Monthly Archive for September, 2008

Guatemala Huehuetenango “Quetzal Azul”

So, Derek and I tried this Huehue at three different roast levels and both agreed that the lightest was best.  In order to achieve a City level roast on the Probat I took each batch to 428 degrees, with an average time of 15:30.  By the time this coffee reaches you, the customer, it should be ready to drink having rested for at least 48 hours.  The tricky thing about light roasting coffee is that it hits it’s “peak” flavor point a good while after it was roasted.  This differs from coffee to coffee but on this particular dense Guatemala lot it will take every bit of two days.  The darker the roast the less amount of time between roasting and peak flavor point.  By the way, since Tom is out visiting farms, we used the trusty Behmor to do our test roasts…I just threw 1/2 pound in on the 1 pound setting, P4 profile, and then tried 20 min, 18 min, and 16 min roasts to achieve three very different roast levels.

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New Central Americans and One Outsider.

Before leaving for Peru on Monday, I have some new arrivals to upload. We have quite a few Central American arrivals (5) so let’s start with the one outlying coffee: Australia Mountain Top Farm -Bin 478 has more character this year, fruited with rose hips and spice. Back to those Centrals, the Costa Rica Brumas Dry-Process is phenomenal coffee, but expect something more like an Ethiopia Harar than a Costa Rica. It’s fruity and chocolaty, not to any ridiculous extreme … but … if you want one that is, boy do we have it. Guatemala Oriente Dry-Process is completely over-the-top with a complete fruit salad and super intense chocolate at FC+ roast. Read the review! We have two beautiful El Salvador arrivals, the El Salvador Cup of Excellence -Finca Malacara which was #5 in the competition, and El Salvador Organic -Finca Mauritania a classic cup with sweet delicate fruited flavors and balanced body. Lastly, we have the humble, simple (yet delicious) Mexico Organic Chiapas Proish Coop … another nice Mexican coffee with another unglamorous name. Thankfully, names don’t make coffee taste any worse (or better). Also see the shennanigans of the Costa Rica Micro-Millers visit to Sweet Maria’s on Friday. How many cupping have free soccer balls at the end? -Tom

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Costa Rica El Puente “Caturra Miel”

We’re going for sweetness with this week’s roast.  This Caturra was carefully prepared for Sweet Maria’s by a great farm in the Puente Ecologica (a coop owned by 6 farmers) and demonstrates how pulp natural Centrals are really coming into their own.  The “miel” process does indeed impart a honey sweetness in the cup and this particular lot balances this with a fair bit of fruity brightness.  We kept the roast in the City+ range with a final thermoprobe temperature of 431 degrees.  Roast times averaged 15:30 minutes.

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Costa Rica CoE, 3 new Kenyas, Lintong, Yemen Qishr

New Kenya lots (3) have arrived (Gatomboya, Giakanja, Tegu). Each of these is quite different (Gatomboya is a real sleeper … very sweet Tangerine; Giakanja has a wild streak in it and winey fruit; Tegu is brighter, a classic Nyeri-type cup). In addition we have our first CoE lot (finally), Costa Rica Cup of Excellence -Santa Lucia, a nice late season Sumatra Lintong, and a new lot of Yemen coffee-skin tea, Yemen Qishr.

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Brazil FTO Poco Fundo Peaberry

This week we are roasting a nice lot of Peaberry from the Poco Fundo cooperative.  This is a well established co-op that has good years, and not so good years.  We took this week’s roast to the Full City level, final thermoprobe temperature of 439 degrees.  I did mix in a little that was roasted a few degrees more to make certain that the fruity aspects of the cup are balanced with a chocolate roast flavor.  I didn’t enter second crack at all so we are still talking about Full City here.  I did do slightly larger batches this week and the roast times reflect this increase coming in at about 16 minutes on average.  In general we’ve been trying to shorten roast times a little bit more lately to ensure we aren’t “baking” the coffee too much.  I think the results from the past few weeks have been pretty great.  Hope you all agree!

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matching sets of new coffee arrivals

I am back from a long Africa trip (including the first-ever Rwanda Cup of Excellence competition). We have a couple "matching pairs of coffees to list: El Salvador – Orange Bourbon Cultivar is from the Santa Rita farm, and has great balanced flavors and brightness (it makes a mean SO espresso!) whereas it’s cousin, El Salvador -Yellow Bourbon Cultivar, is brighter and has a more dynamic brewed cup. Our second pair is Yemen Mohka Mattari (think chocolate bittersweets with winey hints), and Yemen Mohka Sharasi, potent, fruit-laced, and intense! And we have more coffees coming in Tuesday including 3 new Kenya lots. -Tom

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Hyenas of Harar #2

Hyenas of Harar #2, originally uploaded by sweetmarias.

My full photoset of Harar Pictures is available on our site!

The pack in Harar has been fed for 50 years by the Hyena Man (2generations of Hyena Men, to be correct). They also come into town through “Hyena Hole”, a gap in the wall surrounding the Jogol, the old town. While they are dangerous and wild, they are pack animals, and highly adaptable. So the feeding of them seems partcularily tame. But there are hyena attacks on children, as you will see when I photographed a 10 year old victim who survived (my full pictorial coming soon.) They will take young children and simply disappear to the mountains. This happened 2 weeks before in the region of Hararghe where I went to meet the small farmers.

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Ethiopia Organic DP – Dale Yirga Alem

Better late than never…This was quite a treat to roast and is a fine example of a dry process Ethiopia coffee.  Perhaps some of you have had a chance to roast the Wet Process Koratie we have on offer, becuase that would draw a nice contrast to this particular coffee.  I pushed this roast right up to the Full City+ level with final temperatures in the 438-442 degree range.  Lighter roasts of this coffee explode with blueberry and the darker roasts bring out bittersweet chocolate notes, so my goal was to have the best of both worlds.  Again, we combined a few different roast levels to achieve this goal and I think the results were pretty great.

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