Monthly Archive for June, 2009

Central America and Ethiopia Updates: June 30th

The Centrals: It’s June 30 and the Centrals are starting to come in en masse. You have already seen the Costa Rica micro-mill lots arriving, kicked off with the AMAZING wet-process Cafetalera Herbazu. Small lots of La Guaca Bourbon, La Yunta Organic and the award-winning Sin Limites have made for a full list of offerings right now. And more are on their tail, including the CoE winning Genesis. We have had the Guatemala Agua Tibia for several weeks and now comes quite a few new arrivals in the next week or so, including the spectacular Guatemala Gesha we have stocked the last 4 years, as well as Huehuetenango La Maravilla (we had it in ’05 and I have been trying to get it ever since) and a really interesting JBM cultivar lot from El Progresso state, Finca La Bella. El Salvador new crops are 10-14 days out, Matalapa Estate, and later we will have some micro-lots from Matalapa as well. Honduras new crop we have had for a while, and we have one more lot in the works as well as our CoE lot we split with Ritual coffee roasters. Panama La Berlina Organic has been in stock a week, and gosh, where is our vacuum packed Esmeralda Gesha from the auction. In transit, but arrival date unknown. Anyway, that’s a short rundown of where we are at today!
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Ethiopia: It’s June 30th and usually we would have incoming Ethiopia coffees arriving around now. In fact Harars have typically been arriving in March or so, much earlier than others. Sadly, the whole Ethiopia ECX boondoggle has turned an already chaotic system on it’s head, and hopefully it will be straightened out for next years crop. As for this year, I have finally been cupping some very nice DP coffees from Sidamo and Yirga Cheffe as well as Guji lately, and some from the West. We have some very promising lots “on the water” that had very nice samples in the pre-ship as well. So it’s not like there won’t be great Ethiopia coffees. They are just late, a little harder to find, and a few, if they went through the exchange, may not have the exact producer name attached, although they are identified by region and in some case subregions. One victim of all this seems to be Harars. I have only cupped 2 or 3 that made it to the US and they were, well, not the kind we buy, even when desperate. There was one with very nice body and good chocolate and positive earthy and herbal notes, but around 25% of the cups were musty; unacceptable! Musty goes beyond just a bad taste, I consider it a possible danger since it must originate in a mold or fungus … even if it is roasted at 450f and brewed at 195f, I wouldn’t trust it and I would sell it to anyone… so Harar is in Limbo. I will be a little surprised at this point if a good one materializes, because late shipments from the East are never good due to the storage conditions in Dire Dawa and shipping from Djibouti. 2009 might be the “Year of No Harar”. Too bad because we had this beautiful coffee all lined up from the Choma subregion, the raised bed project there, the one I went and photographed in February. We have some nice wet-process Yirga Cheffe lots on the water too, so no worries there, And in fact this late current crop Bonko wet process we have now has been a lifesaver. We also keep our secret stash of wet process Kochere that helps make a couple of our new Espresso Workshop blends so aromatic and sweet. And Misty Valley, ay, finally running out of stock. Farewell my friend, I have some fears that we might not see you in ’09 due to quality issues with that project (mainly linked to too-rapid expansion I think — havent you seen IMV offered all over, and has it been good? Not all of it. (We squirreled away our separated lot, but I cupped others that were, yawn… not what they should be…)
-Tom

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Clever Coffee Dripper: Our new “Full Immersion” brewer…


I am really excited about this little filtercone, the Clever Coffee Dripper. It greatly improves the quality of the coffee you brew. It is a simple #4 cone with a drip-stop mechanism. You let the coffee and water infuse for whatever length of time you want, place the filter on a cup or other vessel and let the filtered coffee drain down. Maria and I have been using this to make coffee at home for a couple of months now – and it works great. It actually does not drip! Well, not when it is not supposed to. It is an in-expensive way to make great coffee; all the body and full-flavor extraction of french press, without the sediment. That’s why we call this a “Full Immersion” brew method – coffee and water can infuse for the recommended 3-4 minute time, rather than a normal filtercone where you can only hope to control brew time by grinding coffee ridiculously fine. The Clever Coffee Dripper blends the convenience of filter drip, with control over extraction. It’s great for camping and travel as well, and can make coffee for 1, 2 4 people … exceeding the limitation of the Aeropress. -Tom

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New arrivals – Panama Org. Berlina, Kenya Karinga PB

6/25: Wait, two more coffees to add: We’re excited to have the new harvest to offer from of our regular farms: Panama Organic La Berlina Estate Typica, this lot is a creamy classic Central with caramel-malt sweet notes. and a savory tone as well. Secondly we are adding a new peaberry today: Kenya Kirinyaga -Karinga PB which cups as a more balanced Kenya than recent arrivals. It has a reduced acidity and does well at dark roast levels too.

