Daily Archive for December 9th, 2008

Roasted Coffee Pairings

So if you have followed our coffee roasting, we have decided to take it in a new direction… and we are pretty excited about it. Roasted coffee pairings means 1 lb each of 2 coffees, selected to illustrate a specific cup quality, processing difference, cultivar comparison … the possibilities are nearly endless. For more information see our Roasted Ordering Page. To start we are roasting a Wet-Process versus a Pulp-Natural coffee from the exact same harvest of the exact same estate. It’s rare to have a chance to evaluate the difference in these post-harvest treatments when all the other variables are the same. I roasted the El Salvador Finca Mauritania to 432 f, a City+ roast, and used the exact same roast curve for both coffees. I noticed the Pulp Natural took a little bit more heat and time to roast … interesting. The flavor difference we experienced in cupping the samples before this roast session were subtle, but with more rest they became clear. The Wet-Process is a refined coffee, more dynamci, vivid brightness, clean flavors, lighter body. The Pulp Natural has thicker body, quite evident, with fruited and chocolate backdrop to the cup and lower acidity. It shows how processing influences the final cup flavors, and helps the taster to define their palate preferences by presenting two clear differences. Let’s see where the chips fall in terms of which is favored, traditional wet-process or this hybrid process, used most widely in Brazil.

We also are announcing our next 4 roast sessions (2 weeks apart, roughly, so 2 months total), and up until the next Pairing, you can actually order the complete set of 4 (a great gift as well). Here’s our plan for the next 2 months:

All Out Africa Slugfest
Is Kenya or Ethiopia the regining “King of All Africa Coffee?”  Both certainly produce phenomenal lots of bright, floral, vividly fruited coffees. How do they rate head-to-head. We choose Kenya Marua Peaberry versus Ethiopia Wet-Process Kebado as representatives for this special pre-Holiday roast session. This pairing will definitely solicit comment from your holiday dinner guests, as each of these are top-pick coffees for 2008. And with this weeks pairing, you have the rare chance to buy into the series of the next 4 roasts, a great gift to give (maybe even to yourself!)

Fruity of Fruited?
How do fruity flavors manifest themselves in different coffees, ones derived from different processes? We want to compare the full-on Dry-Process of Ethiopia versus the hybrid Wet-Hull process of Indonesia. Here are two totally different origins. How does altitude, cultivar, and (perhaps most importantly) these “post-harvest” processing difference change the way that fruit comes out in the cup? We chose our new lot of Ethiopia Organic Dry-Process “Bonko” (comming to the list soon, a phenomenal coffee) to a real sleeper, Indonesia Flores Organic Manggarai, the best Flores we have ever tasted.

Is it right for a coffee buyer (okay, I mean us, Sweet Maria’s) to ask producers who have traditionally Wet-Processed their coffees to suddenly Dry-Process small lots? If the results are good (they are …and so starkly different from wet-process coffees) what will happen if this becomes a trend in Central America? Will great Wet-Process coffees disappear? Is it wrong to have the flavors of Ethiopia DP Sidamo from a Central, with acidity to boot? Or is it a bad precedent? We compare two intense Central America Dry-Process lots side-by side to see if any sins were committed.

Sumatra North vs. North
The district of North Sumatra is actually SOUTH of Aceh Province. Does that make sense? Both Lintongs from the North Sumatra area around Lake Toba and Aceh coffees from the much smaller Lake Tawar have been sold as Mandhelings in the past. And Mandheling area doesn’t even have coffee! But the flavors of these two are quite different; Lintongs have herbal notes and have been much brighter as of late, while Aceh coffees have classic body and flavors, but are perhaps less complex and more of a “blender.” How do two great lots from these areas rate side-by-side. We compare our Sumatra Classic Aceh Mandheling and one of our great Sumatra Lintong Blue Batak coffees.

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Brazil, El Salvador and Guatemala CoE

12/9: The new coffees keep comin’! We have listed just now Brazil Ipanema “Tree Dry Process”, a coffee from an estate that is familiar to our customers, but this time as a dried on the tree coffee that makes an excellent coffee for espresso use, mildly fruited, strong chocolate roast taste, and heavy liquor-like body. Also two exceptional cofffees, El Salvador Peaberry “Aida’s Grand Reserve”, a great coffee of careful propagation, harvesting, picking, processing, and blending, and the Guatemala Cup of Excellence #1 -El Injerto, a 100% pacamara cultivar that is clean, sweetly fruited, and spicy in the cup. We are selling this Guatemala CoE coffee by half pounds, since it is so pricey.

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