Sweet Maria's Weblog

Two New Fantastic African Coffees to Dream About This Weekend

Sept. 26, 2014

Kenya Nyeri Kigwandi AB showing best at City+ to Full City ranges, is layered with citrus notes and caramelizing sugars that dominate the cup. White grapefruit and a bit of bergamot orange provide a complex bittering aspect. Try this Kenya in your espresso machine too!

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Kochore Zonegediyo is a classic Yirg, with bergamot and jasmine florals, herb tea notes, and a mouth refreshing citric acidity. 

Rhyme or Reason

Sept. 25, 2014

Why You Roast - Marshall Hance

Marshall Hance is a "Get Action" sort of individual; on the go, driven, and endlessly curious. Like many in roasting at home or in shops, Marshall is a tinkerer. Putting things together is a passion, but putting them together for a reason is the true draw. In the case of Mountain Air Roasting in Ashville, NC, that reason is excellence in coffee. Knowing that Marshall comes from a background of building his own roasters and roasting for himself I wanted to know what drove him to do it professionally and if that pursuit had any impact on his love of roasting in the first place.

CS: How did you start roasting coffee?

MH: I started roasting just a few weeks after reading about it when I realized roasting was what I was supposed to be doing instead of turning wrenches at a bicycle shop. That bike shop was actually my first customer, and five years later I still enjoy making deliveries to my friends there.

CS: Do you believe in the idea of the freedom and independence of being a small business owner?

MH: I'm not sure if freedom and independence are a reason to be a small business owner. I'm certain my life was much more free and independent with a "normal" 40hr a week job. While I do feel captain of my own ship, it takes away from other favorite pursuits such as riding bicycles and cooking dinner. Ideally, I would roast about 15 batches a day, 5 days a week. I enjoy getting into the groove but not breaking my back.

CS: What do you like most about roasting?

MH: I think the combination of introverted precision and tastiness of product were the most interesting aspects of roasting to me. The fact that a roasting business is smoothly scalable from roasting for one’s self to roasting thousands of pounds a day was a draw; knowing that I could find where I fit in the market and build a business to compete seemed to offer tremendous opportunity.

CS: What roasting devices or set ups have you used?

MH: At this point in time, the only roasting machines I've used are the ones I've built. They've all been rotating fluid bed hot air roasters, scaling up from 1/2 lb, 2lb, 6lbs, and finally 15lbs batch size. Each step up, the byproducts of roasting were more than I had...

Why we Ran Out of Behmor Roasters...Again.

If you are reading this, you are probably one of the folks that had been patiently waiting to purchase a Behmor 1600 Plus and when you went to our website, we were out of stock. First of all, we would like to apologize. After all the hype, promoting the new features and control panel, it's unfair that many people were left in the dark after waiting for such a long time.

So what happened? For some reason, Behmor was only able to import a limited number of roasters. We were told this in advance but had our fingers crossed that we would receive more. After dividing them up amongst the other Behmor dealers in North America, we were only allocated a very small number of machines. We didn't expect them to sell out as fast as they did.

Who's fault is it?  We are NOT pointing fingers at Behmor. They are an excellent company to work with that stands behind their products. It's in their best interest to export enough machines for their retailers to sell but sometimes there are issues getting enough of them exported. The only positive side to this is that we know Behmor isn't forcing their factory to pump out machines that could be low quality, defective or dangerous.

So, when can I actually get one? Late October. This is what we are being told. Trust us, we really want to get these in the hands of every home roaster that wants one. We think the new features are great and hope that we can ship one out to you soon. Since we are so close to the port that the Behmor Plus machines landed at, we were one of the first retailers to physically sell them...and one of the first to run out. Saying this doesn't make any sense from a business standpoint but you can always buy one from another retailer but act fast since all Behmor dealers in North America are receiving a small quantity to sell.

BIG SIX going into this weekend

Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul - Costanza y Lopez is fairly fruited, floral, and has elegant acidity.

Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul - Javier Martinez is another micro-lot, with a sweet, bodied cup and as it cools, shows elements of apple pie, brown sugar, spices, and apples of course!

Guatemala Huehuetenango Hoja Blanco is a great drinking coffee with dark brown sugar, stone fruit and cacao bar

Guatemala Huehuetenango Chichimes has caramel candy notes, with malic acidity that shines.

Ethiopia Bonga Forest Mankira has heavy caramel and honey flavors with peach and a slight...

ROASTED: Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Kore Kochore + Ethiopia Gr. 1 Dry Process Yirga Cheffe Kochore

Sept. 17, 2014

Here comes two Yirga Cheffe Kochore coffees with two different processing methods. Both of these coffees come from the same washing station in Kochore Kebele ("Kebele" is a political district south of Yirga Cheffe town and is home to many small farms). I thought it would be a good taste comparison to roast a coffee from the same area/washing station with two different processing methods. Also, I approached these two coffees differently in the roaster according to their processing method.


Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Kore Kochore City+

Juicy, juicy body from start to finish. Fresh fruit salad along with sparkling cane sugar and amazing aromatics. I brewed this coffee with the Bunn Trifecta (metal filter, no paper) at work, and at home using a Bee House dripper. I enjoyed them both ways, but found that the Bee House brew really blew my socks off...it is outstanding. I typically brew just a little on the heavy side to pronounce the body and intensity the coffee when I brew at home.

Ethiopia Gr 1. Dry Process Yirga Cheffee Kochore City+

A very round cup with both mouthfeel and cleanliness. You won't find the typical wildness and intense fruit notes that you may have been used to with other dry processed coffees. Up front there's a silky smooth body that rolls fruit flavors (juicy ripe red apple, red grapes and tropical fruits) in with every sip. I was able to maintain a nice acidity level that this coffee has to offer that hits nicely in the middle. The aftertaste leaves a raw almond-like flavor and mouthfeel. Delicious.

Recently there have been a few home...