Monthly Archive for May, 2011

Mokha Moka Madness! Yemen Mokha Sharasi, Yemen Mokha Ismaili, Hawaii Ka’anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen

We are super psyched to add TWO amazing Yemeni coffees today and a new Hawaii Dry Process lot, Yemen Mokha Ismaili , Yemen Mokha Sharasi , Hawaii Ka’anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen We know there are lots of folks out there who already know the amazing qualities of Yemeni coffees but for the uninitiated they are wildly fruity and rustic in the best possible way. Yemen Mokha Sharasi has winey fruits and spice hints and is outstanding as SO espresso. Yemen Mokha Ismaili tastes like chocolate dipped banana at light roasts with more licorice at darker levels, again, outstanding as SO espresso. These are both also great coffees to blend with, try your own version of Moka Kadir by mixing one or both of these Yemeni coffees with the Harar Longberry. Last but not least we have Hawaii Ka’anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen a unique rounded bean cultivar that is a bit tricky to roast, but delivers maple syrup and melted butter flavors, that’s right: a dry process Hawaii offering! Click through for more notes on the coffees.

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Thanks for visiting us at the Maker Faire

Thank you to all who came down to visit our booth at this year’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA. We had a great time meeting fellow coffee lovers and new friends, and  having time to chat with our current customers. We were inspired by the large number of people interested in home coffee roasting – even the gentleman who asked, “Why are you promoting home coffee roasting?”  “Well, um, because, if you like to drink coffee,  it’s a great way to make really good coffee!”   We are pretty beat from all the driving, loading, unloading and talking, talking, talking,  but are very excited to have spent time with so many people and share something we are really into. To Josh and Byron who set up and manned the booth, a big THANK YOU. - Maria

Check out our short video montage. What’s Josh pointing to at 0:34? Our blue Make Magazine Editor’s Award ribbon!


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Four More: Espresso Workshop 16 Lenny Dee-spresso,Guatemala Candelaria,Ethiopia Harar,Tanzania Mbinga Ruvuma

New workshop blend and three arrivals: Espresso Workshop #16- Lenny Dee-spresso, Guatemala Finca Candelaria, Ethiopia Harar Longberry, and Tanzania Mbinga Ruvuma Flatbean. Let’s start with the bright shimmering new blend: Espresso Workshop #16- Lenny Dee-spresso. Named after a zesty organ player, this blend has orange, bittersweets, and baker’s chocolate in the profile. The Guatemala Candelaria is customer favorite with hazelnut, chocolate and a twist of citrus. This next coffee should be popular: Ethiopia Harar Longberry. We’re happy to add an excellent Harar back to our stock. This profile has fruit tea, cinnamon and chocolate at dark roasts. Lastly is the intense Tanzania Mbinga with blackberry syrup, creamy body, and bittersweet tang. Click through for more notes on the coffees.

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Roasted Coffee Pairing #62; Guatemala La Providencia Dos & Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazu

This week’s roasted coffee pairing features two heavy-hitters from Central America, and raises the specter of the never-ending (but not that serious) grudge match between the Ticos and the Guates. It’s Guatemala La Providencia Dos and  Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazu. Finca Providencia in the area of San Pedro Necta of Huehuetenango; Guatemala is winning out on balance, a well-integrated sweetness and fairly mild acidity, especially for a Huehue. Pay attention as it cools, and mild sweet orange and vanilla-caramel emerge. Herbazu is from the West Valley of Costa Rica, entirely comprised of the Villa Sarchi cultivar. I went for a more developed roast to bring balance and sweetness to the hallmark citrusy notes from this coffee. I am cupping it with, well, ZERO hours of rest after roasting, but I really like what I’m getting. Ripe lemon brightness fading out with zesty bits of rind, cane sugar, honey, barley malt, and a bit of fresh berry. -Tom

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New coffees: Colombia Cerro Azul Gesha, Honduras Ocotopeque Decaf, Panama Org Berlina, Kenya Kirinyaga Kabingara, El Salv Siberia Bourbon

A pentad of great new arrivals: Colombia Cauca -Cerro Azul GeshaHonduras Ocotopeque WP DecafPanama Organic La Berlina Estate TypicaKenya Kirinyaga AA Kabingara, and  El Salvador Finca Siberia Bourbon. We have an exciting first-time offering: Colombia Cauca -Cerro Azul Gesha. Click through to read the farm story and note that it’s a bit more restrained than an Esmerelda Gesha. The flavor profile is a nice balance of guava, vanilla, and caramel flavors. The new Honduras Ocotopeque WP Decaf takes a range of roasts and is a mildly sweet cup with apple brightness and a dry finish. Folks will remember the classic Panama Berlina Estate‘s milk chocolate, praline, and malted flavors and this arrival rates highly too. The Kenya Kirinyaga AA Kabingara is an intense cup with Concord grape, currant and balanced bittersweet tones; it’s a complex cup. Lastly, we have a Salvadoran customer favorite: El Salvador Finca Siberia Bourbon. This is great at a dark roast for espresso too; look for tangy chocolate and almond in the profile.

