Sweet Maria's Weblog

Aeropress Coffee Brewer: Looks Awful. Works Well

A 10 minute video about using the Aeropress medical device uh, coffee brewer. It looks a bit better in HD and a larger video area on youtube. Again, a quick and boring video with no production value, but some decent information. -Tom

Espresso as excuse...

I was posting on a "blog" (has no better term come up yet?) about the idea of Single Origin espresso, and thought I would make my points here... The question James Hoffman posed was roughly, "Do we think less of a coffee if it does not work both as brewed and as SO espresso." Or something like that... and I don't really have any response to the original post because I think it's a miss. If a coffee doesn't work well as a SO espresso, I think nothing less of it. I also don't assume I am the only person that could make it work a espresso; if I can't maybe someone can. But if it is so difficult, why force it? I would flip this on it's head, and I will, since I don't live in an espresso-centric universe: Is it a failure of my tasting ability to say a balanced and "restrained" coffee is only good for espresso? Am I unfair to say, "you are pretty boring, mr. coffee, but maybe as espresso ..." Then again, if we all follow the logic of Kevin Knox, espresso was a conspiracy by Italians who had no good access to good acidic coffees to make up for the soft character of low-growns by giving them some punch in a pressurized brewing process. Espresso, in that frame of reference, is a "fix" for mediocre coffee. And to go further, imagine if you could invent a machine to make so-so coffee taste better, instead of the reality of the roast machine which can only make coffee taste worse by improper use, rather than improve the character. In my view, coffee can only be ruined in all the hundreds of processes from crop to cup. Is the espresso machine the exception? So I guess it depends on how you frame the debate: If you believe espresso is the most pure form of coffee preparation, this point is anathema to your views. For that person, espresso must be able to fully express the outstanding character of a great green coffee, or the green coffee simply can't be good. But we know there are many great green coffees that simply do not work packed into a portafilter! In the changing landscape of coffee, how do we find a way to judge quality while moving fluidly between brewing processes, so that there are multiple types of "excellent coffee" based on how they ultimately would be tasted by the person who actually ends up running it across their palate. In that way, to be able to represent a coffee at it's best, we can't just be "espresso people" or "brewed coffee" folks. I think I am losing my train here, but one last point that matters I think: coffee drinkers vary greatly int terms of how conservative they are. In the past, I felt the espresso drinker was the least adventurous of all, wanting consistent blends roasted consistently darker. SO espresso has changed that, but still I find many people resistant to the varied experiences of SO espresso, which can not be held to the same norms as "balanced" espresso flavor...

New arrivals- Ethiopia Org. Shakiso Sidamo,Ethiopia DP Sidamo MC Decaf,Colombia Cauca Ariel Buitron Microlot,Sulawesi WP Toarco FB

http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/EthiopiaOrganicShakisoSidamoMaduro2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/EthiopiaMCDecafDryProcessSidamo2009.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/ColombiaCaucaArielBuitronMicrolot.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/SulawesiWetProcessToarcoFlatbean2010.jpg We've got four new coffees and they're all easy winners. Let's start with the all-favorite Ethiopian additions. From a far-flung part of the Sidamo region is Ethiopia Organic Shakiso Sidamo "Maduro", a heavily fruited cup for fans of Misty Valley. Makes a great espresso component too with butterscotch candy and hot chocolate in the profile! A nice counterpart is a decaffeinated coffee from Ogsaddey farm that we call Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo MC Decaf -- orangey citric notes and syrupy finish! Next is a Cauca coffee from a farm that is up and coming in local competition: Colombia Cauca, Ariel Buitron Microlot, with floral and dark fruit flavors and bittersweet chocolate. Last up is the very exciting Sulawesi Wet-Process Toarco Flatbean... a non-traditional wet-process Sulawesi. It may sound strange, but this is a bright, balanced, and floral cup with dynamic sweetness; it might even be for fans of Guatemala, it's that refined! Read the full review for the full story on this unique coffee and the others above.

El Salvador, Honduras, Uganda, and two decafs

http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/ElSalvadorFincaMatalapaPuertaZapa2009.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/HondurasOrganicMichelleGuevaraMicrolot2009.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/UgandaOrganicMbaleBugisu2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/MexicoOaxacaPlumaWPDecaf2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/SumatraLintongNihotaKVWDecaf2010.jpg Happy March! We are adding two microlots from Central America today El Salvador Matalapa - Puerta Zapa Microlot is a buttery bodied, sweet, high-toned lot from a specific part of the Matalapa farm, while Honduras Organic - Michelle Guevara Microlot is a honey-drenched cup with jasmine tea hints and a lemony bright snap. Also, we are pleased to add the outstanding Uganda Organic Mbale Bugisu suitable for a wide range of roasts with nice pungency and body, great as an SO espresso! Finally, a couple of welcome additions to our decaf selections: Sumatra Lintong Nihota KVW Decaf has a classic Sumatra flavor profile with rustic earth notes and molasses sweetness and Mexico Oaxaca Pluma WP Decaf is a mildly bright cup with malty roast tones and nice fruit with good bittersweet tanginess.

Roast Coffee Pairing #31: DIY Melange

A version of a moka java, this pairing features two coffees that can be prepared either separately or as a blend. We  roasted the Java Kajumas Organic Wet-Hulled, a very deep toned coffee with tons of body. As a compliment to that - or to enjoy on its own - we have the Ethiopia Fair Trade Organic Oromia Yirgacheffe with a more rounded character. This is not one of the bright, citrusy Yirgs, but rather has some sweetness, some spice, and a syrupy body. This morning, after trying a cup of the Yirg, I’m tasting the 50/50 blend and the Java adds a nice dimension to the cup, with rustic earth tones complimenting the slight citrus snap of the Yirg. It is funny, but after drinking so many cups of single origin coffee, I plum forgot how great two top notch coffees taste together, especially when roasted seperately to highlight the best characteristics of each: in this case Ethiopia to City+ and Java to Full City.