Monthly Archive for September, 2010

Roast Coffee Pairing #46: Balanced Coffees

This week we roasted two Central America coffees that have good balance and apple-like acidity.  Mexico FTO Chiapas – Reserva el Triunfo has a wonderful light body with soft milk chocolate tones and was kept at a light roast level: City+.  You may want to cull out a few of the quakers (light colored beans) to improve the sweetness of the cup.  Panama Finca La Camiseta has a more creamy body with hints of brown sugar balanced by crisp acidity; roasted to City+ to accentuate the classic bright tones in the cup.  Both of these coffees represent their origin well and are great crowd-pleasing cups, balanced may not be the most exciting descriptor but after getting pummeled by fruit-laden Kenyas and Ethiopias, or zinged with rustic Sumatras, it is nice to kick back with a nicely structured cup and just enjoy two stalwart examples of Central America coffee at its finest.

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New arrivals: Sumatra Mandheling, Kenya Nyeri Gaturiri, Ethiopia WP Guji Oromo

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So impressive: three SO espressos/coffees to add: Sumatra Classic Mandheling, Kenya Nyeri AA Gaturiri, and Ethiopia Wet Process Guji Oromo. We are excited to be adding three great coffees today that make great Single-Origin espressos as well. First is the standard and favorite Sumatra Classic Mandheling with its low tones, heavy body, and semi-sweet tastes. Most of you should also be familiar and fans of Nyeri district coffee. We have a limited amount of Kenya Nyeri AA Gaturiri. The flavor profile includes caramel, grape, and an overall nice balance. We actually pulled some amazing, bright shots of 100% Gaturiri too, not easy with Kenya coffees. Last but not least is Ethiopia Wet Process Guji Oromo. This washed coffee is unique in its sweet spice notes, floral hints, and even gingerbread. It’s a very distinct flavor profile, different than Sidama coffees and Yirga Cheffes too. As always, origin reviews are linked above.

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The Nordic Barista Cup

Shortly after his return from Rwanda, Tom hopped back into our private jet (ha!) and headed off to Norway for the Nordic Barista Cup. OK…we don’t have a private jet…but Tom racks up the frequent flyer miles.   Click here to see some great photos and read why Tom traveled to Europe for a barista event instead of going off to a country that grows our coffee.

Tom also uploaded a few new videos. One is a Bunn Trifecta demo from Norway and the other is a taste of some expresso (they drink expresso there) from northern Europe. – Byron

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New coffees: Costa Rica Lourdes de Naranjo, Guat. Acatenango Soledad, Colombia Carcacoles del Sur PB

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Hooray! Three new coffees: Costa Rica Lourdes de Naranjo -Finca Genesis, Guatemala Acatenenango -Finca La Soledad and Colombia Peaberry Los Caracoles del Sur. Here’s the brief rundown: The Costa Rica Lourdes de Naranjo -Finca Genesis is a big customer favorite and former CoE #1 award-winner; unique combo of citrus brightness and syrupy body containing dried fruit and toasted nut flavors. Moving on, we have Guatemala Acatenenango -Finca La Soledad, with its balanced mix of almond and apricot with dense and rounded mouthfeel. Lastly is a new coffee: Colombia Peaberry Los Caracoles del Sur, a “southern” blend of coffees from southern Huila and southern Tolima. Look for fig fruits, syrupy body and milk chocolate in the profile. Check out Tom’s full cupping reviews and farm info at the links above!

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El Salvador Manzano Process Experiment

Today we are listing the El Salvador Manzano Process Experiment,  which offers a fabulous chance to taste what processing contributes to a coffee. This is a rare offering; picked from the same area of the farm, same day, processed three different ways: Wet Processed, Pulped Natural, and Natural (Dry Process) . It is a 100% Bourbon coffee from the Manzano mill and farm in El Salvador,. Cupping these coffees is a great experience for tasting intellect. There is a pronounced difference in the cup, but at the same time a very logical progression of the development of certain flavors and characteristics which show how similar the coffees are as well.   You get a set of 1 pound each of the three different processing methods so you can see how that impacts not just the cup character but how the coffee roasts as well. (Again to be clear 3 Lbs of coffee, 1 lb of each process, cost is $18  for the set).

We started a thread in the SM Forum about the coffee, so please share your experience roasting with this unusual offering there. Tom has made a video with macro images of the unroasted and roasted samples, to give some clues of what to look for…

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New arrival: El Salvador Aida’s Grand Reserve (& Producers Visit)

Mario Mendoza-Corleto (far left) and Aida Batlle (right, in white) share a few laughs with Sweet Maria's staff

Aida Batlle at her farm on Santa Ana volcano

Announcing: El Salvador Peaberry “Aida’s Grand Reserve” …, the arrival of our favorite coffee from what is possibly our favorite farm! ! It’s hard to condense the intense qualities of character into a blurb but look for a juicy cup with Monukka raisin, dark wine notes, and semi-sweet chocolate in the profile. Look for a sherbet like fruit sweetness at the lighter roasts,… well, just check out Tom’s review after you read about Aida’s visit below:

Aida Batlle, Roberto Llach, Diego Llach and Mario Mendoza-Corleto recently visited our office/warehouse here in Oakland to see how we operate.  Aida runs several farms (including Finca Kilimanjaro) on the Santa Ana volcano, and Roberto and his son Diego are connected with the San Gabriel Tablon Buena Vista farm.  Mario runs the mill J. Hill that processes both farms’ coffees and many others.   Aida shared the story that she personally vacuum packs all her coffee herself, and has the arms to prove it!  We also found out that through his travels, Roberto had met Emperor Haile Selaissie during a trip to Ethiopia in the early 1970s.

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Roasting with a Popcorn Popper. So Simple.

We realized that amongst all the videos we have posted, there has never (gasp!) been one covering the basics of roasting with a popcorn popper – which is one of our favorite ways to home roast and an especially good, inexpensive way to get started. So we decided to post 3 new YouTube vids  about roasting with a popper. In the first one, Tom goes to the thrift/junk store to show you the kind of popper to look for.

Check out the other new videos too – one where Tom demonstrates using a popper to roast coffee – and another of the entire roast process in a popcorn popper.

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Roast Coffee Pairing #45: Varietal Influence Reprise — Bourbon and Pacamara

[We maintained a separate "Roastmaster's Blog" for the past year, but from now on we are combining the two and will post comments on our most recent Roasted Coffee Pairings in this space]  For our most recent roasted coffee pairing,  we are comparing two El Salvador coffees: the San Gabriel Bourbon and the Siberia Estate Pacamara. Both are from the same area of El Salvador – the Santa Ana department (or state) – though not the same farm. The Bourbon is a classic cup, balanced and rounded, with good body and sweetness. Bourbon can take a range of roasts, but to accentuate the comparison with the Pacamara we are keeping it light, to a City + roast, that allows the brightness of the bourbon to come through.  The Pacamara has a wonderfully complex profile with hints of apple skin fading to a sugary sweet finish.  This pairing highlights just how different two coffees can be due to varietal, both are very sweet but the Bourbon displays a more traditional side, while the Pacamara is a bit more varied.  Both are excellent and we hope you enjoy them!  Final roast temperature of 422 degrees, total roast time 15 minutes.

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