Kenya has arrived. Our first lot of Main crop, Auction Lot Kenya is here: Kenya AA Kiambu – Kimathi. The initial cup results are outstanding (but the full review is not complete yet). Kiambu regional coffees, along with Meru and Thika districts, were the first to distiguish themselves in the cuppings this year, with Nyeri and Kirinyaga regions peaking a bit later. We have quite a few selections coming, but it takes between 6 weeks and 10 weeks to work out all the logisitcs and actually receive each lot. So this Kiambu is our first of many excellent lots we have already bid upon and won in the Kenya auctions. On a different note, it looks like it will be a fine year for Oaxaca, if our first new crop arrival is an indication: Mexico FTO Oaxaca Pluma. The light roast have a great toasted almond tone, while it turns to tangy bittersweet chocolate at FC/FC+ roast. We have another Oaxaca lot arriving late next week too, which will offer a contrasting cup (a fruited and winey hint). But in overall scoring this FTO lot remains on top for more dynamic brightness, and excellent aromatic character. Okay, we need more pictures here in this “blog” so here’s my favorite tire photo from my last origin cupping trip -Tom
The roll call for Centrals continues with two new arrivals. Guatemala Fraijanes – Finca Agua Tibia is extra nice this year, tons of spice and tangy chocolate. And we have an outstanding Nicaragua FTO Esteli – Miraflor Coop, with almond roast notes, milk chocolate and clean fruit in the finish.
Not really; I can’t pack 8000 Lbs of Costa Rican coffee in my checked baggage and bring it back. But it so happens that while I was in Costa Rica cupping micro-lot coffees, our first two new crop arrivals from arrived. They are well-known to our regulars. Some coffees we carry each year because they consistently perform so well on the cupping table. We just received Costa Rica Dota Tarrazu – Conquistador and Costa Rica Tres Rios – La Magnolia and they are true-to-form, exemplary lots. And we have another Yemeni offering: Yemen Mokha Haimi is an intense, spicey, fruited cup with fresh leather accents: sounds odd? Well, it is Yemen coffee, of course it is odd.
We have some new products this week. We are stocked a new model of Moka Pot (i.e. stovetop espresso). The Bialetti Musa Mokapot is brushed stainless steel, remarkably sturdy and looks pretty sharp too. We have 3 different size; 4 tasse, 6 tasse and 10 tasse. We have a new Commercial Espresso Knock Box, stainess steel with a nice big non-slip rubber base. And as a preview (coming in a week), we have a new larger sized Porcelain #4 Cone Filter Holder (I have been looking for these for years!). We also have an elegantly simple Porcelain #1 Drip Pot Set, a filter cone and matching pot with lid. Once agian, these porcelain items come in a week or so.
A mouthful of abbreviations. Just when I thought that the entire crop was a bust, we received this Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi with an outstanding, bright, lively character apple, hazelnut and mild chocolate notes. And after a long absence, we have an India arabica (non-monsooned) lot: India Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold has unusual dry-roasted peanut notes, low acidity, good body … and makes a very compelling single-origin espresso.
Well, up until now they are out of season, and the early samples I have cupped are unworthy of offering; lower grown and rushed through processing at the dry mill. Remember, coffee is a crop. Sure, greens store well, but still it is important to buy during the peak of the harvest. It would be irresponsible of me (and run totally counter to everything we do here) to buy lots I knew were inferior, simply to plump up our inventory. Coffee is not soap-on-a-rope. Buying and offering coffee is not like stocking canned goods down at the A&P! (Although I wish it was sometimes … it would make my job a lot easier).
Now, the Centrals are indeed on there way. We have 2 Costa Rica lots arriving Thursday April 12. (Indeed, I leave tonight for Costa Rica to cup some 86 lots of Tarrazu, Dota and Naranjo special lots, hoping to find 1 or 2 that stand out). Mexico Chiapas and Oaxaca are “on the water”. Our first Guatemala is coming in 10 days. Ôø?We also have some outstanding, fresh South America coffees from Peru and Colombia which offer the same cup profile as Centrals: bright, snappy, clean, floral, etc. So please be patient, my roasting friends, and know that we are going to have a heck of a lotta great Centrals on our list within the next few weeks. New micro-lots from Chiapas, special Guatemala estate coffees, Costa Rica is holding their first Cup of Excellence this year … lots of new things happening, and the result will be some pretty interesting new offerings this season. -Tom