Latest Posts

  1. POSTPONED - Online Event - Sensory Series 101 - March 18th

    POSTPONED - Online Event - Sensory Series 101 - March 18th

    Join us online and compare coffee flavors to familiar foods and drinks

    Read More
  2. Roasting Fundamentals: Getting Started with Decaf Coffee

    Roasting Fundamentals: Getting Started with Decaf Coffee

    Tricky to roast but better tasting than ever.

    Read More
  3. Roast Level Chart: Download our Card

    Roast Level Chart: Download our Card

    Check your next order for this informative postcard or download it here.

    Read More
  4. Ethiopia Organic Dry Process Two Ways: Regular vs. Decaf

    Ethiopia Organic Dry Process Two Ways: Regular vs. Decaf

    An amazing dry process Ethiopia now available as both regular and decaf.

    Read More
  5. Quakers and Taste - 2020 Sensory Summit

    Quakers and Taste - 2020 Sensory Summit

    Read More
  6. Sweet Maria's Staff Picks: Featuring Ryan

    Sweet Maria's Staff Picks: Featuring Ryan

    ...because we have our favorites too.

    Read More
  7. Blends: Limited Edition Holiday Blend Returns

    Blends: Limited Edition Holiday Blend Returns

    Check out our brew assessment of our limited edition Polar Expresso Holiday Blend. Made up of all washed African coffees, how could you go wrong?

    Read More
  8. Ethiopiques Returns

    Ethiopiques Returns

    Along with the slew of incoming fresh Ethiopian coffee comes the return of our always popular Ethiopiques blend.

    Read More
  9. Ethiopias, Cold Brewed with a Bruer.

    Ethiopias, Cold Brewed with a Bruer.

    Cold brew coffee can have more tastes than just caramel and chocolate.

    Read More
  10. Burundi + Rwanda Coffee Tasting

    Burundi + Rwanda Coffee Tasting

    Another great event at our warehouse on 9/27

    Read More
  11. Video: Coffee Leaf Tea - ቁጢ , Kuti, Keti, Koti

    Video: Coffee Leaf Tea - ቁጢ , Kuti, Keti, Koti

    Brewing coffee leaf tea

    Read More
  12. All About Coffee Brewing

    All About Coffee Brewing

    Sign up for our coffee brewing crash course

    Read More

Cupping Indian Coffees at Mr. Espresso's Roasting Plant

Cupping Indian Coffees at Mr. Espresso's Roasting Plant

I attended a local (Bay Area) cupping in early April that was interesting in two aspects: we cupped some very nice Indian coffees that I never had access to before, and we did it at Mr. Espresso, a wholesale roaster that uses unique Italian wood-fired coffee roasters.

The cupping was held in Mr. Espresso's showroom / cupping room. Here's a partial picture of the group there, with a bunch of SF Bay Area roasters and brokers. Ken David, author of coffee books (which we sell) set up the cupping, and is paid as a consultant by the Coffee Board of India. He's in the light brown shirt.

The cupping was very, very limited. I expected 20 samples or so and there was just 10. But several of the coffees were very unique, and I have been talking with brokers about trying to bring these coffees into the US so we can buy a few bags. We evaluated Arabica and Robusta coffees separately, and tasted the Robusta in a traditional cupping format and as espresso too.

India has its own particular grading system.

For Arabicas:

  • Top Grade: MNEB (Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold) -19 Screen
  • Premium Grade: Plantation AA and AB -Screen 18 and up
  • Premium Peaberry: Plantation PB Bold -Screen 12 oblong
  • Unwashed Premium Arabica: Arabica Cherry AA -18 Screen

For Robusta:

  • Top Grade: Kaapi Royale -17+ Screen
  • Premium Grade: Robusta Parchment A -Screen 17 and up
  • Unwashed Premium Robusta: Robusta Cherry AA -18 Screen

For Monsooned Arabica:

  • Top Grade: Monsooned Malabar AA -18 to 19 screen
  • Premium Grade: Monsooned Basanally 16-17 Screen

 

We cupped two coffees that we actually sell; the Cohelo's Cold Monsooned Malabar AA, and the Indian Pearl Mountain Estate from Chikmagalur. (We actually cupped the flatbean of this coffee, whereas this time in my own cupping I thought the Peaberry was much better, and that's what we stock currently 04/03).

Two arabica coffee we evaluated that really impressed me were the Jumboor Estate MNEB from Coorg district. It was a very complete cup, with sage and thyme nuances. I also really liked the Badnekahn Estate coffee from Chikmagalur. It is of the SL-9 cultivar that has Ethiopian heritage, and there was indeed an identifiable fruitiness in the cup.

We cupped SLN Exports Kaapi Royale - very nice qualities, and very potent Devon Plantation Parchment AB Robusta that was my favorite. Of the Monsooned we cupped just two: Aspinwall AA and Coehlo's Gold. I preferred the Coehlo's for it's potency.

Mr Espresso's Wood-Fired Roasters
Mr. Espresso uses unique Italian wood-fired roasters. ALL the heat is supplied by just a few oak logs, and this is astounding when you see the size of the machines. These are big roasters: a 4 bag in the foreground and a 2 bag in the background.

The size of the Stirflexes (cooling trays) themselves is enormous, and when you are used to standing by a smaller machine (I have a 12 kilo Probat), you feel small next to these giants. But I imagine over time you just get used to it.

This view might give you a better idea of the size.

The idea of wood-fired roasting might seem a bit anachronistic. In fact, the coffee is not smoked by wood: the heat is entirely baffled from the coffee. The idea is that wood is a less-dry heat than atmospheric gas, and the roast times are extended a bit (which suits espresso, but and darker roast French roasts perhaps ... I don't like longer roasts with delicate coffees, personally).

Roast times are 20-26 minutes, if I heard correctly.

Here's the remarkably small door for the wood oven. There seems to be room for just 10 logs or less. And it appears they stoke it with about 6-8 logs between roasts.

You can't see here, but the oven is so hot that the logs are literally translucent. With no heat being vented outside of the roast system, you can see that it is an extremely efficient heat-capturing system.

Thanks to John DiRuocco for the tour. His father and the family own and operate the company; John is the QC person, cupper and green coffee buyer. We actually met at the SCAP Panama Cupping in Boquette, and will be on the same panel of judges for the Nicaragua "Cup of Excellence" this year too. -Tom 4/03

John uses a little San Franciscan cupping roaster -cool little thing!!! Don't get too worked up over it though -last time I checked they were $4000.

By the way, the DO sell roasted coffee and if you are an espresso fiend, you should definitely give them a try.

Comments