Sweet Maria's Weblog

scaa show '08 (sigh)

Tom, Josh and Derek are back from the SCAA show. This whole "cupper vs. barista" thing was really on everyone's minds. Also, our Rwanda roast did quite well in the Roaster's Choice competition despite some very, very beautiful coffees we were up against. We were just hoping to make the top 10! Oddly, I had misread it as "Taster's Choice competition", and was at Costco looking for 30 Lbs of Taster's Choice to enter ... which wouldn't have done quite as well as the Rwanda.

some smokin' new lots

We have received our 2 exotic Nicaragua lots featured in seasons past: Nicaragua Pacamara Peaberry is the ovoid version of the huge bean crops between Pacas and Maragogype cultivars. We also have the unusual Nicaragua Limoncillo Java Longberry Cultivar back, with a unique distinction that (under a different name) it placed #2 in the Cup of Excellence this year! We already have lots of super fancy Brazils, but this one is in a league of it's own: Brazil Carmo de Minas -Fazenda Esperança has been a top 10 lot in Brazil Cup of Excellence several times, including #1 top spot in the last one! The review explains my feelings about this incredible lot. And Sumatra Lake Tawar 19+ Extra Bold is back, bolder than ever, super-premium coffee with incredible size and preparation, and a real powerhouse cup this season.

Sumatra Classic Mandheling - Liquid Amber - Panama Decaf

Continuing with the theme of using more complicated profiles for roasting we took this Classic Mandheling to City+ and a final temperature of 436 degrees, final roast time was an average of 16 minutes. To try and develop more character in the cup we started the roast off with the gas throttled down a bit until the beans began to show some yellowing. Then the heat was brought up to full blast until the thermoprobe read 370 degrees. This was about 10 minutes into the roast, then we dropped the heat back significantly to draw out the roast. Hopefully this will help maintain the structural integrity of the bean imparting more complex flavors and balance to the cup. We brewed up a pot today and it shows promise, we'll see how it tastes after a full day of resting. The Liquid Amber was similarly profiled to build up a healthy charge on the front side of the roast and then draw out the already extended first crack which started at 406 and continued all the way until the 430 degree mark. For this espresso blend we favor a Vienna or French roast level so final temp was 460 degrees and total roast time was an average of 16:30. The batches were dumped well into second crack and continued to snap and crack as the coffee cooled in the tray. We'll pull some shots late today or tomorrow after the coffee has had plenty of time to rest and see how we did. The Panama decaf was roasted to City+ with a final temp of 420 degrees and roast time of 15 minutes. For this decaf I built up the heat in the drum a little more slowly before lowering the gas to create a gentler first crack.

Rwanda Duhingekawa Women's Coop - Sulawesi Toraja Gr. 1

We just received the new crop lot of Rwanda Duhingekawa Women's Cooperative coffee from this Fair Trade group, and it has the same balanced, slightly citric profile as last year's great delivery. Read more about their unique group here. We also have the classic Sulawesi Grade One Toraja, a traditional semi-washed Indonesia with great bean preparation (few defects, and oddly, almost no chaff when roasting). And I am off to the SCAA conference in Minneapolis. Actually, Josh and Derek are coming too, so watch out Minnesota! Maria and the crew are holding down the fort and keeping the orders rolling.

brazil carmo - nazareth dias pereira, colo decaf, moka kadir

Wow - this Brazil is such a beautiful coffee, dark opal green color, remarkable preparation, fantastic to roast in the Probat. I used a roast profile where I reached 1st crack in 11 minutes and dropped the heat at the first pops to extend the time until target temperature of 430 f was reached. The Probat has a lot of steel in the drum and end plates, meaning that there is a lot of conduction of heat to the coffee, so you can drop your flame and "cruise" quite easily in this roaster. That's not the case with roasters like the behmor, which is mainly radiant and convective heat, or air roasters that are pure convection. But the idea is the same, and roast profiles can be matched between different types of machines. It's too early to really cup the coffee, but my goal is to preserve brighter tones in the cup, which should emerge as the cup cools down in tasting. The Colombia decaf was fairly light but colored quite heavily and had a loud pop. I think we'll see oils emerge even though this is a fairly like 430 f roast, but that's a way in which decafs can be weird. The Moka Kadir was a 460 f roast that I slowed considerably at the finish. Should have a lot of chocolate tonality!