Sweet Maria's Weblog

Roast Coffee Pairing #40: DIY Mokha Java

Two great coffees equal one super Mokha Java blend. The Yemen Sana'ani is a high-quality Mokha that was roasted to Full City+ with just a shade of second crack.  Thiis should add a nice element of spicey accents to the Bali Kintimani, which is a sweeter, milder Java component, also roatsed to Full City+ but with a few more snaps of second crack.  I just brewed a pot of 50/50 and there is a good interplay between the wilder notes the Yemen brings to the cup and the balanced bittersweet chocolate of the Bali.  It was fun to roast these coffees a litlte darker than normal and target a roast level just before second crack really gets started in earnest. Try them on their own or blended together and let us know what you think.  If you like this two coffee blend try other versions using Ethiopia and Sumatra, or Rwanda and Sulawesi, the sky’s the limit!

Coffee Roasting Basics - Color Changes

Tom has been talking about this for a while ... that we don't have enough basic information about color changes in roasting. Understanding the stages of the roast is fundamental to successful roasting; it is hard to emphasize it enough.   He shot a macro-image video under very strong light to show color changes during the roast process.  He emphasizes the development of each stage (in both air and drum roasts)  and what you can expect to see and hear.  The end of the roast is crucial; in the 15 to 30 seconds from first crack  moving toward second crack, your roast very quickly goes from City+ to Full City+ (and beyond!). Make sure to pull up a stool and pay attention to the end of the roast not matter what method you use. I've added this video to our Visual Guide to Roast page as a permanent fixture. Hope you find it useful. - Maria

Liquid Amber is back! Also, Panama Guyami Robusta,Hawaii Ka'anapali DP Moka,Salvador Bourbon,Colombia Tolima

http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/LiquidAmberEspressoBlend2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/PanamaGuyamiIndianRobusta2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/HawaiiKaanapaliDPMauiMoka16Screen2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/ElSalvadorFincaSanGabrielBourbon2010.jpghttp://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.analysis.images/ColombiaLosChuchosdeTolima2010.jpg Five new arrivals today, two of them Espresso related. Let's start out with the one everyone has been waiting for: Sweet Maria's Liquid Amber Espresso Blend is back! The Vienna roast is a potent and savory cup with chocolate/noir tastes; this blend is perfect also for milk drinks. We also finally have a quality robusta back in stock for espresso blends: Panama Guyami Indian Robusta. Folks will remember baker's chocolate in this potent cup and best to keep these dark and in espresso blends at 15%. Rounding things out are some excellent drip coffees starting with Hawaii Ka'anapali DP Maui Moka 16 Screen with its honey and maple sugar flavors and hint of cocoa. Don't let the tiny screen size fool you - thick body and chocolate flavors here. The El Salvador Finca San Gabriel Bourbon is a classic Bourbon cup with mild citrus, cane sugar, and dense body. Look for even more chocolate and body at darker roasts! Lastly is the 'mutt' of the pack,… literally. It's Colombia - Los...

Costa Rica Cafetalera Herbazu

[caption id="attachment_817" align="alignnone" width="462" caption="Cafelatera Herbazu, Villa Sarchi Cultivar"]Herbazu, Villa Sarchi Cultivar[/caption] We were looking over which new-arriving coffees were most popular, and which were selling slower, and I was shocked to see that Herbazu wet-process was a laggard.  Shocked! Anyway, looking at sales, or promoting a coffee because it isn't ripping off the shelves is all foreign to me. It's more "businessy" than SM, but the idea that poor Herbazu isn't popular hurt a little bit. It's like someone calling your child ugly. It's not right. Is it the name? Sounds herbal? Is it the fact it is a super clean, bright classic Costa Rica, which is less interesting than the newer, more exotic Miel-processed coffees like Finca Genesis? I roasted some Herbazu samples and put them in the daily cupping lineup against some other Central Americas, Honduras, Guatemala, etc. Stunning coffee. Dynamic, sweet in the aroma, citric, zesty, palate-cleansing. Surprising was how the slightly darker FC roast cupped. Rindy orange notes were sweeter than the light roast, with a darker berry fruit underlaying the piquant citrus. It's great coffee. It's a 90 point cup for sure. Anyway, the normal mode here is to simply "do what I do" and not look at what sells, etc. The idea is to buy great lots from each origin, to identify a great farm, work with them, and just tell the story of the coffee and the cup. That's it, to let your palate lead you to great coffees, and buy with your heart. Maybe I should just ignore the relative popularity of each coffee, and just focus on sourcing the best lots. But, I might ask, if you are considering a bright, classic Central, consider poor Herbazu. I doubt you could possibly find flaw with such a precious coffee.  -Tom

Roast Coffee Pairing #39: Central American Compare/Contrast

Here we have a comparison of two mild and balanced wet-process coffees  - the types of cups that make you say “That is good coffee.” It sounds dumb right? But we tend to describe coffee with so many different terms, so perhaps the best way to describe these cups is to say they are what we would call “crowd-pleasing coffees.”  We hope you will join us in comparing the lighter and sweeter Honduras Marcala   profile with the more chocolate-creme structure of the Costa Rica Ponderosa.  Both were kept light to enhance the subtle flavors evident in each, City+ roast level, 422 final thermoprobe temperature, 15:30 roast time.  The Ponderosa has a bit more body while the Marcala has a bright snap.  Please let us know what you think by leaving a comment on the blog or forum, we hope to foster discussions amongst our home roasters about what these different lots have to offer at various roast levels.