Monthly Archive for January, 2008

Bali Kintamani Arabica

From the volcanic heights of Bali, this particular coffee has been processed using a technique different from the fully wet process that is normally used by the larger farms in Bali. The coffee we are roasting today employs a semi-washed technique that allows for greater development of character and rusticity more akin to neighboring Sumatra or Sulawesi. The result should be outstanding when taken into Full City+ and for the test cupping I even roasted some to Vienna to have a full range of roasts to test when setting the target for today’s Roastmaster. We decided that the Full City+ roast had the best overall character: bittersweet chocolate, strong tobacco notes, and the brooding character Tom speaks of in the reveiw.  The lighter roasts we cupped had no redeeming qualities whatsoever.  It is interesting to roast this coffee after roasting so many Centrals and Africans which can taste great, albeit different, at a wider range of roasts. The Bali Kintamani is a coffee that tests the roaster’s patience as first crack didn’t happen on the Probat until 15:00 into the roast at around 404 degrees. I then had to keep the roast going until the thermo-probe read 450 degrees and I could hear just the slightest hint of second crack coming on. This happened routinely at the 18:30 minute mark, it never ceases to amaze me how consistent the Probat performs with the same temperature being reached at nearly the same time batch after batch. That is, of course, if each batch has been carefully weighed out beforehand.

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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, that’s nice Sumatra”. �

1/29: Tuesday arrivals include a great Brazil we have had for 3 seasons now, from the matriarch of Minas! Brazil Carmo- Nazareth Dias Pereira deserves a light roast to bring out the sweet citrus and mild malty notes, but makes great espresso at FC+ too. the wet aromatics become very sweet and malty, with floral notes (wildflowers) initially, and hints of sage blossom. There is something pleasantly savory about the aromatics. In the light roast the cup has very mandarin-orange-like flavor, tea-bisquit and barley, with a very mild overall intensity of flavor. As it cools, Meyer lemon notes emerge, more as a flavor than an aspect of acidity (it’s a mild and proportionate acidity overall). Darker roasts take on more bittersweet and chocolate character with some anise and herbal hints, but the lighter roasts are what distinguish the quality of this coffee. �

So that’s the run-down …I am listing the Brazil days in advance because I am off to India early tomorrow. looking for that oddball Liberica coffee. -Tom

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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.

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Dry-Processed x 3

We have a new and unusual lot, Mexico Organic Dry-Process Nayart Rustico. This is a full natural coffee (i.e. sun-dried whole coffee cherry), resulting in a cup more reminicent of dry-process Sidamo, Harar, or Brazil, rather than any other Mexican coffee. Speaking of naturals, we have another lot of new crop from South America, Brazil Pedra Grande -Bourbon Cultivar. Honey, milk chocolate and almond would best sum up the Pedra Grande. Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo WP Decaf is a superb coffee that just happens to be a decaf too… great aromatics here.

tree-dried coffee cherry in cerrado, brazil
tree-dried coffee cherry in cerrado, brazil

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new coffees; a little bit of this, a little of that

We have some interesting arrivals, including a really stellar Sumatra Lintong Special Preparation, one of the best Lintongs in a few years. We also have the splended small-farm Hawaii Kona Kowali Farm Fancy and Extra Fancy. It’s been our favorite and has that great floral aromatic note that sets it apart. We also received Costa Rica Tarrazu – La Minita back in stock (from the same lot as before), as well as a new lot of India Monsooned Malabar AA. We have 2 other arrivals coming in a few days: a unique, fully dry-processed Mexican coffee (something we have never had before), nd a new all Bourbon cultivar Brazil from the Sul de Minas area.

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Shipping and packing party at sweet maria’s

So we survived the holidays, and the S.M. crew did a pretty amazing job turning around orders. Last year we fell behind by 24 hours or so getting orders out, but this year we had days we were sending off orders placed that very morning. We always do the best we can, but now we face the backlog of orders than came in during vacation. So please be patient. We are shipping ‘em out in the order they came in, and will be back to our normal 24 hour turn-around by next week. -Tom  (P.S. – I have a new Sumatra and the end of our Costa Rica La Minita allotment coming early next week)

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