Archive for the 'Commentary' Category

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Incoming coffee

New coffees continue to arrive or are on their way.   These coffees will be available on our site within a week or so but we just wanted to give you some advance on them.

We have four  new coffees coming from Panama, all new crop of course. They are:

  1. Hector Vargas’ Panacoffee microlot from Boquete, a blend of Typica and Catuai that is just sensational. We know Hector for some years and we bought all of this coffee.  In the Best of Panama this year, his coffee commanded a high price and a lot of competitive bidding.
  2. Two from Wilford Lamastus’ Elida Estate, also in Boquete, his Elida Estate Reserve, always a top ranking fully washed coffee; also his natural process version of the same coffee.  Processing without washing produces a completely different cup profile.
  3. The ever-popular Carmen Estate by Carlos Aguilera of Volcan Panama, just across the ridge from Boquete.

All three growers (and their four coffees) are top shelf.

Just arrived today and will be on our site within days is Yemen Mocha Harazi that we directly imported.  This is carefully selected, top quality coffee from Yemen.  Yemeni coffee can be very tricky to purchase and this one is excellent.

We still have two coffees still to list from our trip to Costa Rica, Jose Arce’s Finca Chepe and Monte Copey de Dota.

This is a difficult and expensive year for Kenya coffee but we just found an auction lot of peaberry from the Guama mill.   It has a lot of depth and layers of flavor.   Lastly, a new decaffeinated coffee for us, Mountain Water Processed from Honduras.

In all, nine new coffees will hit our offering list within days.  Details and pricing to follow. Check our “new arrivals” section.

Best of Panama 2010 results

Best of Panama 2010 competition results were sent to us yesterday. Here are the top ten coffees and their corresponding scores.

1. Esmeralda Geisha 93.81
2. Panacoffee Geisha (Tito Vargas) 90.79
3. Carleida Geisha 88.82
4. Carmen estate 88.35
5. Don Diego (Volcan area) 86.68
6. Elida Estate 86.42
7. El Burro Estate 86.17
8. Pacamara Don Julian 85.91
9. Kotowa Don K 85.48
10. Don Diego 85.39

This year organizers of the competition asked jurors if they would roast, cup and score coffees in their own facilities. Participating jurors, which included our Willoughby’s Coffee & Tea, were required to follow the same protocols observed when the event was held in Panama. All coffees were coded and unknown to us and all participating jurors. An auction of these winners will take place on May 25th. The top three places are Geisha, as the varietal is increasingly planted throughout the area with much success.

We are happy to see farms of several of our friends in the top group and will have a number of their coffees in the coming weeks and months. Please keep on eye on the new arrivals section of our site.

The private auction of coffee from Hacienda Esmeralda will be on May 18th. It will not include the winning lot from this competition.

Various coffee ramblings

There are a few noteworthy events taking place in the world of coffee at the moment.  It’s a great time of year because most coffee throughout Central America has just been harvested and the best of them are either in repose or are in transit to consuming nations.  This resting period after processing allows flavors to mellow and mature, so the top coffees repose for one to two months.  This is especially true of very high grown coffees that initially can be quite acidic with newly harvested, grassy overtones;  seasoned cuppers know the great potential that augers for them.  Like barrel tasting new wine and getting a sense of how it will taste later in the process  The good news is that we have secured some fantastic coffees from Guatemala and Costa Rica, having recently returned from touring farms there and doing extensive cupping (more on this to follow shortly).  Some, but not all of our Panama coffees have been selected.  We are looking at other origins in the region and evaluating samples;  we expect to be in El Salvador on the International Panel in May, where we will taste the country’s best offerings along with other cuppers.

Kenya coffee this year will be considerably more expensive that any in recent memory.  We strive to have one or more top, auction lot Kenya AA coffees and this year we will continue this practice.  However, it’s going to cost more if we and you want to have those terrific coffees we’ve gotten used to.  Weather patterns are changing globally and in some origins growers are gradually planting higher to offset warmer conditions.  Continue reading ‘Various coffee ramblings’

New Fresh Roast models now on sale

Two new models from Fresh Roast, the SR500 and SR300, have arrived and are now available.  These two roasters replace the discontinued Plus 8.

Two new Fresh Roast models to debut in January

The Fresh Roast Plus 8 is being replaced by two new models with the first shipment now expected in early January. The new models address issues that users have had with the previous model, an entry level roaster on the market for many years. Both new models will cost more than the predecessor, however, they remain quite reasonable.

Model SR300:

This is a larger version of the former Plus 8.

  • Twice the roasting capacity as before, 120 grams, roughly 1/4 pound.
  • Digital display. Maximum time on the control is 9.9 minutes.
  • Has three buttons: Up, Down, Cool.
  • At any point during the roast 6 seconds can be added for every tap of the Up button; likewise, the Down button takes away time in 6 second increments.
  • Tapping the Cool button overrides the timer and places the roast into a 3 minute cooling cycle.

Model SR500 – All of the above features plus:

  • Three temperature settings that be adjusted any time during the roast. High temp is 490 degrees; Medium 455, Low 390.
  • A separate Fan Speed Control has been added that allows fine tuning of the roast. Generally, you would want the highest speed at the start of the roast when beans are heaviest and have yet to lose moisture. The would help keep beans moving. Later in the roast lower speeds would be desirable.
  • In addition to the three buttons Up, Down and Cool are fan speeds Low, Medium, High, and, a variable fan speed control knob.

Fresh Roast SR300
Fresh Roast SR300

Fresh Roast SR500
Fresh Roast SR500

We will be selling these roasters at the lowest allowable price, $109 for the SR300 and $159 for the SR500. Considering the improvements, the SR300 is only about $20 more than what the Plus 8 was selling for. We have no more of the old Plus 8 model remaining, so there will be no stock here until new models arrive. It’s a shame both the Fresh Roast and the competing i-Roast2 are not available this holiday season as both companies are both missing seasonal shoppers. Fortunately, we are in good shape with the deservedly popular Behmor 1600 as well as other roasters.

Behmor 1600 improvements

As of November 20th, Behmor 1600 roasters are shipping with a new, improved low profile chaff tray. The new chaff tray significantly improves bean visibility, enhances airflow for improved cooling, as well as collects chaff better than its predecessor.  It greatly reduces the chance of chaff ignition, save for user error.  With this tray you have an unobstructed view of beans roasting when you look through the roaster’s door.

New Behmor low profile chaff tray

The other significant change with the latest shipment is there are no longer two sizes of roasting grids.  Instead, the grid formerly known as the ‘small grid’ is now the standard issue grid.  Originally designed with a slightly closer grid pattern to keep smaller or irregularly sized beans from falling out, it became obvious at some point that you could roast anything with this grid.  So, the larger spaced grid that used to come with the roasters has been discontinued.

We will continue to offer the small grid as a separate item for owners of previous generations of Behmors.  Likewise, we now offer the new chaff tray as a separate it for purchase although they are in short supply for the next couple of weeks.