Sweet Maria's Weblog

cupping in quick time

i took this movie at 1 fps in peru at the "Concurso de Cafe de Calidad" this past week. it starts in round 2 with cupping, then cleanup, setting up the new tables for round 3. I kinda like the dead space in between rounds ... but actually, i had forgot my camera when the jury went off to discuss the round 2 scores, so it was an accident... at the nearest table you can see me, looking kinda scruffy, in the light shirt, and geoff watts from intelligentsia in the dark green shirt, along with maritsa and lourdes, catadores peruanas. -tom ps: I put together this little movie of clips from the peru competition too ... rock out!

Guatemala Huehuetenango "Quetzal Azul"

So, Derek and I tried this Huehue at three different roast levels and both agreed that the lightest was best.  In order to achieve a City level roast on the Probat I took each batch to 428 degrees, with an average time of 15:30.  By the time this coffee reaches you, the customer, it should be ready to drink having rested for at least 48 hours.  The tricky thing about light roasting coffee is that it hits it's "peak" flavor point a good while after it was roasted.  This differs from coffee to coffee but on this particular dense Guatemala lot it will take every bit of two days.  The darker the roast the less amount of time between roasting and peak flavor point.  By the way, since Tom is out visiting farms, we used the trusty Behmor to do our test roasts...I just threw 1/2 pound in on the 1 pound setting, P4 profile, and then tried 20 min, 18 min, and 16 min roasts to achieve three very different roast levels.

New Central Americans and One Outsider.

Before leaving for Peru on Monday, I have some new arrivals to upload. We have quite a few Central American arrivals (5) so let's start with the one outlying coffee: Australia Mountain Top Farm -Bin 478 has more character this year, fruited with rose hips and spice. Back to those Centrals, the Costa Rica Brumas Dry-Process is phenomenal coffee, but expect something more like an Ethiopia Harar than a Costa Rica. It's fruity and chocolaty, not to any ridiculous extreme ... but ... if you want one that is, boy do we have it. Guatemala Oriente Dry-Process is completely over-the-top with a complete fruit salad and super intense chocolate at FC+ roast. Read the review! We have two beautiful El Salvador arrivals, the El Salvador Cup of Excellence -Finca Malacara which was #5 in the competition, and El Salvador Organic -Finca Mauritania a classic cup with sweet delicate fruited flavors and balanced body. Lastly, we have the humble, simple (yet delicious) Mexico Organic Chiapas Proish Coop ... another nice Mexican coffee with another unglamorous name. Thankfully, names don't make coffee taste any worse (or better). Also see the shennanigans of the Costa Rica Micro-Millers visit to Sweet Maria's on Friday. How many cupping have free soccer balls at the end? -Tom

Costa Rica El Puente "Caturra Miel"

We're going for sweetness with this week's roast.  This Caturra was carefully prepared for Sweet Maria's by a great farm in the Puente Ecologica (a coop owned by 6 farmers) and demonstrates how pulp natural Centrals are really coming into their own.  The "miel" process does indeed impart a honey sweetness in the cup and this particular lot balances this with a fair bit of fruity brightness.  We kept the roast in the City+ range with a final thermoprobe temperature of 431 degrees.  Roast times averaged 15:30 minutes.

Costa Rica CoE, 3 new Kenyas, Lintong, Yemen Qishr

New Kenya lots (3) have arrived (Gatomboya, Giakanja, Tegu). Each of these is quite different (Gatomboya is a real sleeper ... very sweet Tangerine; Giakanja has a wild streak in it and winey fruit; Tegu is brighter, a classic Nyeri-type cup). In addition we have our first CoE lot (finally), Costa Rica Cup of Excellence -Santa Lucia, a nice late season Sumatra Lintong, and a new lot of Yemen coffee-skin tea, Yemen Qishr.