Sweet Maria's Weblog

Australia, Bolivia, El Salvador and Espresso Workshop Blend #6

Again! another four coffees to add! What's with the number four?! I am not sure, maybe we should play the lottery. In any case, here are the coffees: First is the return of Australia -Mountain Top Farm, a Fancy grade semi-washed coffee with a juicy sweetness. Next is a national auction winner from Bolivia, Bolivia Juan Coaquira Mamani Microlot, with brown sugar and stone fruit tastes. And the return of the classic El Salvador Finca Matalapa Peaberry versatile for light or dark roast with an orange brightness, And finally it's a change in the naming conventions for our espresso blends, from geology to acoustics: Espresso Workshop #6 - "Treble Response". Dry fragrance from the ground coffee has a cocoa-nut roast tone, Nutella sweetness, caramel, black cherry, chocolate truffle. The wet aroma is spicy, with pepper and dark plumy fruit. This describes the primary flavors of the espresso, with richly layered brightness (hence Treble Response!) tapering off into intense and tangy chocolate bittersweet notes. Tom and I enjoyed this iced this past weekend and it was lovely.

Dolok Sanggul, Lake Toba, Sumatra

Green unripe coffee cherry from Dolok Sanggul area of Lintong,
Sumatra. While these branches are incredibly loaded with fruit, the
crop is smaller overall. Dolok Sanggul just arrived this week, and
we'll be rolling it out in a few days after I finish the review. The Onan Ganjang sample that arrived at the same time is cupping really well, with that herbal, complex flavor true to the Lintong appellation.

Sweet Maria's Home Roasters' Dream Camp

Today we are announcing our first ever Sweet Maria's Home Roasters' Dream Camp! The session will be held Saturday July 25th from Noon to 3 pm at our warehouse on East 21st Street in Oakland. This is not a class, but a gathering of home roasters, an occasion to compare roasts done on different machines, a chance to try out some new (or...er... new to you) roasters, cup coffee and share home roasting experience. More information and details on how to sign up for the camp, follow the link above. We are also adding four new coffees today. Sumatra Organic Lampahan -Bonkawan Coop, with low acidity, raisin, fig and plum tastes. Next up is the return of Yemen Mokha Haimi, an aromatic cup from light to dark roasts; great also for SO espresso use! And lastly, we sourced some good decafs: Ethiopia Dry-Process Sidamo MC Decaf, with medium acidity, and sweet fruit notes and Nicaragua Jinotega SHG WP Decaf, a bright decaf with chocolate/malt at darker roast levels. Maria

Roast Coffee Pairing #15: Same Coffee, Two Roasts

With this pairing, we are roasting the same coffee,  Burundi Kayanza Bwayi No. 7, in two different ways to highlight the difference the roast can make. This coffee can take a range of roasts, and you will experience very different things in the cup from one treatment to the next.   In this experiment - the degree of roast is the same, we will roast to the same finish temperature, but take two very different paths to get there, and different roast times.  For the first profile we measured out relatively small batches for the 12 K Probat:  about 20 lbs.  We started the batch with the heat setting fairly low, after about six minutes the heat was then brought up significantly which gave the batch good momentum going into first crack.  Final thermoprobe temperature was 428 degrees with roast times around 12 minutes to achieve a nice light City roast.  For the next profile we weighed out much heavier batches at about 28 lbs, which is nearly the maximum capacity of the roaster.  In order to draw out the roast times to almost 20 minutes we kept the heat low all the way through and even lowered it further as the coffee came through first crack.   The goal was to create two different roasts that essentially look the same color-wise but taste very different.  When Tom and I cupped the results there are definite differences, primarily in the body and the flavor profile.   The faster roast time yields a brighter cup with lighter body, while the slower roast had a much creamier body with chocolate tones balancing the citrus notes.  We could have more easily demonstrated this by using an iffy lot of coffee that would really reveal it’s shortcomings if roasted fast but might be mellowed out by roasting longer, but then you’d be stuck with one pound of so-so coffee and that just isn’t how we roll here. So, instead we chose one of our favorite lots and really pushed the roasts hard in two very opposite extremes.  This was a challenging excercise as a roaster because hitting the same target level via two totally different paths takes real concentration, I think we’ve suceeded in showing how two variables can contribute mightily to the final cup:  batch size and roast profile.

New arrivals - Guatemala Acatenango Gesha, Guat La Bella JBM, Guat Huehue Maravilla, and Yemen Mokha Sharasi

Happy early Fourth of July! Four new coffees!!!! Here they are in short. First is the arrival of Guatemala Acatenango Gesha: Jasmine, citrus blossoms, tropical fruit with a complex Gesha flavor profile and aroma. Click through to the review. Guatemala Finca La Bella JBM Cultivar, a balanced cup with milk chocolate, and a bit of apple spice harvested from Jamaican seedstock in Guatemala. Our third Guat. addition is the return of Guatemala Huehuetenango Finca La Maravilla: sweet fruited notes, mild sweet chocolate-dipped nuts. Last, but not least, we received new Yemen Mokha Sharasi, a Mokha coffee from a new region not usually sold as single-origin. This is a sweet Yemen and also versatile: makes a nice SO espresso!