To understand the title, I guess you need to see the photo. Then again I still don't understand it. I have another 300 pictures to go with that one coming soon. We have some amazing micro-lot Colombias coming soon, as well as Panama Carmen Estate 1800 meter later this week (great cup, again, and no.2 at Panama competition, again). I know, I know, everyone is wondering where the Costa Rica micro-lots are. We are going to have our first arrivals later this week! Remember, these are true mid-harvest coffees. You can buy Centrals in February and they are low-grown, or in March you can buy the very first pickings from higher altitude. But patience pays off in coffee.
Sweet Maria's Weblog
This week we used the profile that worked so well for the Tanzania and applied it to this Colombian coffee. The only difference is that we were targeting a roast more in the FC range which meant a final temperature of 436 degrees. This is still a fairly low temp. to achieve a true Full City roast and I might have gone a little too light overall. One of the tricky things about the difference between the Probat and the sample roaster is that what appears to be a lighter roast on the Probat actually tastes more like a darker roast on the sample roaster. After grinding a small sample of each it looks like the roast I did yesterday is just a touch lighter than the target roast. Since it has taken me all week to write this post, I can attest to how much better this coffee tastes after three days rest. Maybe something to keep in mind for you home roasters, patience can really be a virtue to get the best results when you get around to brewing your own roasts. Derek and I just recupped this week's roast and find more origin character than the older sample roast which is definitely tasting roasty by now. Maybe as time goes by the origin flavors give way to the roastier notes, or more likely, I hit just shy of the target roast.
It's the day after the Panama Esmeralda auction for their geisha coffees, and I still feel a bit woozy. We bought coffees at 4 distinct price points, from the "Budget Batch" #5 which averaged not much over $6 a lb. to the highest priced coffee in the auction, which we had pre-arranged a "share" with our friends at Stumptown in Portland, and sold for a whopping $105 plus change. We have 150 Lbs of the Batch 2 and 150 Lbs of Batch 3 Peaberry, which was around $50/ Lb. Really, I can hardly argue for the sense in all this, except that coffee priced this way means about a $5 cup, and that #2 is really, really fantastic coffee. My favorite non-ridiculous price was Batch 10, which for those who read the notes might realize, is a blend of "North side of the creek" where #2 is from, and South side of the creek, and is also late harvest. I thought batches 8,9 and 10 were all nice, but 10 was a little more delicate and nuanced for me. Lots 5, 6 and 7 were second tier for me, but oddly just 5 sold for a lot less than others. In fact, mike was brilliant to get some for the cafe! $6/Lb Gesha! we bought 4 lots - no, it doesn't run side-by-side with batch 2 or 3 or 10, but put in in a blind cupping with 9 other centrals and it will win most every time! so i guess this means we will have sub $10/lb esmeralda, some around $15/lb. and then ... geez ... what did i get myself into??? What we will probably do is use our nitrogen-gas-flush vacuum package machine, which is coming in a week, to re-pack the batch 2 and 3 into small single-roast packets, that can be preserved for special occasions, such as next christmas and such. after export charges and shipping, i think we will have a modest markup so we will need to sell the batch 2 for something like $60 per half pound. Here's the final results of the auction.
This week we roasted a great Tanzanian coffee to a City+ level using a somewhat complex profile. We dropped the batch in with our gas control set to "1" and after only three minutes we upped it to "1.5" this helped the roast pick up some speed, but not too much too soon. The big push to add momentum came around the nine minute mark as the coffee neared 345 degrees. Here we brought the gas almost to full throttle at "2.2", after only two minutes the thermoprobe was reading 380 degrees and we decided to slow the roast down as much as possible without stalling by setting the gas to ".5" This produced the gentlest first crack imaginable and allowed us to finish the roast at the low final temperature of 426 degrees. This is a good illustration of how backing way off at the end of a roast can help the coffee retain delicate flavors that may be obliterated by racing through the end. For the Espresso Monkey blend we used a similar profile but didn't drop the heat down quite as much at the end, still the coffee entered second crack on the quiet side but had a lot of momentum and kept cracking in the cooling tray for a good two minutes after being dumped. For both regular and espresso we averaged 15:30 minutes roast time.
We have a wide-ranging and eclectic mix of new arrivals today. From South America we have a new lot of Colombia Tolima -Finca Las Florestales a family farm of Maximino Gutierrez and his brothers. (I am headed to Colombia next week, but visiting Florestales is impossible - the area has too many FARC guerilla camps!) We have yet another great Kenya, and this is the first-ever Fair Trade lot we have been able to buy with a fantastic cup: Kenya FT Peaberry - Kiawamururu from the Nyeri District. We bought Kiawamururu (what a tongue twister of a name) in the past, and this lot rates with the best. Our last Kona of the year is in, Hawaii Kona -Moki's Farm. We chose to run out of Kona in summer, and the Moki's is running a bit late this year since there were drying problems early in the crop. We have a nice, new crop Mexico FTO Oaxaca WP Decaf. And you really need to read the story behind Panama Guyami Indian Robusta Rustico. It's the only coffee I have known to be sent to the coffee mill on a public bus! It's the only coffee I know that is "river-processed" in canvas bags. Not for everyone, but it can actually be brewed in a French Press and make a potent cup.