Sumatra Classic Mandheling

Well, we haven’t had Sumatra Classic Mandheling on offer for a while and now it is back and quite good this time around. Tom and I were talking about the methodology we use here at Sweet Maria’s to determine which coffees to procure and offer up to our customers and this Sumatra is a good example of how selective we tend to be. In any given week Tom may cup half a dozen or more Sumatra coffees looking for the best lots with the right cup characteristics. The cupping room is normally piled high with sample trays, waiting to be cupped , I’ve seen weeks when Tom is cupping as many as 40 different samples in one week! Out of that amount he might chose only 3 or 4 coffees to add to our list. So, I think our methodology comes down to two main factors: freshness of the lot, and cup quality (duh!). All of our offerings are current crops and we start to get nervous about freshness if we’ve had a coffee for as little as three months. And when it comes to cup quality, Tom always approaches cupping samples with a fresh palate and doesn’t pick coffees based on the name on the bag or how good it was last season. It has to prove itself in the cup! Now, I know most of you know this stuff already and that is why you are even bothering to read this rambling rant. I just wanted to make sure we communicated as much as possible about how we do things differently here at Sweet Maria’s. OK, back to the coffee we are roasting today: Sumatra Classic Mandheling. We sample roasted to four different levels and settled on the second darkest roast, which is right around FC. This coffee will taste great roasted even darker but we are going to try and steer clear of second crack this time around.

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6 Responses to “Sumatra Classic Mandheling”


  1. 1 thompson owen

    Not yet rested yet (14 hours after roasting) but the body and bass-note character is excellent. It’s got clean earth and spices … this is gonna get better in a day or two or there. Thanks for the comments about the general process too josh. I was away in Costa Rica on a micro-mill and cupping tour that will yield some great new lots -tom

  2. 2 bill

    I’m curious about your roast times and temps… How long did it take to first crack and then to end of roast? What were the temps? I appreciated that info on a couple of the previous posts. I hope I’m not prying!

  3. 3 farmroast

    I really like the intent of these blogs but I’d like more details. I read and I’m still hungry. More description and or more numbers on each phase of the roast. Thoughts that determined the approach to the profile would be especially helpful.
    thanks, farm

  4. 4 thompson owen

    bill and farmroast – i don’t think we can answer every question with every weekly post, but i agree with you guys – we are trying to be specific. we want to be transparent. when we build up a larger body of posts, when we address each weeks roast from different angles, i think this blog will be a very informative reference for our customers, home roasters, and small commercial roasters. But with Josh’s post this week, he’s trying to paint a portrait of our process and the wide angle shot is as important as the macro view. I know this roast was taken to the very verge of 2nd crack (445 f on our thermocouples) without entering it in the drum, and we tried to extend roast times to draw out chocolate flavors. We brewed it again today and the body is much higher in the cup.

  5. 5 josh

    Hey Folks, sorry I left out some of the specifics this time around. Here they are: First crack happened 13:20 minutes into the roast right around 405 degrees. As Tom mentioned, I took the final roast temp. up to 446 degrees (by thermo-probe) and then dumped the coffee into the cooling tray. I avoided second crack which occured at 448 with this coffee. How do I know this? Because the first batch I did hit second crack at 448 and I decided to then blend this first slightly darker batch with the remaining seven full batches roasted a bit lighter at 446. So, yes there are a few beans in each pound that were roasted slightly more than their neighbors. I figured a little more roast flavor and chocolate wouldn’t hurt the final product. The overall roast times averaged 17:30 minutes.

  6. 6 bill

    Hey Josh and Tom, thanks for the responses to the posts. I really appreciate them. And I’m sorry for being detail-obsessed on this one and ignoring the good stuff Josh said about your sourcing methodology. I definitely appreciate all that Tom does to acquire the best of the best! Thank you for the specifics on the roast as well… I like to play with this coffee in blends that I give as gifts, and I want to be able to copy as much of your profile as I can! I had never purchased your roasted coffee before (haven’t purchased anyone’s roasted coffee for over a year!), but I wanted to try your roast of this Sumatra. I especially noted the great body of this coffee, which I had not been able to match. I also appreciated the chocolate flavors, which I have experienced in other coffees but not in a Mandheling. So thank you again for your great work, and thanks for the info on your roasting. Keep up the good work!

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