massive list of new november arrivals

It's another one of those massive arrivals of new crop lots, so here's the list:
  • Costa Rica La Horqueta "Top 50": A nuanced, delicate cup from the top 50 meter swath of this Costa Rica Estate
  • El Salvador Cup of Excellence -Bella Vista: This was the 9th place lot, and my personal #1; dense body, nutty, creamy, and some neat fruited aromatics.
  • El Salvador Cup of Excellence -Siberia: A very "Bourbon" type cup, balanced, chocolatey, dense body.
  • Brazil Cerrado Screen-Dried Moreninha Formosa: Arriving Monday, a full body, low-acid and chocolatey cup.
  • Peru FTO Cuzco -Ccochapampa Coop: Surprisingly complex, with floral-herbal hints, balanced brightness.
  • Ethiopia FTO Harar -Trabocca Oromia: Rustic Harar coffee with banana and mango fruit notes, good bittersweets.
  • Ethiopia Organic Yirgacheffe: A late-crop arrival, very fresh cup, with citrusy kumquat, floral notes and winey finish.
  • Kenya AA Nyeri -Ruarai Coop: Bright but not "twist-your-tongue-off" acidity, with rose-like floral notes and light body.
  • Please NOTE! I'm not saying

    Please NOTE! I'm not saying don't buy lots of green coffee, just not so much that it will not get used up before it loses that peak quality window in which Tom buys and sells it, and we roast it!!! Sweet Maria's works hard to bring you quality green beans (proven by my 4 year old green, but your experience could well differ!), and I think it's much better to maintain that quality in one's own coffee cellar and leave room for rotating in choices from all the lovely new offerings, than letting a great coffee become mundane. It's like (I'd imagine) putting Kobe beef in the freezer for a year, or leaving a superb wine standing open and uncorked on the counter for a week, what a waste, bleah! ;)

    I can't answer for Tom, but

    I can't answer for Tom, but just from my own past experience. I had a lot of coffee (well, for ME, maybe 30+ pounds) and stored it inside in a coolish room out of the sunlight, but in heavy milk crates so the cotton bags could breathe. I also felt the SM cotton bags were better than burlap as I thought it might present less of a "bag" odor for the coffee to potentially absorb. Same reason I don't put them in plastic bins, I think they could absorb the outgassing that some softer plastics can be guilty of. I originally roasted weekly, gifted friends, etc.
    Then my life turned to crap and I didn't roast more than a few times for 2 years and moved twice. For one year the coffee was in a 100 year old house in an airy cool closet off an unused bathroom. Coffee was still good that year. Moved again and it was in my office in a corner and another year older. By then some of it was 2 1/2 years old, and had changed quite a bit so I roasted it darker, and it was still drinkable. (I favor mostly Indonesians and Africans). It lost favor but acquired some body. I pretty much was adding roast flavor to compensate, and I also had to toss some. I bought new coffee and blended judiciously, being pretty skinny in the wallet, therefor not able to buy coffee at $10-12 a pound. That was 2 years total in that house.
    THEN I moved a third time (since I had started buying beans in 1999), and that was 2 1/2 years ago. I finally got stable enough financially to have the time to start roasting again recently, as now I live with 2 other coffee drinkers, and also make lattes for my dear neighbor, and we were spending $75. a month for beans! I started testing some old beans that I used the old archives and my records to identify as to age, and tossed everything that was older than 11/2003. I also roasted and or rebagged the stuff still in plastic.
    So I am drinking some coffee roasted from now 4 years old green beans! As I noted, it's Indonesians and Africans, and I suspect they might do better than Centrals and South Americans, but you'll have to ask elsewhere. I had some Sulawesi Toraja that was still quite drinkable and actually tasty, though it had lost the high notes which was okay, and I do actually have a good palate for coffee. I go "ew" at stuff my Mom says "tastes fine to me". I also have an old Ethiopian Sidamo WP Decaf that is okay, but should probably be awful! The one Costa Rican El Sol I have is okay blended, I just brew it for the hubby, as by the time he's through with the half and half it has a better taste coming through, and then he adds Sweet n Low which obliterates the coffee flavor anyway! ;)
    The SM Indonesian Organic Komodo Blend came through as well, and works as a decaf blender with my cafs. When cupped straight, which I do before I use them, all have a LOT of body, have lost the high end of the flavor profile, and are very mellow.
    So far all still have rich though muted coffee flavor.

