Monthly Archive for April, 2010

Roast Coffee Pairing #34: Central America: Compare/Contrast

Here we are comparing two Central American coffees – both from the same region – the same processing method. In a way we are splitting hairs here with two coffees from the same mill, the same region. The difference is the cultivar – in one case Caturra, the other Villa Sarchi. The Costa Rica Helsar Villa Sarchi Solis is classic Costa Rican coffee, mild with great balance, good body and brightness.

The Caturra Macho Arce is farmed by Manuel Arce, who calls himself “Macho”, this is another classic, bright, clean cup with similar cup characterisics. There is a distinct difference in the body of these two lots, with the Villa Sarchi having a more syrupy mouthfeel and the Caturra with more effervescence. Both coffees were roasted to a light Full City level to highlight the wonderful balance between chocolate and fruit both of these lots posess. Final thermoprobe temperature of 428 degrees, 15 minute roast times.

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Roast Coffee Pairing #33: Name that Coffee!

So, I know there are millions out there waiting for my roast blog posts (tee hee hee), but I plum forgot about it for the past month or so, here are a few lagging posts.

For April Fool’s we roasted two different coffees and labeled the bags A and B challenging you to guess which coffees they were.

And the answer is:

Coffee A was:

Nicaragua Finca San Jose Java Longberry

Coffee B was:

Sulawesi Wet-Process Toarco Flatbean

Thanks to those who participated in this little contest.  I guess the rest of you just drink whatever we send and hope that it is good!  Well, I personally loved the Sulawesi, my wife and I both were waking up to it every morning for a week solid and never tired of it.  I am so impressed with the washed coffees we get from Sulawesi, they strike the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.

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Shopping Cart is Up.

Well, the only reason we would say so is that we had an issue for about an hour today, and it is resolved. “The cart threw a PHP error” as Josh would say, but it didn’t affect anything except the damn thing wouldn’t load the pages, just a white screen. In the course of this, I have learned that Cache is just pronounced “Cash” and not “Cash-Ay”, or so insists techie Josh, who also says “wizzywig” and “prosumer” in regular speech. Who am I to argue, being so Web 1.0 and all. -Tom

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New arrivals- Colombia Tolima Merediano Microlot,Tanzania Nyatimbo PB,Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar,Ethiopia FTO Shoye Sidamo WP Decaf,Espresso Workshop #11 Tono Alto

It’s a new coffee day! We’ve added a new workshop blend and some interesting arrivals. Read on… First is small but special preparation, the Colombia Tolima Merediano Microlot with strawberry, nectarine, and bittersweet tastes. We are limiting sales as we have a limited supply of this great prep. Next is the spicy Tanzania Nyatimbo Peaberry with a broad mouthfeel, spiced notes, and dark berry in the finish. Most of our Indonesian fans will know and remember Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar, another big bodied, low acidity winner with butterscotch and chocolate in the profile. It’s another unique addition to our Indonesian section. We’ve also added a great coffee that we sent to be decaffeinated… The Ethiopia FTO Shoye Sidamo WP Decaf which hasn’t lost it’s buttery body or milk chocolate taste in its new decaf form. Last, but not least, is a new workshop edition the Espresso Workshop #11 Tono Alto with floral tones, caramel, and even grapefruit. Check out Tom’s full review(s) and note that this new blend is a bit brighter than the last, thus the naming convention (but it’s not a soprano-bright profile so don’t be scared off!)…

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Pour-Over Mania; Hario & Bonmac

The last year has seen a revival of interest in pour-over brewing. The phenomenon seems a bit odd; how can something so old-fashioned be fashionable?  We have offered Chemex and filter cones for years, but there are some interesting new innovations in pour-over brewing. These relatively new products that have generated excitement and interest in manual brewing methods along with the Clever Coffee Dripper we carry; namely the introduction of the Hario V-60 filtercone that has a single large hole at its base. How can a dripper with a gaping hole in the bottom possibly make good coffee? That is what I asked when I first saw the Hario V-60. The answer lies in using a pouring technique, controlling the rate and pattern by which you add the water to the grounds.  There are lots of good YouTube videos showing pouring techniques. I recently made a new Pour-Over Brewing Technique Video to condense what we have found, and Chemex users should really take note of the technique too! -Tom

Part of the controlling the water involves having a kettle with a narrow pouring spout. So we are stocking the Hario Buono Kettle too. It seems silly in a way to need a special device to add water to a filtercone – but it makes a big difference.  I was a doubter; now I am a believer.