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New arrivals – Kona Kowali JBM, Costa Rica Candelilla Guaca, Costa Rica Magnolia Decaf, & Tanzania Blackburn PB

We are adding four coffees today: Hawaii Kona -Kowali Farm JBM Cultivar, a classic is back with sweet floral aromatics (Limit to 1lb) Next up is Costa Rica La Candelilla Guaca Bourbon, a great drinking coffee with bittersweet chocolate, thick body, dark fruits. We also got a good decaf Central, the Costa Rica La Magnolia SWP Decaf, which has with a ‘fudgesicle’ note. Last, we have the return of Tanzania Blackburn Estate Peaberry, a wine-like coffee with berry notes – a favorite of Kenya fans.

note: we should be adding Panama Berlina and a Kenya PB in a couple of days as well.

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Honduras Cup of Excellence 2009!

Honduras Cup of Excellence 2009!
Is this the finest and most inspirational photograph ever taken at a
Cup of Excellence coffee competition. Yes, yes it is. Kudos to the
photographer who captured this moment as producers in Honduras watch
the live internet auction. That donut looks soooooo tasty! We are sharing lot #8 with Ritual Coffee Roasters.

-Tom

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Roast Coffee Pairing #14: Tasting Varietal Influence Pacamara v. Bourbon

In this pairing, we are offering two coffees that are different varietals, Pacamara and Bourbon. Bourbon is an heirloom Arabica varietal from Reunion Island off the coast of Madagasgar. Pacamara is a more recently developed hybrid. In a thread on the Home Coffee Roasting Forum, Tom has posted with a PDF of an article from the El Salvador Coffee Consejo with more on the origin for both varietals. Besides the differences in the plant itself, how it is grown and where, there is a specifc flavor associated with both these varieties, a profile that can dominate the regional effects,. i.e. Bourbon or Pacamara coffee will tend to taste more like other coffees of the same variety, rather than other varieties grown in the same region. For the El Salvador Siberia Estate Bourbon we targeted somewhere between City+ and Full City.  Final thermaprobe temperature readouts were 436 degrees, with roast times in the 15 minute time frame.   Roasts were taken a bit darker for the El Salvador Montanita Pacamara into the Full City range with final thermoprobe temperatures of 443 degrees and roast times around 15:30 minutes.     In cupping each coffee only a few hours after roasting there are some striking differences in these two varietals grown in the same country. The Bourbon has a bit of the orangey zing Tom mentions in the review and a more mild flavor profile over all.  The Pacamara seems more complex, with definite acidity that puckers the cheeks a bit balanced with more foresty notes.  Generally, we want you to be able to compare these coffees at the same roast level, here the Bourbon is markedly lighter than the Pacamara but I think both are outstanding coffees at these roast levels and the Bourbon in particular has great flavor both lighter and darker than I roasted it today.

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drinking coffee vs tasting coffee

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New arrivals – Brazil Jacu, Costa Rica, Yemen, new espresso blend

Exciting new adds! First up is the mild return of Brazil Jacu Bird Coffee. It’s a “bird-processed” natural Brazil, check out this and the other reviews for the full story. Next is Costa Rica “Cafe Sin Limites”, a great Villa Sarchi miel-prep coffee from the farm. This farm has placed #2 in the CoE for the past 2 years. Big buttery mouthfeel with honey notes. Yemen Mokha Ismaili is finally back! Complex with different tastes at different roasts. Try step blending and single-origin espresso, check out Tom’s full cupping review. And finally, the latest in our series, Espresso Workshop #5 – The Breccia Blend. Enjoy lemon and berry flavors at a medium roast, this is on the brighter end of the scale.

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