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The Maker Faire Is Coming to Town

This weekend is The Maker Faire in San Mateo, CA and we are excited about having our own booth to demonstrate coffee roasting basics. Please drop by! We will be located in the Home Grown Village (mostly food-related booths). We have also been invited to demonstrate coffee roasting in their Demo Tent on Sunday at 2pm so that would be a great time to hang out with us. Although we won’t be selling any coffee, we will have time to chat about about it. This will be tons of fun for us since packing boxes and bags usually gets in the way of the social side of our business.

The Maker Faire is a festival dedicated to the “do-it-yourself” attitude so expect lots of creative exhibits relating to food, music, science, vehicles, technology, etc. Learn more about the Maker Faire here.

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New Coffees: Kenya Nyeri Tegu, Sumatra Mandheling, Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe, Brazil Mogiana, Mexico Organic, Honduras Organic

New Coffee Day! We are adding Sumatra Grade 1 Mandheling, Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe, Brazil Dry-Process Mogiana, Mexico Organic Chiapas Proish Coop, Honduras Organic Marcala -Cocosam Coop, and Kenya Nyeri Tegu AB. Here’s the briefing. Our limited new lot of Sumatra Grade 1 has that earthy dark chocolate profile with a bright hint that works well at dark roasts. Next is a new Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe with spices, honey, cane sugar and medium body. Following that is a favorite in Brazil DP Mogiana. Folks will remember this creamy low acid cup with mild fruits and milk chocolate. And another favorite returns: Mexico Organic Proish. This coffee from Chiapas has hazelnut, can sugar and tangy chocolate in the flavor profile as you go toward espresso level. The Honduras Organic Cocosam is a restrained cup with malted milk, nuts, and an herbal brightness. Last but not least, a new Kenya! The Kenya Nyeri Tegu is a customer favorite. Look for a complex mix of melon fruit, cherries, muscovado sweetness and more. Please click through to read on.

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Theft: Side Effect of High Coffee Prices

I had sent this tweet last night: “Stolen: Container of coffee. Where: Guatemala. Contents: Sweet Maria’s and Stumptown coffees. Description: Big metal box. Call me if found.” It was not a joke… We lost 98 bags of coffee (Pulcal – Hacienda Carmona) that was en route from Antigua to the port, just over an hour away. I don’t know the details yet, if the truck was stopped by thieves, or if anyone was hurt. It might have been the driver was paid off, and simply drove away with it. It is no wonder. With the current prices for even low grade coffees, a container of our coffee that is about $150,000 of contents, can be taken somewhere, blended and re-bagged, and sold for $100,000. That is a lot of money in Guatemala, as anywhere. In the past, the low prices made this impractical, but now it makes perfect sense. Trucks have been traveling to port in convoy, with security in front and back to prevent this, but something went wrong in this case. I am sure insurance will pay eventually (and the container might be found yet, perhaps for a “fee”). It’s just that great Pulcal coffee is lost for now.

It’s the second theft that has directly impacted us. About 6 weeks ago a Pacamara lot from El Salvador that we had contracted was stolen, not bags of coffee, but it was stolen from the trees! A crew of thieves came to the farm in the morning, locked up the manager, told the farm employees to go away (if they knew what was good for them), and proceeded to strip pick the coffee off the trees. Sounds odd to steal like this when it requires so much labor, but it is happening all over Central America this year with the prices so high. Normally they come in to the farm at night and pick, which is sad because they damage the trees, pick recklessly, and the result is a big income loss for the farm. Owners have had to hire security to combat the thieves, which has driven up their costs dramatically as well.

Who would have guessed that such a fortuitous situation for coffee farmers and all who work in coffee, an income bonanza, would result in more insecurity. I have heard of vigilante responses to the thieving. Two men who tried to steal a loaded coffee truck in Huehuetenango were supposedly lynched by the community!

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