Sweet Maria's Weblog

Konas, Guatemala, Bolivia, Brazil

New coffees just keep coming. We have two Kona coffees to offer - a bit earlier this year than other years. With the economy the way it is, I know we will not sell a huge amount of expensive coffees, but for Kona fans, this is going to be a good year. Skip and Rita Cowell's coffee is back with the Hawaii Kona XF -Kowali Farm Typica, a classic Kona, big and sweet. Skip and Rita placed first in the Kona Cupping Competition this year with this coffee. Hawaii Kona Lehuula Farm is a new Kona farm for us this year, owned by Bob Nelson. This coffee placed in the top 10 in the cupping competition and makes a nice single origin espresso. Also just added are: Guatemala El Injerto 100% Bourbon - a farm we have carried for many years, a classic Bourbon; Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi, a lively, light-bodied, bright, dynamic coffee; and Brazil Cerrado DP Fazenda Aurea, a balanced coffee with great body with lots of espresso potential.

cupping room video

not the best quality, but it took a few minutes to make, and not much more to edit. I should really use my video camera instead of a point-n-shoot. next time. -tom

sumatra cultivar cupping test

I just finished pouring over 30 samples from an interesting text conducted in Aceh Sumatra. The idea was to identify the best cultivars for cup quality, in a place where there is little attention payed to such things. It was part of a project by an Australian coffee consultant, Anthony Marsh. Unfortunately, I didn't know about it when the REAL experiment occurred, so I received samples that are a bit old and baggy. One of the brilliant things here is that each cultivar is available as a wet-process and a wet-hulled (the Indonesia method) sample. In this, I get the chance to taste the cultivar in a more direct, undistorted way with the wet-process, and then with the flavors imbued by the wet-hull method usual to "Mandheling" coffees and such. I made a table of my results, but it is not of great use since all I have right now are the codes, not the cultivar names these represent. The results were tainted by the older samples, and by a couple mis-roasts on my part. But I could cup through these problems and there were 5 cultivars that were definitely superior (including a couple interesting longberry types) and 3 that were absolute duds. Many others were average or below average, with scoring range for all between 76 and 85. Nothing fabulous, but that's not the point with a test like this.

kenyas and konas kupping

I wasn't kidding ... I am going to start using this blog for real certified blogging chatter. Now is your chance to unsubscribe, to cancel your RSS, to bail out. Anyway, I recupped the very first Main Crop Auction Lot Kenyas today, with mixed results. I am always suspicious about early offerings. They tend to be from lower altitudes. But I was impressed how many Nyeri region lots there were. Familiar names were Karagoto, Kagumoini, Kieni and .. ugh... Deep River. What's with that? Not too sad about the fact that Deep River ended up with my lowest score. I would be embarrassed if that name made our offer list. There were nice lots, but nothing I felt I absolutely "must have" so we didn't enter any prices into the auction. There's always next week, and the next, and the next. Also was cupping Kona arrivals today, that should be on the list next week. Skip and Rita Cowell are tops again: Kowali Farm is really excellent. My City+ roast was so floral and sweet. Really sweet, delicate and sweet. The new offering from Lehuula farm came in really nice too, very happy with it. Lehuula was a finalist in the Kona Competition this year too (Kowali won 1st place in the so-called "larger farms" category). Moki's is cupping really well too, and we should have that later. Roger (Moki's) made the finals as well this year. Also cupped some unrequested samples: a Papua New Guinea from a Bahai faith community grown at 400 meters! Groan ... And a Laos coffee that has some promise, but not right now and that's for sure. It's from a whopping 800 meters but cupped really baggy. Trying to get time to work on the new "coffee glossary" database (more on that later). But I am on Dad duty with Ben now, so everything comes to a halt! -Tom

getting back to blogging the blog.

Boy, isn't blog an awful word. Then again, blogs can be kind of awful. I've been thinking a bit lately that this weblog isn't what i wanted it to be. I have been using it to announce new coffee arrivals, which is fine. But with our new site improvements, i feel like that is a redundant use, and not very exciting anyway. So I am going to return to the original idea - the day-to-day at sweet maria's ... and just post what I am doing here and thinking about on a routine basis. The good thing about my role here is that it changes, and some of it can be mildly interesting. For example, today I am roasting samples from a Sumatra cultivar experiment, the work of a coffee researcher named Tony Marsh. He painstakingly went through the Aceh area to identify unique tree types, many at an existing but abandoned government research station in Bener Mariah area. Then they produced 2 samples from each cultivar they found, aq wet-hulled sample and a wet-process sample. So I am roasting them all (I have nothing but codes to cup by - it's a fully blind experiment) and will log my cupping results. I'll write more about it later. We also have been testing some SO coffees as espresso, including the dry-process Centrals we roasted for our Coffee Pairing this week. The Mex Nayarit Dry Process was nice - the Guat Oriente DP as espresso was too, too fruity. That coffee really sits on the edge of fruity and over-fruity, an interesting lot to taste, if nothing more than to define where that line (fruity-overly fruity) lies according to your palate. For me, it depends on the roast. A bit darker and it is positive fruity chocolate; but lighter and it has the sourness of overripe fruit. After I finish roasting, I am going to Costco. Woo Hoo. After that I will be cupping the first Main Crop Kenya Auction samples, not expecting too much though... Tom