Monthly Archive for June, 2010

Liquid Amber is back! Also, Panama Guyami Robusta,Hawaii Ka’anapali DP Moka,Salvador Bourbon,Colombia Tolima

Five new arrivals today, two of them Espresso related. Let’s start out with the one everyone has been waiting for: Sweet Maria’s Liquid Amber Espresso Blend is back! The Vienna roast is a potent and savory cup with chocolate/noir tastes; this blend is perfect also for milk drinks. We also finally have a quality robusta back in stock for espresso blends: Panama Guyami Indian Robusta. Folks will remember baker’s chocolate in this potent cup and best to keep these dark and in espresso blends at 15%. Rounding things out are some excellent drip coffees starting with Hawaii Ka’anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen with its honey and maple sugar flavors and hint of cocoa. Don’t let the tiny screen size fool you – thick body and chocolate flavors here. The El Salvador Finca San Gabriel Bourbon is a classic Bourbon cup with mild citrus, cane sugar, and dense body. Look for even more chocolate and body at darker roasts! Lastly is the ‘mutt’ of the pack,… literally. It’s Colombia – Los Chuchos de Tolima, a mutt-like combination of the best of the best of Colombian microlots. Not the spicy sweetness in the cup with a sweet/savory quality that is very balanced. Check out Tom’s full reviews as you click-through!

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Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazu

Herbazu, Villa Sarchi Cultivar

Cafelatera Herbazu, Villa Sarchi Cultivar

We were looking over which new-arriving coffees were most popular, and which were selling slower, and I was shocked to see that Herbazu wet-process was a laggard.  Shocked! Anyway, looking at sales, or promoting a coffee because it isn’t ripping off the shelves is all foreign to me. It’s more “businessy” than SM, but the idea that poor Herbazu isn’t popular hurt a little bit. It’s like someone calling your child ugly. It’s not right. Is it the name? Sounds herbal? Is it the fact it is a super clean, bright classic Costa Rica, which is less interesting than the newer, more exotic Miel-processed coffees like Finca Genesis? I roasted some Herbazu samples and put them in the daily cupping lineup against some other Central Americas, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. Stunning coffee. Dynamic, sweet in the aroma, citric, zesty, palate-cleansing. Surprising was how the slightly darker FC roast cupped. Rindy orange notes were sweeter than the light roast, with a darker berry fruit underlaying the piquant citrus. It’s great coffee. It’s a 90 point cup for sure.

Anyway, the normal mode here is to simply “do what I do” and not look at what sells, etc. The idea is to buy great lots from each origin, to identify a great farm, work with them, and just tell the story of the coffee and the cup. That’s it, to let your palate lead you to great coffees, and buy with your heart. Maybe I should just ignore the relative popularity of each coffee, and just focus on sourcing the best lots. But, I might ask, if you are considering a bright, classic Central, consider poor Herbazu. I doubt you could possibly find flaw with such a precious coffee.  -Tom

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Roast Coffee Pairing #39: Central American Compare/Contrast

Here we have a comparison of two mild and balanced wet-process coffees  – the types of cups that make you say “That is good coffee.” It sounds dumb right? But we tend to describe coffee with so many different terms, so perhaps the best way to describe these cups is to say they are what we would call “crowd-pleasing coffees.”  We hope you will join us in comparing the lighter and sweeter Honduras Marcala   profile with the more chocolate-creme structure of the Costa Rica Ponderosa.  Both were kept light to enhance the subtle flavors evident in each, City+ roast level, 422 final thermoprobe temperature, 15:30 roast time.  The Ponderosa has a bit more body while the Marcala has a bright snap.  Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog or forum, we hope to foster discussions amongst our home roasters about what these different lots have to offer at various roast levels.

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Moka Kadir is back! Also, Colombia Carlos Imbachi, Guatemala Bourbon, Sumatra Takengon Classic

You’ll be happy to hear we’re adding four more coffees today! First up is the return of two oft-requested coffees… The return of our Sweet Maria’s Moka Kadir Blend for which we finally have proper quality components to mix. As most know, this is great for both drip and espresso. Look for dark molasses, intense chocolate and rustic fruit in the cup. Second up is the long-awaited Colombia Finca Buenavista -Carlos Imbachi. This is an outstanding microlot with tropical fruit and sugar cane in the profile. Look for chocolate-covered raisin in the darker roasts. (also: we are limiting sales on this small lot of coffee.) The Guatemala Bourbon -Finca San Diego Buena Vista is a quality Guatemala Bourbon through and through. This is Tom’s current favorite for single-origin espresso. Look for lemon-zest and chocolate in the darker roasts in this new offering! Last but not least is another one our standards, Sumatra Takengon Classic Mandheling … which most of you know from the past. For those who don’t: it’s a low acidity semisweet chocolatey profile with dark sugars, earth, and heavy body. It’s another dark-roast favorite!

