Monthly Archive for December, 2009

All shades of red, yellow and green. Shanta Golba Union, Ethiopia

A pretty picture, but horrible selection of coffee cherry. I saw a lot of this in my recent trip to southern Ethiopia. I have a selection of pictures on flickr, and the whole photo set to the SM site -Tom

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New arrivals- Kenya Kiambu Nyaga PB, Sumatra FTO Aceh Arinagata, Rwanda Gkongoro Nyarusiza, Papua New Guinea Kimel PB

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Four new coffees to end 2009 ! Up first is the Kenya Kiambu Nyaga Peaberry with ripe fruit tastes and a citric accent. Kirinyaga fans should take note. Next up is a new arrival of Sumatra FTO Aceh Arinagata, a favorite in past months for those who like a slightly cleaner Sumatra prep. Look for spice tastes and a marked low acidity. We’re also adding Rwanda Gkongoro Nyarusiza, a well-balanced cup with fruit tones and a tea-like aftertaste. Lastly, we finally have the long-awaited Papua New Guinea Kimel Peaberry in stock. This is a bright Indonesian cup; clean, and well-rounded. Look for apple cider and floral tastes. It’s the best PNG we’ve seen in over a year! Check out the detailed cupping reviews for all of these coffees!

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Roast Coffee Pairing #26: African Coffee for the Holidays

With this pairing we are matching up the Ethiopia Moplaco with one of our special Kenya lots, the Tambaya. The Ethiopia Moplaco is a remarkable aromatic coffee with complex estery high notes. The cup has a soft, full mouthfeel, and ample sweetness. It’s a surprisingly silky body for a Yirga Cheffe, which can sometimes be a little thin. Apricot and peach notes emerge, sweet stone fruits, along with the honey and floral notes found in the aromatics. The Kenya Tambaya is outstandingly bright, yet balanced. There are pink grapefruit citrus notes, jasmine tea floral flavors, and a light brown sugar sweetness. As it cools, toasted almond essence comes out, peach and apricot stone fruits, Earl Grey tea in the finish. While it has a bracing finish, it is milder overall in acidity than some of our other lots, and complex in it’s estery floral and fruit characteristics as well. Roasted to City+:  Final temperature of 422 degrees, and roast times around 15 minutes.

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Kenya – Samuel Kabuye, just 76 years at Karagoto mill

Another great trip to Kenya, to see the amazing system from the small cooperative farmer, to the factory (what they call a coffee mill), to the dry mill and preparing coffee for export. The entire Kenya photo travelog is here. There is no other coffee origin with a system like this, including the Nairobi Coffee Auction that markets small lots based on cup quality, where the best coffees get the best price. Add to that the recent reforms that guarantee 80% of the sale price minus costs gets into the hands of the farmer, and you have a fantastic system to help buyers discover the best qualities. Again, Kenya is a place I just can’t take my finger off the shutter, and nothing gets me going like photos of ripe coffee cherry. We came to see the harvest and take photographs, and that we did. It was just my 2nd trip to this place, and the first for my travel pal, little Jeremy Tooker of 4 barrel coffee. I think we sorted out some details, visited a ton of factories, saw a lot of harvest and a lot of cherry being sorted (one of many small details that makes for such high quality in Kenya coffees). Some nice images are buried in here, and a few just get by. There are some mediocre ones that are from my GPS device, and have accurate geotags. Thanks for looking! -Tom

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New arrivals- Guatemala Acatenenango -Finca La Soledad, Costa Rica Helsar “Villa Sarchi Solis”, El Salvador Matalapa “El Mirador”

http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/GuatemalaAcatenenangoFincaLaSoledad2009.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/CostaRicaHelsaVillaSarchiSolis2009.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/ElSalvadorMatalapaElMirador2009.jpg

Three new coffees to take us into the holidays! First up is a classic central in the Guatemala Acatenenango -Finca La Soledad. Try this as Single-Origin Espresso and look for chocolate along the profile. Next up is Costa Rica Helsar “Villa Sarchi Solis” It’s a new type for us with peach tastes and bright zest up to full city plus in the flavor profile. And finally, the return of El Salvador Matalapa “El Mirador” with bright orange taste and creamy mouthfeel. Check out the full reviews!

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Uganda – Manual coffee pulper.

I went on a brief trip to Uganda, for the very first time. I was traveling with one Jeremy Tooker of 4 barrel coffee, and we met Charles Angebault, who has a project with a cooperative near Mbale named, rather comically, CoffeeACup coop. Okay, I know you are dying to know … it stands for Community Organized Farmers From Elgon Escarpment Arabica Coffee Uganda Program! Actually it was supposed to have on E after Coffee, but it was mistranscribed to they thought up “Escarpment” to justify the additional E. Uganda has potential, but their is much quality work to do in harvesting and drying of coffee. Most farmers never drink coffee here … in fact many don’t know exactly what coffee is used for. Because it is ground into powder, and because the government long ago would trade coffee for guns when they lacked money to pay for it, farmers actually believe coffee is ground and made into gunpowder! We met Mathias, the inspired and inspiring leader of the CoffeeACup cooperative, and Joselyn who is the development director, and I found them to be extremely intelligent, intuitive and motivated. I really hope this porject pans out, and we can elevate the quality as well as introduce small lot, farmer-specific Uganda coffee in this next harvest season. Aleco from Stumptown was the first visitor here, and he encouraged us to check out this project and to become involved, so a big thanks to him for what amounted to a few great days of coffee travel, camping out in tents, eating fresh omelets and local foods all day, and making some new friends … as well as meeting 10,000 smiling Bugisu children, all who must be photographed and then you must show each their photo on the digital camera. It was great fun. I felt like I was in a parade for 4 days, waving and greeting everyone we passed. Ah!  Some of the images can be seen on our flickr or the full Uganda photo set at Sweet Maria’s Dot Com. -Tom

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New arrivals- El Salvador CoE Villa Espana Bourbon,Sumatra Blue Batak Tarbarita PB,Peru FTO Norte WP Decaf,Mexico Org Santa Cruz WP Decaf

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Happy Holidays! We’re adding a CoE, a regular fave and some decafs today. First up is El Salvador Cup of Excellence -Villa Espana Bourbon, a classic Bourbon cup with a nice balance of citric brightness and body. Try it also as a Single-Origin Espresso! Next is the return of Sumatra Blue Batak Tarbarita Peaberry, a big favorite in the past. Look for rustic sweetness, chocolate, spice, and a lighter body overall. Lastly, we have two fine decaf additions: Peru FTO Norte WP Decaf with hints of lemon tea and brown sugar. Also we’ve added Mexico Organic Santa Cruz WP Decaf: this is a great caffeine-free Chiapas coffee, clean and crisp with tastes of honey and panela.

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Roast Coffee Pairing #25: 4th Generation Centrals

In this pairing we are using coffees from two farms that have been around a long long time, a Peaberry lot from the Matalapa Estate in El Salvador, and a Bourbon lot from the Puerta Verde estate, Antigua, Guatemala. I am not sure if the fact that the farms have been around so long contributes to their “classic cup” profile or not, but that is the case with both of these coffees. Both are truly classic Central American coffees. With the Matalapa Peaberry lot, the cup is vividly bright, with bracing orange acidity, laced with slight floral bits. As it cools there is bright and dynamic lemon with a cinnamon note. The Puerte Verde Bourbon is a classic Bourbon cup, dense mouthfeel, restrained flavors, classic brightness and balance. Both coffees were roasted to City+ with final thermoprobe temperature of 422 degrees and roast times of 15 minutes.

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