We will also have a Bonmac plastic version of the V-60 cone soon too – that will be less expensive.

And for folks who don’t want to mess with the technique-dependent V60 we have added the Bonmac Single Hole Porcelain Filtercone. This filtercone gave us the best results in a blind cupping we did of brews using various filtercones which we posted here and on YouTube a few weeks ago.  Here is the link to that filtercone comparison video again. -Maria

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New Arrivals Guatemala, Brazil COE and Decaf, Kenya, New Workshop Blend

Happy Tax Day Eve! To help get you through this yearly hassle we are adding some incredible new coffees. First up is Guatemala Finca La Florencia 100% Bourbon a wonderfully balanced Bourbon lot with tangerine brightness and malty caramel. Brazil Cup of Excellence Fazenda Sertaozinho is another amazing winner with nutty tones, hints of honey with a dense mouthfeel and Meyer lemon finish. Brazil Joao de Campos WP Decaf is a very special lot of decaf that you may recognize from our regular green coffee offerings, expect nice pungency, spice, dark chocolate, and versatility for use in espresso blends. Kenya Nyeri Kiamabara Peaberry is like the greatest hits of Kenya coffees from last season all rolled into one lot, concentrated flavors of orange marmalade, apricot jam, black currant, and peach hints. Finally, Espresso Workshop #10 Espresso Profundo brings the intensity with fruit-laced chocolate and interesting pineapple/citrus notes at lighter roast levels, this is one workshop blend that can handle a bit darker roast which brings out dark berry and Sharffen Berger chocolate notes. As ever, click through to the full reviews and stay tuned next week for some more amazing decafs, and yet another new workshop blend.

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Getting Close to a Coffee Cherry (Video)

I was shooting cross-section macro images of a coffee cherry from my yard, and thought I would shoot some video too, and explain the coffee cherry parts as best I could:

Watch this is HD on youtube for a much better viewing experience…

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SCAA Coffee of the Year: Carlos Imbachi Wins Again!

Our Carlos Imbachi coffee (Finca Buenavista, San Augustin, Huila) just won the SCAA Coffee of the Year, AGAIN! I am pretty excited… as you can tell. Here are the results:

  • Overall Point Leader – Score 90.5 Country: Colombia Region: San Agustin, Huila Farm Name: Buenavista
  • Best of Origin – Score 87.375 Country: El Salvador Region: Apaneca/Ilamatapeq Mountain Range Farm Name: El Recuerdo
  • Best of Origin – Score 89.625 Country: Guatemala Region: Antigua Guatemala, Sacatepequez Farm Name: Puerta Verde
  • Best of Origin – Score 87.563 Country: USA/Hawaii Region: Ka’u Farm Name: The Rising Sun
  • Best of Origin – Score 89.313 Country: Honduras Region: Mogola / Marcala / La Paz Farm Name: La Isabela
  • Best of Origin – Score 89.222 Country: Kenya Region: Nyeri Farm Name: Gichathaini
  • Best of Origin – Score 85.558 Country: Nicaragua Region: Mozonte/Nueva Segovia Farm Name: Un Regalo de Dios
  • Best of Origin – Score 89.125 Country: Panama Region: Boquete Farm Name: Hacienda La Esmeralda
  • Best of Origin – Score 89.2 Country: Perú Region: Puno Farm Name: Tunk

Now, I don’t take it too sincerely. After all, we also put Kenya Gakuyu-ini Peaberry in to the COTY and they gave it 75 points! Completely lame. We even recupped it as we have numerous times and it’s impossible to give that coffee less that 88 unless you blow the roast on it. Clean cup and acidity gets you over 86 alone. So whatever. But I am excited, and it will be great to take this to Sr. Imbachi next time I visit him… Thanks to Virmax, the exporter, who sent in the Imbachi sample. It is from the same lot that is in transit to Sweet Maria’s right now… -Tom

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