Sweet Maria's Weblog

the boat came in, again.

The boat came in, again. While we continue to run out of early-season lots, later arrivals (and a new crop Indonesia Java) have emerged. I know there's a lot of coffees coming in but I would I would loathe "pacing out" these arrivals artificially, since what we do here at SM is simply a reflection of the coffee crop cycle, and what small, outstanding lots of new crop coffee we can source. Guatemala FTO Quiche - Maya Ixil is a milder, lower acid Central with a really nice milk chocolate and fruit character. A sleeper "generic" Colombia Excelso 13356 ... hey, cup quality is wherever you find it, with or without estate or micro-regional pedigree. Here's a completely wild and even questionable coffee, but I had to put it out there: Ethiopia FTO DP Lekempti. The review explains why. And on the flip side, that heavy-body, tame-flavored new crop Java Government Estate Djampit is here. If you are overstocked on green, just put down the credit card and roll back from that computer ... these lots will be here at least a couple months. - Tom

yemen sana'ani was my secret

i got caught trying to add a coffee to the list and not telling everyone. the fact is i wanted to re-roast and recup the new yemen sana'ani again, maybe tweak the review a little, and make the flavor quality analysis graph. anyway, the review is true, the best yemen i have found in a long time. the fact is, we shipped this lot with a mattari, and with an ismaili (a very hard to source coffee), and we had to reject these two. the mattari was okay in the dark roasts, but i just could not get excited about it. the ismaili had faded a lot from the pre-ship samples i cupped, and it would have disappointed you all. i mean, i could have offered it with a big asterik by the name, and explained it was mild, and had just a trace of that ismaili spice to it. but i wouldn't feel good doing that. the name connotes something for you all, as it does for me; this lot just missed the bar. anyway, on a better note, the sana'ani works really well as a tangy, fruited light roast, or full-city+ to vienna with chocolate and spice abundant. it definitely did make the bar... -tom

where are we at with harar?

a question from the home roast list
>Anyone know when the Ethiopian Harrar is obtainable (in season)? I’m
>interested in seeing if I can pull the blueberry notes out of the
>bean… - Kevin
It’s late in the season now, and basically it was only the first arrival that had over-the-top blueberry. Our special prep lot was balanced, but didn’t have extreme berry notes. I commissioned that special lot preparation on the Green Stripe as an experiment, but also because I had a feeling it was a “down year” for Harar in general. I think it was, overall, because I cup a lot of lots and throughout the season they just kept dropping in quality, and so many were simply dusty tasting, hay, dry earth.
Anyway, you can get blueberry from the Ethiopia Dry Process Sidamo lot we have now. This is from a new exporter I am trying to work with (he’s a pain because he can’t get anything done on time…) however the coffee he shipped was outstanding. Obvious second recommendation is the Idido Misty Valley which is an unbelievable coffee in terms of fruit. Wet-process Ethiopias have been great this year but those don’t have berry notes in general, more citrus and floral. I start to look at incoming new crop Harar in January and February (pre-shipment samples). The problem with Pre-Ship samples from Africa is they never arrive tasting the same- huge flavor shifts. So you can’t count on knowing much in advance of arrival lots, and you just have to source them widely and roast them all to find the gems.

new brazil arrivals

We have received a new lot of Brazil Organic Cachoeira Yellow Bourbon and this is slightly sweeter (and a tad brighter) than the previous. I attribute this to the fact that we had the choice of mechanical dried lot, and this lot we selected … a 100% sun-dried lot where the coffee is laid on screens, not a patio. Also, we have new crop Brazil Fazenda Brauna Peaberry that just came in, excellent as expected. -Tom

new coffee arrivals

Many new coffees! We have the first arrivals of our Central America Cup of Excellence lots, with a mix of spendy top 3 coffees and some "sleeper" lots that are more reasonably priced. Top of the price heap is the first place Guatemala Cup of Excellence #1 - El Injerto, a sublime floral and citric lot of pure Bourbon coffee. The Nicaragua Cup of Excellence #3 - El Cipres is proof that Dipilto region produces soem of the most nuanced, delicate-yet-complex coffees in C. America. The Nicaragua Cup of Excellence #17 - San Antonio is from a small woman-owned farm in Madriz, and has a unique chocolate character with herbal and flroal hints. Coming soon (next 2 weeks) are the Honduras CoE lots, and then the El Salvador CoE lot. I am excited about the unusually named El Salvador "The Juan Francisco Project." It's a dark horse lot I found at the 2006 CoE Competition that split the jury, but I felt strongly that the fruited character was special and good, so we are working with the farmer to offer his coffee unblended and solve his special coffee processing challenges. Read the review for the details. Another coffee that has me all worked up is the Ethiopia Organic Idido Misty Valley DP. It is actually from Yirgacheffe region, carefully dried on screens without water fermentation, and sorted to the best standards. The cup is amazingly fruited, with floral and citrus highlights. And last but certainly not least, near the end of the Kenya season with this awesome coffee, from the esteemed Nyeri district, Kenya AA Auction Lot 438 - Hiriga; sweet citrus from start to finish. And we have a new arrival lot of Costa Rica Dota Tarrazu Hermosa to boot.