    So to sum up, I tossed half of the whole coffee cellar, and the rest are cupping as nicely aged coffee, and I'm using them as such. I only have two I haven't tried yet, an Indian monsooned decaf that scares me(!) and some SM Donkey Espresso Blend which will probably be fine.

    BUT, what I would suggest is what Tom has said: buy less, and save room for new arrivals! I think I was lucky being in SoCal and then near the coast (these last 2 1/2 years), like Oakland. The most I buy is a 5lb. bag of stuff I know from experience I should like. If it knocks my socks off, I'll try to get another before it's gone, but I currently have 40 pounds counting all the new stock! So I'm holding back right now. I'd also recommend logging your green coffee, and weighing or eyeballing the sacks before you put them back after roasting and making a written note, so you can tell at a glance what you have, and that will help stop the compulsion to get more than you need. I can only legally fill two milk crates, that's all the space I'm allowed! LOL! I think I could pack in about 7 more pounds tops, as I also keep my colanders, bags, etc. in the crates. They are currently in a townhouse basement on a shelf with air circulation, very cool all year around, 2 miles from the beach, in cotton sacks, and get moved around each time I roast so the air distribution is more even.
    I hope that helps, and it is not a guarantee of anything, just my own story.

    Coffee Storage

    Coffee Storage Suggestions?

    Are there better ways to store green beans than in the burlap bag that comes from SM's? I try to keep the beans in a cool/dry area, but beyond that, are there containers that are better to use to get better shelf life?

    I think it is fair to say

    I think it is fair to say that the detailed information you provide about your selection of beans and roasting techniques allows almost anyone this side of Homer Simpson who wants to take the requisite amount of care, to drink some of the best coffee in the world. But when it comes to storage of green beans, there are mostly generalities. Like cool dark place, or live in San Francisco Bay Area. The parameters (i.e. temp and humidity) for properly storing fine wines or fine cigars in ideal conditions are well known. If I want to construct a wine cellar or a humidor, or even store baseballs in Denver, there is no shortage of information available. What if I want to construct an ideal storage cabinet for green beans? What is considered ideal temperature and humidity? Should green beans be stored in the sealed plastic bags you ship in, or something else? -John

    good question john - first,

    good question john - first, the comment applies most to yirgacheffes, which will show flaws very easily due to their clean character, and the recommended light roast. any hint of baggy flavors (age, burlap taste) tend to show up immediately in a yirgacheffe. second, in broad terms, coffee stored well will not show age defect for a year. the pains we take to have a fresh selection, to be seasonal with our green coffee, to ensure the maximum storage once someone buys their lb or two are ... well, it's a huge part of my job. so with this origin, a good strategy is to get a lot early-to-mid-harvest (ie the kochere yirgacheffe) and buy a bit short, and then, ideally, find something from late harvest. i was happy to even find a good late yirg. because if i didnt we would/will be out of kochere in, oh, less than 5 days, and that would be it for yirgs until next year. now we can confidently offer them through december, and will be out for 3 months or so in early '08. i guess i feel like my comment about 6 month yirgs showing age is an overly harsh judgment, but under less than ideal conditions, i vote yirg as the coffee that WILL show defect in 6 months from arrival date. a unconditional vow that coffee will be fresh for 1 year is something that, the longer i do this, the less confident i feel about stating. bay area is such an ideal climate for coffee, but so many live in areas that take their toll... sorry for the rambling answer... -tom

    Hi Tom, I have a question

    Hi Tom,

    I have a question about storage and viability of Yirgacheffe beans. You said in your blurb about the new organic Yirg, "In late Summer and Fall, the Yirgacheffes that arrived early in the season (that being February to April), start to show their age." What point of the supply chain are you referring to? I was under the impression that green beans purchased from you and stored properly will retain maximum freshness for well over a year.

    Best regards,