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New arrivals from Kenya, Panama, Sulawesi & Brazil …

More coffees! We’re adding a nice variety today, beginning with Kenya Kirinyaga Peaberry Gakuyu-ini. Look for high citrus tones here and a fruit-bomb flavor profile. Staying on the brighter side, we’ve also added Panama Finca La Camiseta. This is a traditional wet-process with apple acidity and caramelized brown sugar at darker roasts. Next is an unusual coffee, very different than others from the region: Sulawesi Wet-Process Toarco Peaberry. This is a bright herbal cup with a piney aroma and flavor hints of Guatemala and Island coffees. Last up is the Brazil Joao de Campos Yellow Catuai, a chocolaty cup from the Cerrado region. Try this one as an espresso blend base! Welcome to Summertime everybody! We’ll have more exciting additions soon!

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New arrivals: Kenya Murang’a Kangunu, Kenya Kirinyaga Karani PB, Brazil Cerrado DP Fazenda Aurea, Sumatra Lintong Blue Batak

We’re excited to announce… four new coffees and two are Kenyas! First is the stellar Kenya Murang’a AA Kangunu … a tongue-twister in name and taste, this is a bright coffee with sweet honey and floral notes. It has malty syrup, honey and caramel and distinct berry notes toward the darker roasts. See the full review for more info on the coop and the farm-gate type of sale. Next we have Kenya Kirinyaga Karani Peaberry, an effervescent cup with complex Nyeri-like brightness and malt syrup notes. Darker roasts have a bittersweet and dark chocolate accent. These lots are limited so act fast! Bringing up the rear are two favorites fully back in stock. The Brazil Cerrado DP Fazenda Aurea is a great blend base, single-origin espresso, or drinking coffee as most of you know by now. Look for great creamy body and a clean flavor profile with nuts and chocolate at darker roasts. Finally, we have Sumatra Lintong Blue Batak, a thick-bodied, spicy and rustic cup with fruit notes and a sweetness that sets it a bit apart. Takes a dark roast well too!

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Roast Coffee Pairing #38: Indonesian Comparison

We roasted two different Indonesian coffees this time… a Sumatra Grade 1, a Classic Mandheling,… and  Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar.  The Grade 1 Mandheling is what many people look for in Sumatran coffee – heavy body  and a complex earthy flavor. This is a deep, brooding, pungent, bass note coffee, with an undertone of mildly earthy dark chocolate.  Onan Ganjang is a local cultivar from the Lintong area with the thick, creamy mouthfeel and low acidity you might expect in Sumatran coffee, but more rustic sweetness,  malty caramel, butterscotch, chocolate, and slightly herbal flavors.   Look for the taste differences between these two coffees at a similar roast level and it should be apparent how different Indonesian coffees, in this case two Sumatrans, can be.  Each batch was roasted to Full City, 15 minutes, 435 degrees.

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New arrivals: Yemen Mokha Sharasi, Brazil Daterra Farms Yellow Bourbon, Kenya Kirinyaga Peaberry Gakuyu-ini

As promised earlier in the week we are adding three new coffees today, including a new Yemeni coffee, which has been much anticipated. The shipment finally came through and the first Yemen we can offer is the Yemen Mokha Sharasi, a coffee with intensely sweet aromas, and sweet fruit, spice and sandalwood accents, characteristically rustic. Interesting as a SO espresso with enough rest. The Brazil Daterra Farms – Yellow Bourbon is back, with a strong almond fragrance, and rustic sweetness. City+ roasts are good for a bright cup, and darker roasts for a compelling SO espresso. Finally, the first of our new shipment of Kenyan coffees, the ever-popular Kenya Kirinyaga Peaberry Gakuyu-ini, with high-tones citrus, Meyer lemon, layers of fruit, raisin and plum. A real fruit-bomb Kenya!

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