Sweet Maria's Weblog

big list of new green coffee arrivals

We have new lots that just arrived and a few that arrive Friday the 25th. I am excited about an out-of-season offering... why? Because we had it vacuum packaged in Ethiopia to preserve freshness, and the cup is outstanding: Ethiopia FTO Yirga Cheffe Konga cooperative. I am recommending very light roasts for a floral, sweet. It's a syrupy Yirga Cheffe with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, that is best with a very light roast. And it's the first Vacuum-packed Ethiopia we have offered. (BTW, that means we receive it in vacuum bags, then we pack it and ship it in our normal zip bags. PS: Starting with this lot, we will be spelling Yirga Cheffe as two words, as it is in Ethiopia. ) We have a new lot of Colombia Los Naranjos de Huila, bright and multi-fruited. This is from a group of Huila farmers with average production around 10 bags, and the total group less than 100  growers. They are at altitudes ranging from 1600 to 1900 meters,  and all lots are wet-processed and sun-dried, then cupped, classified and combined based on the cup flavors. We have been holding back on a Guatemala offering because we had so many, but now is the time to launch Guatemala Huehuetenango -Finca San Vicente, a remarkable, dense 100% Bourbon like our other Guats, that cups like the day it got here. It's so classic, crips, well structured We have another Colombia Huila Valencia, a pooled coffee of many farmers, but we just happened to find a really nice lot here, balanced and sweet. It's a crowd-pleaser. And Sumatra Classic Mandheling is back with a vengeance, and excellent cup from a particular locale with old-growth Sumatra Typica cultivar plantings. This lot has nice preparation with much less percentage of defects than we have seen in recent seasons. Yes, it has that aggressive, woody, wet-earth character. But it also has a sweetness, mild fruitiness, a caramel roast taste that has a creamy, chocolate dimension to it as well. The finish goes toward the bittersweet, with a pungent (peppery spice) quality emerging, reminding you of the deep, heavy-handed cup character that epitomizes Sumatra. It has a bit of all the defining Sumatra flavors wrapped together in one coffee, and maintains a balance between them. Most people might taste this and just say, "Boy,...


We need a place to talk about the machine, how we have it set up with temperature probes, and what our measurements mean. Temperature measurements in different roast systems yield very different results, but if the device performs consistently in your machine (be it a Hearthware, Behmor, Diedrich or what-have-you), then you can transicribe our findings into something meaningful on your roaster. In a perfect world we would all have calibrated devices that would measure internal bean temperature, not simply a probe that touches the outside of the beans as they tumble. Most probes are going to measure environment temperature, and even if they physically probe the coffee it's going to be a mix of measurement, bean surface and environment. So you always have to interpret and translate someone else's numbers to apply to your roast system. One way is to compare 1st crack temperatures. When do you hear the very initial pops of 1st? On the Probat it is between 402-405 farenheit. (Occasionally we have in initial signs of 1st crack as low as 395 f). We measure this with 2 probes, simple bead type k-probes, one about 3 o'clock and one about 6 o'clock. I also have a probe wired for exit air temperature in a duct in the back, and that is the best way to measure environment temp, but i don't refer to it often. The big, stock dial thermometer on the front of the machine measures environment too. We basically use it only to indicate drop temperature to start roasting, and for cooldown, to indicate when it is safe to shut the roaster off. -Tom

