Sweet Maria's Weblog

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." 

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New Coffee: Brazil Fazenda Santa Ines

May 7, 2015

Brazil Fazenda Santa Ines - Expect a thick bodied cup, complex cocoa and roasted nut notes, mild stewed fruit in the background. Full City roasts show chocolate nuances. This coffee fares best when roasted to at least City+.

New Coffee: Great New Guatemalas and Ethiopias

May 1, 2015

Guatemala Volcan de Fuego Guacatepeque - A crowd pleaser cup, caramelized-sugar sweetness, and notes of almond and pear. There's a honeyed mouthfeel, and mild brightness, along with chocolate complexity in Full City roasts and beyond. City+ to Full City+. Good for espresso.

Guatemala Finca Candelaria Bourboncito - This bourboncito separation from Candelaria has clean, citric to malic brightness (and flavors), honey sweet, and a nice flavor of milk chocolate. Great dual-use coffee. CIty to Full City+. Good for espresso.

Guatemala Antigua Pulcal Inteligente - This lot balances caramelized sugar sweetness with elegant acidity. Top notes change with roast, lighter levels showing Asian pear and tart cherry, ripe plum, apricot, and cacao bar at Full City. City to Full City+.  

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Buna Ababa - has flavors of fresh citrus - meyer lemon, mandarin, tangelo. Beautiful acidity and finish, this coffee opens up to stone fruit and tea flavors as it cools. A nice rose water note in the background. City to City+.

Ethiopia Yirga Cheffe Dabub Matebya - has bergamot, citrus, raw honey, floral jasmine, stone fruits, black tea - Classic Yirga Cheffe all the way. As elegant as it is complex, this is an ultra-clean example of south Ethiopia washed coffees. City to City+.

This Week's Roasted Coffee

May 1. 2015

For this installment of the bi weekly roasted coffee subscription I roasted two coffees from the Americas. Both are sweet and bodied but also have interesting acidity that balances out their flavor profiles. I approached them with consistency in mind.

The El Salvador had a bit more development time which brought those deep chocolate notes forward in front of the toasted nut and slight fruit flavors. The Colombia I approached with a shorter total roast time to highlight the acidity but still making sure to take enough time to bring out some sweetness and a slightly syrupy mouth feel.

El Salvador Finca Matalapa Mirador City+

The Mirador from Finca Matalapa in El Salvador is a balanced cup. The first thing I notice about this coffee is the cocoa and the heft of the body it possesses even at this lighter City + roast level. Next a syrupy sweetness comes through, almost like black tea with honey. There is a nice mellow acidity in there too with a faint fruit note. Flavors of roasted hazelnut and chocolate dominate this exceptional daily drinking coffee.

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2 4 2uesday!

April 28, 2015

Say "hello" to two new coffees.

Sumatra Aceh Desa Kerawat - has flavors of palm sugar, sweet tobacco and bittersweet baking cocoa. Darker roasts build more chocolate and roast tones.

Peru FTO El Palto - Delgado Martines - tastes great at all roast levels. We tasted raw sugar, cinnamon, with sweet cocoa and nut notes. It makes a super chocolatey espresso too.