Sweet Maria's Weblog
Our new Espresso Workshop #1 -Ophiolite blend is selling so well, I couldn't be more pleased. It seems people understand the inspirational concept behind these espresso "editions," which we offer only as long as the specific ingredient coffees are available. So with that, we are ready to roll out #2! This is dynamic, sparkling-bright espresso in the West Coast style: Espresso Workshop #2 -Auriferous Espresso. Auriferous? We are staying with our geologic theme, and it means "gold-bearing." I thought it suited this blend perfectly. Read more about the new blend
We have several new arrivals. Peru FTO San Ignacio Cajamarca is here, balanced, sweet, with milk chocolate roast tones and soft pear-like fruit notes. Bali Organic "Blue Krishna" Kintamani is quite different from our last lot; it is a wet-processed coffee with a cleaner cup profile and more high-toned flavors overall. And Sumatra Takengon Classic returns, the coffee we formerly called Classic Mandheling, with that brutish, low-acid, heavy-bodied cup, spice, ripe fruit, and a dark tonal range.
In some coffee taster's lexicon, "fruity" means the coffee is tainted with fruit, and "fruited" means a coffee is graced by positive fruit notes. We don't exactly see the difference in terms of these two words, but the question of fruit flavors emerging in a coffee context is critical. Is it a good quality? Is it fresh, aromatic, sweet fruit? Is it ripe, or is it over-ripe, fermenty, vinegary fruit? And there's a side argument as well: did the fruit flavors come from well-prepared coffee, or did it emerge in a process where the coffee had too much contact with the mucilage of the coffee cherry. (This might happen in over-fermenting, in a hybrid process such as Indonesia wet-hulling, or in poorly executed dry-processing). Here we have an example of the wet-hulled Flores, and the dry-processed Bonko Black Sun of Ethiopia. Now obviously, since these are coffees we offer here at Sweet Maria's, we have decided these are both POSITIVE fruit-laden coffees. We want to compare the nature of the fruits in these, and how they come out against the backdrop of other flavors, which are very different in these two lots. To preserve the maximum fruit in the cup, these were both roasted to City+ (medium) ... the Flores to 430f and the Bonko to a mere 423f. The fruit of the Flores appears in a low acid context, and the roast flavor from the lighter roast is more "nut and mild caramel" than the chocolate bittersweets that would emerge if we took it to 440f or so. It's a slightly pulpy fruit, not so aromatic, a little flat (is that the expression of the low acidity though? I think so). The Ethiopia Bonko Black Sun has a more sweet, jammy fruited aromatic. Still, this more articulate and higher toned fruit (against a more acidic backdrop) is on the rustic end ... this is a ripe fruitiness. It's a bit winey too, but vinegary wine? No! Of these two, I would say the Flores Manggarai is more edgy, more fruity rather than fruited, to use other peoples language. Both of these fruity coffees derive from processing, but not mis-processing. And both do not fall into the category of fermenty, vinegar or sour rotten fruit. Believe me, I have cupped a lot of those, and am happy to spare you the pain. (But... our next "Thumbs Down" selection will be a fermenty Ethiopia Dry-Process coffee, so if you want to experience a coffee that has "crossed the line", check back in a month or so.)
The door is closing on holiday ordering, but I must extend a proverbial foot into the jamb and add these new coffees:
El Salvador Finca Kilimanjaro; I was trying to stash this vacuum packed gem for late season, but there has been too much demand. If you know this special coffee from years past, all I can say is it's fantastic once again, many say better than last year.
Colombia "Los Pijaos de Tolima" (3 Star); a blend that we build one tiny lot at a time through ourdirect trade program. Tolimas have been consistently my favorite Colombias in recent harvests
Colombia Organic "Union de Nariño" (3 Star); our first certified organic Farm Gate coffee from Colombia, built from micro-lots in the town of La Union. Both these lots were shipped vacuum packed, and are vibrantly fresh.
Kenya AB Auction Lot #768 -Rukira; Our very last main crop auction lot Kenya until new crop, vivid fruits, and mercifully moderate acidity.
Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar; A specific type of coffee shrub from the Lintong area, this was something I found on my recent trip there. It has a classic cup, intense, brutish, potent ... and is quite different from other Lintong coffees.
Espresso Workshop #1 - The Ophiolite Blend; I am really excited about this blend, and our new espresso approach. We are dividing our blends into "Standards", blends we maintain consistently, and these Espresso Workshop "editions", things I have hammered out in the cupping lab above the offices here at Sweet Maria's. These are lot-specific offerings, meaning that when the particular coffees in the mix are out, the blend "edition" is retired. What's an ophiolite? Ask Wikipedia ... or just read the review to see why I chose a geologic term... Tom