Monthly Archive for July, 2008

GeshaFest 2008

It’s time for GeshaFest 2008. The fabled Panama Esmeralda Estate Gesha (AKA Geisha) auction lots are here, with prices ranging from $10.50 to a trifling $125 per Lb.! Ouch. Is the top lot that good? Yep, highest rating we have ever given a Gesha coffee. It’s not for everyone, but we hope offering these 4 distinct lots, at 4 price ranges, everyone can check out the way this special cultivar influences aroma and cup flavors of this unique offering. Rounding out our Gesha offerings for 2008 is the arrival of our Guatemala Acatenango Buena Vista Gesha. We have a very small amount, and the coffee scores slightly lower this year, both the result of wind damage to the trees in storms of late ’07. Below, a picture of the Esmeralda Lot 3, Peaberry. It was the smallest lot in the auction, and a modest $66 bucks a pound! We have just 150 Lbs of this lot (as with the $125 per pound Lot 2 – the highest price in the auction!) These 2 lots will come vacuum packed in 1/2 lb bags, and will include a Lb. of the lowest priced Lot 5 for test roasting, and for cupping comparison.Panama Esmeralda Gesha Peaberry Lot 3

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Costa Rica Helsar de Zarcero Villa Sarchi

Helsar de Zarcero represents the combined efforts of Ricardo Perez Barrantes and Rodriguez Villalobos. Their farms are on a high ridge in the area of Alajuela, in the coffee areas of both Zarcero and Naranjo. This MicroLot represents all the Villa Sarchi on their farms. This is a very clean and mild coffee, and we wanted to see if we can pull more dimension out of it by blending 2 roasts. We roasted half the coffee to a very light 428 f, a City roast, and then the other half to 435 f, City +. We blended them evenly. It’s too early to cup the results, but we hope to get the clean peach and mild citrus of the light roast with some additional mild chocolate from the C+ roast. I’ll update the post or make a comment after cupping in a  couple of days. -Tom

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A Crisp Costa Rica, A Floral Ethiopia, 2 New Decafs

Really nice organic Costa Rica lots from small estates are rare. This Costa Rica Organic La Yunta Estate is a crisp, clean, bright cup with floral aroma. Now, if you want to talk flowery coffee, this is the one. Ethiopia Organic Wet-Process Koratie is the sister lot to our Koratie Dry-Process lot. The difference is night-and-day, but both are incredibly aromatic coffees. Candy-like sweetness, peach nectar, watermelon, lemon drops; the descriptors for Koratie Wet-Process are extensive and impressive! We have a new lot of Costa Rica Tarrazu KVW Decaf, surprisingly bright and fruited for a decaf, and a balanced Fair Trade decaf, Nicaragua FTO Dipilto WP Decaf.

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rwanda fto duhingekawa women’s coop

I tested this at 4 different roast levels and let it rest 3 days before cupping it. This Rwanda is deeper in terms of tonal range than our Gkongoro lot (we won 2nd place at the SCAA competition with that one). I like a slightly more developed roast taste from this, but my finish roast temperature might seem a little low: 432 f. When you taste this coffee, you will see that this number deceives. The way I profiled the roast gave an effective finish temperature of about 440 or so … numbers do lie, at least in roasting. I am waiting until Wednesday to cup the roast, because a mere 24 hours rest just isn’t enough for this coffee, and from this roaster. (note: we rested this coffee and i was impressed with it’s nice balance and body. Rwandas are nice in comparison to Kenyas because they have some of the acidity but they are more balanced. I think the Borubon cultivar contributes to this …) -Tom

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Ethiopia Limu Dry-Process

We kept this roast quite light, more so that we normally would for a dry-process Ethiopia coffee. But this Limu isn’t your typical DP Ethiopia flavor profile. It has lighter body, herbal bright notes, lemon balm. It’s not a super intense Ethiopia (like our DP Koratie or Dale coffees are). But with a lighter roast treatment some subtle complexities come out, unhindered by an overbearing bittersweetness from the roast. At one tasting I had a lot of honey sweetness, but overall it’s not a very sweet coffee. It’s quite dry in fact. I cupped it while traveling a few days later and other cuppers were commenting on they dry fruit finish (not dried fruit). It’s unusual, and I think it has to do with regional Limu origin character. -Tom

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Some fantastic new arrivals …

We have a new crop lot of the very elegant Costa Rica Vino de Arabia in stock, another of our Micro-Mill coffees from Brumas del Zurqui. We’ll have some very unusual lots from Brumas later. If you know our coffees from year’s past, red this name carefully: Panama Boquete Lerida Estate “Miel”. It’s not the wet-process Peaberry (which will come in August). It’s unique and makes amazing S.O. espresso too! I have been hinting at another great DP Ethiopia, and here it is: Ethiopia Organic Dry-Process Koratie. The numbers tell the story on this one. And along those lines we have the highest rated Tanzania we have ever offered Tanzania Blackburn Estate AA

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After the holiday, a July present from S.M.

Hi all – I wanted to give a “heads up” on an experiment Maria and I have talked about a lot. Basically, we want to simplify our shipping and also give some incentive to people who are getting hit with higher shipping costs. So starting July 7 at 9am (Monday after the holiday weekend) and running until July 31, we are going to try out this idea:
To anywhere in the contiguous 48 states (no AK, HI or AE/AP), Sweet Maria’s Flat Rate shipping will be:
0-20 Lbs. = $7.99
21-40 Lbs. = $13.99
41-60 Lbs. = $20.99
Orders can be for coffee and/or merchandise. Shipping method will be our discretion – UPS Ground or USPS Priority Mail – so transit times will be between the UPS Ground transit time (up to 6 days to northern New England) and USPS Priority Mail (sometimes mysteriously fast, sometimes mysteriously slow). Can not be combined with other discounts or offers. We might adopt this permanently, but for now it’s just July 7-31. We may need to tweak the details as we go – we’ll see how complicated it gets and how folks like it.
I have some new lots arriving, including that great Ethiopia dry-process Koratie and 2 more Costa Ricas, but we can’t pick them up until Monday, so look for them on Tuesday or so. Maria and Ben and I are headed to San Diego tomorrow. Sweet Maria’s is closed on Friday. Have a great 4th!

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