Oldest Posts

This huge list of posts are older comments I had made about the roasted batches, before we switched to the weblog format.... 
  • The last 2 weeks have been some really enjoyable coffees, not too outrageous. The Honduras FTO Cocosam Cooperative had great nut tones and the Nicaragua Limoncillo Estate Var. Java was nicely rounded, with milk chocolate texture and a bit of lime hiding in the background. These are coffees I brought home for the weekend too, just nice drinkin' coffees!
  • Mmmm... Costa Rica Dry-Process Dota is outstanding. We just cupped a sample pulled from the first batch we are roasting tonight for shipment tomorrow morning. Chocolate, tangy, thick body, nuts, fruits - both bright and rustic (mildly). What a nice cup. The new Kenya Auction Lot Peaberry Decaf is great too: super bright!
  • The Decafs get a bum rap, and they really deserve so much more these days. We have had a whole string of Ethiopia Decafs that have been simply awesome. We are roasting a Guatemala Huehuetenango decaf this past week with the fruity brightness of the best estate Guats.
  • What a solid coffee the Bolivia Organic Peaberry is ... I mean, it's one of the older green coffees in our stock in terms of arrival date, and the cup is as sweet and clean and bright as the day it arrived. This was the Cenaproc "La Montana" lot, and that is the coop that won so many of the competitions (CoE, etc). Clearly, when a coffee stands up this well over time it is due to really good processing techniques at the mill, so hat's off the Cenaproc.
  • I played a little trick on the Ethiopia Fair Trade Organic Yirgacheffe this week: I did I very slight version of a melange roast. I roasted half the batches to City+ 435 on the Probat. I roasted the other half to 442 f (Full City) on the Probat, then blended them. I was looking to pull some range and depth out of the coffee, which is an incredible bright, zesty lot of Yirg. I just didn't want it to be too thin. I like the results but they are a little uncanny: bright citric and chocolate.
  • Kenya Mchana Peaberry , in my humble opinion, was fantastic. We roasted this to 437 in the Probat L-12 and there was a lot of brightness and fruit, but good rounded mouthfeel and complexity. Maybe this was our under-rated Kenya offering this season. But it is tough competition this year because the overall quality of our auction lot offerings is extraordinarily high. By the way, we are roasting some of the espressos, Moka Kadir and Monkey Blend, just a hair lighter to bring out some more fruity brightness and aroma. The change is from 464 f to 460-462, so it is incredibly slight.
  • Brauna Natural: This week we roasted a rather experimental coffee . We had Brauna Estate in Araponga region of Matas de Minas Brasil prepare 2 bags of...

Peru FTO Ccochapampa

Try finding Ccochapampa on a map and you'll end up at Cochabamba. But basically it's a small zone in Cuzco, the very Quechua area of Peru. We roasted this to 5 different levels to cup it out and decide how to approach it in the 12 kilo Probat. Frankly, all of the cups were a tad underwhelming, although it is a nice balanced coffee with a pleasant, mild brightness. The lighter test roasts were too thin so we opted for a darker roast, yielding a cup with plenty of body and that mild touch of brightness we were hoping for. On the Probat this meant taking the coffee up to 436 degrees. First crack came on at about 395 degrees, 12 minutes into the roast, and the total time of each batch averaged 17:20 minutes.


Roastmaster's Choice Sweet Maria's Small Batch, Craft-Roasted Coffees-of-the-WeekProbat Coffee Roaster Each week we offer a very limited choice of freshly roasted coffee, roasted by the fellow who cups every coffee sample we receive, writes every coffee review on our web site: Tom. Every so often Tom goes to places like Panama or Nicaragua or San Diego, and can't roast, so Derek from the office fills in... This very simple menu of 3 unique coffees are all roasted the day before we ship the order. To guarantee freshness, we hold orders with roasted coffee to ship on the roast date. All coffees are chosen from our carefully-screened list of green coffees; all have been through many rounds of comparative cupping to make it to our offering sheet. Yes, the choices are few. But the price is very fair and the quality of the coffee and roast is exceptional. No, we are not trying to be a big-time roasted coffee seller, and you will never see our offerings expand beyond these limited choices. But if you roast your own, you might want to cup your roasts versus those done on the German gas-fired Probat roaster, and compare the "degree of roast" we have chosen for the specific coffees to your own. If you don't roast at home, well ... here's the next best thing! * Order by 5 pm on Monday (the roasting date) to have the coffee roasted and shipped Tuesday Here is the link for ordering Roastmaster's Choice