Monthly Archive for March, 2008

Guatemala Antigua Finca Retana Yellow Bourbon

All of our coffees have their merits but this particular Antigua is a truly special lot. Tom, Derek, and I cupped it this morning and were blown away by the sweetness and fruited qualities in our sample roasts. The lightest test roast was amazingly lively but one notch higher the flavors were more balanced and seemed about perfect, this was a City to City+ roast level. We targeted this on the Probat and ended up going only to 425 degrees with the roasts finishing around the 16 minute mark. First crack came on at 401 and continued up until 411 degrees.  As Tom mentions in the review, the care taken in processing this coffee really shows in the way the bean holds its structure with a beautiful crease and very little swelling. We hope you will appreciate the emphasis on the origin flavor characteristics with nary a hint of roast flavor to cloud this fantastic Central American coffee. Can you tell how much we like it here?

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Peru FTO Cuzco – Ccochapampa Coop

Sorry I’m a few days late with the post but we’ve had a busy week since we added so many new coffees over the weekend. This coffee is a very mild one and we went for a light City roast to draw out the origin character. This meant going only to 432 degrees on the Probat with a final roast time of 18 minutes. I did do slightly larger batches than normal which accounts for the longer roast time. We have enjoyed the results for the past two days here in the warehouse, and noticed more spice notes today after 48 hours of resting. The cup is pleasant, balanced and has the waxy body Tom mentions in the review.

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some compelling new arrivals

We have some arrivals that should interest folks greatly. First off, great Harar is back! Fruited, spicy, rustic, complex. I think it’s a general “up” year for Harar but this particular lot blows the rest away: Ethiopia Harar Horse DP – Lot 17406. Perhaps one of the most spendy coffees of the year is this Bolivia Cup of Excellence – San Ignacio. It’s only fair to call it a “Nano-Lot”, truly sub-Micro, and we have to limit it to 1 Lb. per person. (At this price it might be wise, but it is certainly worth it! ) And oddly enough, we have only a small amount of Costa Rica Dota Conquistador to offer, hence the 2 Lb. limit. But it’s a nice cup this year. Colombia Antioquia – Jardin Cerulean Warbler has one of the oddest names, but read the review and you’ll see that it is both a great, delicate cup, and part of an interesting conservation project. And probably least exciting to the majority of you all, Colombia MC Decaf – Huila Tolima. But it has a very bright fruited cup, an exemplary decaf

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What the …. Starbucks buys Clover?!

As someone who is on the fence about the Clover (love the idea, like the people, have some reservations about the cup) … I am shocked. A lot of respectable people have been cheerleaders for the Clover , and I imagine they feel really burned. But think of all those small places that coughed up $11k per machine (or a bit more). What’s it worth to them now if Starbucks will have one just across the street. Clover was part of a quality initiative to elevate the level of brewed coffee, to give the independent a better chance against the chains. Of course, it’s a very savvy move by Starbucks, something called “recuperation” in culture studies. But it’s a sad day for specialty coffee (it that term still means anything). Now what the hell is the Mastrena? Just another robot espresso machine …
Tom

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Honduras FTO San Marcos – Cocosam Coop

One glance at a handful of this green coffee and you know you’re in for a treat. It is beautifully processed and this lot got out of Honduras in top notch condition, not a fate that most coffees from this nearby country share. For our roast today we are aiming for City+, on the Probat this means a final temperature of 435 degrees and a roast time of 18:30 minutes. First crack happened at 399 degrees around the 12:45 mark. The resultant cup should have the crisp acidity, balance, a touch of apple and aromatic wood notes in the finish, as  mentioned in the review. It’s mild, it’s balanced, but as it cools I think you’ll taste more and more. Approachable coffee! Sometimes we notice coffees changing a bit over time but this one has held its character quite nicely since Tom first cupped it.

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huila – thika – sana’a – kona

Here’s a wide range of new arrivals; South America, Kenya, Yemen, Hawaii. Wow, you can’t get more different (in terms of cup character) than these 4 lots, but each is a standout in their own right. I will leave you with the links to the reviews and you can sort it out. (You probably already know the ones that interest you, based on your preference for mild coffees or wild coffees). Colombia Huila – Las Piedras de San Augustin, Kenya Thika -Gethumbwini Peaberry, Yemen Mokha Sana’ani, Hawaii Kona Purple Mountain

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Ethiopia Organic Sidamo DP – Special Selection (Fero co-op)

We are at the tail end of the ’07 crop of Ethiopian coffees and this Special Selection Sidamo was one of the best lots from a less than stellar crop cycle. Processed using a labor-intensive method similar to the Misty Valley, this coffee has loads of character and a rainbow of bean colors at the Full City roast that we targeted for today. You may have seen our recent Tiny Joy newsletter that breaks down the whole Quakers in coffee phenomenon and this is the coffee that led to that newsletter. I spend a good bit of time culling out as many of these little light colored devils in the cooling tray but it is impossible to spot them all and some of them are even desirable for this cup to retain its true character. This coffee has wonderful blueberry notes and spice in a complex cup so we kept it in the City +/Full City range. That meant a final thermo-probe temperature of 440 and a roast time of 16:20. First crack happened around the 13:00 mark at 415 degrees. As a fun experiment try brewing a pot of this coffee with no lighter beans and then brew a pot with some of the lighter beans left in, there should be quite a difference in the cup characteristics and you might find that you like one better than the other.

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an array of new arrivals

We have an array of new arrivals. An early new crop Central, El Salvador Matalapa Estate is cupping excellent, with that buttery Bourbon-type body and balance, and floral citrus accent notes. From Brazil we have a full natural single estate arrival, Brazil Cachoeira Yellow Bourbon Dry-Process, with heavy body, low acidity, fruit and brown sugar sweetness. And we have 2 Tanzania arrivals from the Southern districts. Tanzania Hassambo Macro-Lot Peaberry is from a single cooperative and has a winey fruit tone, lower acidity, and good depth. The brighter lot is the Tanzania Nyamtimbo Peaberry lot, which is more in the “alto” range, but has dynamic winey accents too. As our special guest cupper Saul Goodyawl says, “S’ all good, y’all”.

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