from 60 to 250 farmers! There is going to be a huge effort to distribute the auction proceeds to all these little farmers. (The auction is in October). You might notice the name Bufcafe, because we have offered this coffee several times, including the one we won #2 at in the SCAA Roasters Choice competition. There were also some amazing lots that were kicked out due to one defect cup ... one cup of over 100 tested. So we are going to bid on those too, because they would have been top 10 coffees otherwise. Here's a picture of a local business in Huye. I uploaded more to flickr too ... but I am off to Harar region of Ethiopia now, so the full trip report for this historic COE event will not be uploaded for a week or more... Tom (from Novotel Hotel, Kigali Rwanda) Smart Saloon, Cyber Cafe, Huye