Sweet Maria's Weblog

The Nostalgia Electric Coffee Roaster (Popcorn Popper)

June 3, 2015

We usually have our popper antennaes up, searching for popcorn poppers that will roast coffee. After some testing, we found that this air popper by Nostalgia is great for coffee roasting. It has vents on the sides of the roasting cylinder, the plastic body is thick and it gets hot enough to turn coffee brown.

We will continue to sell the Westbend Air Crazy (it will be back in stock soon) but thought we should offer this one as well since good coffee roasting poppers can be hard to find.


What's the difference between the Nostalgia and the Westbend?

Aside from aesthetics and the thickness of the clear plastic lid, the main difference is our lack of experience roasting with a Nostalgia. We have used and abused the Air Crazy for years and can stand by their durabilty. We use them in ways we shouldn't during testing and roasting demonstrations and they have held up better than expected. We have tested our Nostalgia as much as possible over a short period of time and have had great results but we aren't sure how well it will perform in the long run (we'll let you know in a few months).


Why is it $10 cheaper?

Who knows. In most cases we don't have much control over the price of the products we sell and there's so much that happens as appliances like these follow the path from design stages to store shelves. The only difference in quality we really noticed is the thinner plastic lid. If you will be using the lid every time you roast, expect it to warp, especially around the slots near the opening....

Here Comes a Tidal Wave of New Coffees

Colombia Herrera Finca Las Florestales - flavors of berry jam, fresh squeezed orange juice, kaffir lime note and cacao nibs and ripe plum with immense body in darker roasts
Colombia Elias Finca El Azulejo - is balanced, with sweet caramel juxtaposed by roasted nut, and a rindy citrus note. As it cools, the profile gives way to honey and black tea. A well-rounded coffee, and one that will prove well in espresso applications too.
Ethiopia Guji Zone Akrabi - is laden with unrefined sugars and florals, like muscovado sugar and lilac...also sweet fruits, and soft citrus notes.

Six Great New Coffees!

May 22, 2015

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Baraka Buna - has Asian sweet lemon and red cherry notes.

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Kela Kochore - fruit-laden with extreme cleanliness and floral complexity.

Kenya Kirinyaga Karimikui AA - a classic Kenya cup, tart citrus juice and grape accents, syrupy sweetness across the roast spectrum.

Guatemala Alotenango Tres Volcanes - a small farmer blend, a great drinking coffee with mouth-cleansing acidity.

Uganda Organic Cheema Kapchorwa - a different side of African coffee, and will appeal to fans of the low acid, rustic nature of Indonesians and Brazils.

Espresso Workshop #35 - Arruuugas! - This three-bean blend produces viscous body, complex layers of chocolate, and dark fruit top notes.

We Just Added Five New Coffees

May 15, 2015

Colombia Monte Verde Wush-Wush - Butter-caramel roast sweetness with a mild floral overlay, malic brightness, and mixed melons, lemon tea zest.

Colombia Timana - La Florida Vereda - A clean cup with apple, peach and apricot hints. Marzipan-like flavor in the long finish. Most complex fruit flavors in the light roast levels

Colombia  Timana - Santa Barbara - Cocoa nibs and panela sugar aroma give way to cooked pear and apple notes. A nice balance of caramelized sugars and fine chocolate bittersweet flavors.

Rwanda Kivu Kanzu - Rich, dark cocoa and caramel flavor, as well as raw brown sugar. A refined almond essence emerges as well as fruit hints of dark Concord grape. Good for espresso.

Rwanda Nyamasheke Mutovu Cooperative - Apple-like brightness, sweet spice, and caramel-vanilla sweetness. Bergamot citrus and Earl Grey Tea round out the cup. Good for espresso.

Larry Cotton's Amazing Home Roaster

May 14, 2015

It's been a while since someone has sent us photos and video of their hot-rod home roaster.  As the saying goes, good things come to those that wait, so when we got an email from Larry Cotton with this video of his machine, our jaws dropped.

Larry's machine roasts small amounts (about 3oz) at a time but it allows him to roast continuously without a lot of time lapsing between batches. The open basket gives him a full view of the roasting process which can be difficult with most home roasting machines. Larry says, "I originally wanted to build a continuous, set-and-forget roaster.  Just keep the green-bean hopper full and unload the cool roasted beans at the other end.  All prototypes failed in one way or the other--some quite spectacularly (mostly the "forget" part). So I decided to stay with the small-batch roasting process, but just speed it up. After much trial-and-mostly-error experimentation, I settled on a combination of a small propane campstove and a tilted, open-ended basket."