Latest Posts

  1. Behind The Scenes: Sweet Maria's Roasted Coffee

    Behind The Scenes: Sweet Maria's Roasted Coffee

    Here's how we roast.

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  2. New Postcards. Quakers: Resistant to Roast

    New Postcards. Quakers: Resistant to Roast

    Our new postcards. Look for one in your next order.

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  3. FreshRoast Basics Class at Sweet Maria's

    FreshRoast Basics Class at Sweet Maria's

    Sign up for our FreshRoast Class

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  4. Bullet R1 Roaster Meet Up

    Bullet R1 Roaster Meet Up

    Join us for a meet-up where we will discuss the very popular Aillio Bullet R1 coffee roaster.

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  5. Six Under Six - July 2018

    Six Under Six - July 2018

    Six great coffees. All under six bucks.

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  6. Video: A Cooler Way to Cool Your Behmor Roast

    Video: A Cooler Way to Cool Your Behmor Roast

    Cool your coffee faster by removing the drum.

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  7. Aillio Bullet R1 Support

    Aillio Bullet R1 Support

    Need a little help with your Bullet R1? We are here for you.

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  8. Intro to Home Roasting Class

    Intro to Home Roasting Class

    Sign up for this roasting basics class. It's going to be a lot of fun.

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  9. Sweet Maria's Featured on The Coffee Podcast

    Sweet Maria's Featured on The Coffee Podcast

    Listen in and share with a friend that needs a little motivation getting started with roasting on their own.

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  10. Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters: The Spirit of Invention

    Hot Rod Home Coffee Roasters: The Spirit of Invention

    For some people who roast their own coffee, off-the-shelf home coffee roasting appliances don't cut it.

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  11. Air Popper Modifications -Adding a Thermometer

    Air Popper Modifications -Adding a Thermometer

    A thermometer can help you establish a more consistent roasting routine. Adding a thermometer to your air popper measures the temperature of the forced air heat flow after it has passed through the beans.

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  12. Gas Oven Roasting Method

    Gas Oven Roasting Method

    What You Need: A gas oven. A perforated pan, a vegetable steamer, or a stainless steel wire mesh collander.

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Roasting Guatemala and other Washed Central American Coffees

Roasting Guatemala and other Washed Central American Coffees
 High grown washed Central American coffees are practically the control coffee when it comes to roasting, the coffees that roast just like they should. They take the heat up front, change color evenly, charge into 1st Crack with gusto and with a definitive finish. On top of all that, they are perhaps the most versatile as far as roast level and roast development, with a plenty of exciting and intensely sweet characteristics expressed from City to Full City+. They also have a lot of room to move the characteristics across the palate and create a 3 dimensional profile.

The number one fundamental of washed Centrals in my mind is sweetness and the way that you can present the whole range of development of that sweetness. Some washed South American coffees also share this trait and you can include them here, especially Colombians. African coffees can have the vibrant and exotic fruit and floral attributes, and Indonesian and Pulped Natural coffees have the more rustic type of sweetness, but Washed Centrals can be deeply and expressively sweet in a truly remarkable way.

Lighter roasts without that much sugar development show more of the malty sweetness, but that malty sweetness can also express itself as graham cracker or wafer cookie. Developing the roast a little more moves you into the intense candy-like sweetness, followed by the more fruited sweetness like that found in cherries and other stone fruits, unique fruitiness from citric and malic fruitiness. Continuing to develop the roast leads to a fruity chocolate sweetness and then mild bitterness from caramelization expresses a more dark cocoa character with some vanilla.

This is the sweetness development path of most coffees, but I feel like Washed Centrals showcase this development in the clearest possible way. And of course Washed Centrals can show floral and more exotic fruit notes, but it is this sweetness that is integral. The other side of that coin is balance. In order to best express the sweetness of a Washed Central, you also want to develop the roast so that there is as much balance between the acidity and mouthfeel as possible. That balance best showcases the clarity in a well sorted and processed coffee, which in turn allows the sweetness to be the star of the show. Because the acidity can be so brilliant and crystal clear there is always a temptation to roast the coffee to highlight that, but it can be just as brilliant if the roast is used to highlight and promote sweetness.

In the Stretching out the Roast article and the Cuptoberfest 2013 video I talk about the architecture of a coffee. What I'm referring to is mostly where on the palate you taste/experience the acidity of a coffee. This location has a great impact on how the coffee tastes and feels. If you experience the acidity on the very front of the palate, usually the result of underdevelopment, there is an immediate intensity but then the finish is dry and vapid, not very sweet at all. If the acidity has been flattened out by over-development then the coffee feels undefined and without architecture. While the sweetness can still be present in this profile, the lack of any other dimension fails to feature it at its best. Developing the roast so that the acidity is experienced somewhere with some range across the palate can provide a depth of field that allows not only the sweetness to be experienced throughout the palate, but also for all of the exciting other flavor characteristics to be fully expressed.