Sweet Maria's Weblog

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

Nicaragua Pacamara Peaberry

This coffee is a rare beast indeed and the large bean size presents some challenges to the roaster.  On smaller roasters the beans will move and behave differently so care should be taken in order to achieve lighter City roasts.  On the Probat this meant dialing back the heat when the thermoprobe read 370 degrees, normally I would wait another ten degrees but with the larger bean structure there is greater potential for first crack blow outs.  I pulled the batch when the thermoprobe reached 427 degrees and the beans had an even surface color and nice expansion with wide crevices.

A few new things for late summer

While Tom is in Rwanda - I have added a few new merchandise items; at long last we have Ibriks to sell again; we added a Double Wall Glass Bodum French press (which works great to keep the brew hot); and what our customers have all been waiting for.... a Sweet Maria's Soccer/Football! Okay - so no one was waiting for this, no one asked for them, but Tom thought they would be cool anyhow. We decided to sell them to help subsidize the ones we are giving away.- Maria