Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Honduras Cup of Excellence; 2004 Cupping

We held a group cupping for the Honduras Cup of Excellence at Willem Boot's (Boot Coffee) cupping lab in Mill Valley. The point of the cupping is for potential bidders (like Sweet Maria's!) to figure out what coffees to buy in the immanent internet auction at cupofexcellence.org . I did not attend the Honduras competition this year ... it was just too much; I had just finished the Cup of Excellence in El Salvador and Nicaragua, and was all "cupped out." I did go to the first-ever Honduras cupping event in 2003 so I developed some familiarity with the coffees in the cup, and by traveling to all the coffee regions in the country. This group cupping was basically staged by Volcafe Specialty and Ian did all the roasting of the samples - good job Ian!

There was about 8 cuppers who attended this event, and we had about 22 coffees to evaluate, so we broke it up into 2 "flights".

Here's the general scene in Willem's cupping lab, formerly a garage! He did an excellent job with the conversion, and the many overhead skylights make for both a pleasant and well-lit cupping space. Ian Kluse from Volcafe is on the left, and heading right it is Andrew from Eccocafe, Ken Davids the writer-consultant, and Blair from Atlantic Specialty Coffee.

Well, same thing, but you can see Coleen from Santa Cruz Roasting.

The cups, already broken (the crust penetrated by the cupping spoon to evaluate the aromatics) bit not cleaned (the reamining foam scooped from the cup.

As you know, I love roasters and Willem has quite a nice assemblage of machines. The rest of my pictures are of his sample roasters...

His latest is a really impressive Gothot/Probat vintage sample roaster with full air flow control, solid roasting pots (drums), and electronic flame controls. (more on that later).

Side view of his new/old sample roaster.


You can use a trier to pull coffee out of the front of the roast drum during the roast, and get full access to the interior by flipping up the entire front face plate - this design is radiacally different from the Jabez Burns roasters, and a really great feature. Alas, good luck finding a Gothot sample roaster of this vintage (and if you have one to sell, please email me now!)

Here's a picture of Willems vintage 5 kilo Probat in nthe background and a half pund San Franciscan sample roaster in the foreground.

This is actually a sample roaster the used to be made by Willem's father in Holland.

Read our Honduras Cupping Review Page

We went after the #12 coffee in the auction which I thought was far superior to many coffees in the top 10! We are having it air-frieghted to the U.S. and it should arrive mid August 2004. The coffee is from the La Fortuna farm of the Noriega family. Here is my preliminary review...

Honduras Cup of Excellence - La Fortuna
Country: Honduras Grade: SHB Region: La Fortuna, Quimistán, Santa Barbara Mark: La Fortuna Farm, Cup of Excellence
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: August 2004 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Catuai Rojo
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: When I visited Honduras for the first coffee competition in 2003, I was impressed with the quality of the coffees from the Santa Barbara area. It isn't where most of the Honduran coffee originates. Much of the growing areas are in Maracala district, Copan, and nearby Ocotopeque. Some regions, like Maracala and areas far to the South, have the advantage of drier climates to process the coffee with ease using solar-patio drying. But Santa Barbara, with its unpredeicatble rainfall, still has great soils and altitude for coffee. These Northern Honduran coffees, grown near the border of Guatemala, have often been smuggled across the border to be sold as Fraijanes coffee, or "Antigua-type" coffees, due to low domestic coffee prices ... hopefully this Cup of Excellence event will change the perception of Honduran coffees. I feel sure that this cup is more interesting than 95% of Guatemalan coffees sold in the US! We went after this specific lot in the Cup of Excellence competition for its crisp bright character, what in wine they call a "muscular" cup, with a narrow band of sweetness and a brisk, almost piney high tone. The coffee is from the farm of Mario Leonel Noriega (no relation to a certain Nicaraguan by the same name!). It's a beautiful farm at almost 1400 meters in altitude with just 5 hectares of coffee trees. Manuel has chosen a Catuai cultivar based on the local conditions, and I would have thought it was Caturra based on the citrus impression I get from the the aromatics and cup flavors. It's a clean cup, without distractions to the flavors, transparent, with subtle hints of pear, starfruit, and (as it cools) cantaloupe. Initially the wet aroma is cedary and sweet but cedar seems limited to the aromatics and is not overbearing in the cup. As it cools it becomes incredibly balanced and the body seems to become heavier, almost velvety.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: This can take a wide range between City + and Full City +. The character is really at it's best with a City + and 48 hours rest.
add 50 50 Compare to: Full-flavor Guatemalan!
Score (Max. 100) 86.8

-Tom


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