Best of Panama and Esmeralda auctions 2011

The Best of Panama auction was held today with stunning price results.  Five coffees achieved prices over $50 a pound.  The first and second place coffees, both Geishas from Finca La Valentina and Hacienda Esmeralda Especial, brought $70.25 and $75.25 respectively.  The top non-Geisha was from Kotowa Don K from Cafe Kotowa, a Caturra and Typica blend that fetched $20.75 a pound. Much of today’s auction winners were from Japan.

We were judges at Best of Panama this year and on the first day there was a special cupping of natural process coffees.  The growers in Panama, notably in Boquete and Volcan, are pushing the envelope of what can be achieved.  Two naturals brought in the top prices in the auction: Don Pachi Geisha natural brought a stunning $111.50 a pound, and, Colga Alfa from Esmeralda earned $88.50.  In the near future we will have two of the coffees that were auctioned today, so stay tuned!

Last Tuesday, May 17, was the dedicated 2011 Esmeralda Special. Happily, we were the successful bidders with one of our colleagues their Montana lot, their newest growing plot and in our opinion the best coffee they offered this year.  It is also the scarcest with only 600 total pounds available.  Two Montana lots, one of them ours, fetched the highest prices in the auction at $52.50 and $53.50 a pound.  A very limited amount will be available green to our Roastmasters customers so let us know if you have interest.  The coffee should arrive in about a month.

Best of Panama 2011 auction results

Hacienda Esmeralda Especial 2011 auction results

 

Hottop raising prices in June

Hottop USA announced price increases to its distributors to be effective June 15.  The minimum selling price for Hottop model KN-8828B-2 will be $820, a $100 increase; the programmable KN-8828P-2 will become $1000, an $80 increase.  Hottop pricing has been constant for four years as the price of just about everything has risen.  The company cites rising metal and fuel costs and points out that they have made numerous design improvements during these past years. 

Roastmasters.com will offer both Hottop models at the lowest allowable selling price.  You have until June 15 to purchase both models at their current minimum prices:  $720 and $920 respectively. Both model KN-8828B-2 and KN-8828P-2 are in stock and available.  Buy now to save in advance of the upcoming increase.

i-Roast2 back on sale

The i-Roast2 ,which we were previously told would be discontinued, is back.  In early January we reported the i-Roast2 roaster had its last shipment arrive at the US distributor, and we offered what we thought to be the last of them for sale.  A short time ago we received a phone call from the same distributor saying that the roaster would now continue to be available.  We have plenty in stock so head on over to our i-Roast2 product page.  Like Mark Twain’s famed “Reports of my death are greatly exaggerated” so too is that true of the i-Roast2.  We have them and it looks like they will now be around for a while.

Baratza consolidates their grinder lineup

Baratza will soon introduce the ‘New Maestro Plus’ grinder, identical to the former model with two exceptions:

  • The base upon which it stands, which was formerly all metal, will now be made of plastic that is internally fitted with some metal to retain its weight.
  • The change above will enable the price to drop about $20.  Our price for the new Maestro Plus will be $129 upon its arrival around the 20th of February – the lowest price Baratza allows them to be sold.

Concurrently, Baratza will discontinue the Maestro, which had been the lowest price grinder they made as well as the lightest.  Until now, the Maestro and Maestro Plus have both had the same conical burrs and offered identical grinding performance, so this consolidation of the two models into one simplifies the Baratza line.  After the Maestro product consolidation is complete the company will have four models in all, each with its own differentiated burr sets and performance features.  Those four will consist of:

  • ‘new’ Maestro Plus
  • Virtuoso
  • Preciso
  • Vario
Redesigned Baratza Maestro Plus

Redesigned Baratza Maestro Plus

The grinder will be available on our site within a couple of days.

i-Roast2 Swan Song

The i-Roast2 was thought to be a goner about a year ago.  Although many home roasters covet this product, the US importer  told us more than a year ago that it was unlikely they would be bringing it here any longer.  They had rejected a defective shipment in 2009 and that seemed to be the last batch.  But, one final shipment has arrived in the US and we have been informed once again that this may be the last.  We have secured a number of these roasters and expect them to move quickly.  If you have been waiting for the return of the i-Roast2 don’t wait long too long to act !

This round of roasters is identical to those in the past with the exception of the two preset profiles. In the past one of those profiles was intended for a fast or dark roast, the other for slow one. Now, the profiles have been replaced with one preset for high chaff coffees, the other for low chaff coffees. These designations are being made by i-Roast; they say Preset 1 for high chaff coffees is exemplified by Central and South American; Preset 2 is for beans with medium to light chaff such as Arabic, African, Indonesian and decaffeinated. Decaffeinated coffees are very low in chaff but guessing chaff based on sweeping origin generalities just is not accurate. Preset details are as follows.

i-Roast2 New Presets 2011

i-Roast2 New Presets 2011

i-Roast2 Former Presets 2009/10

i-Roast2 Former Presets 2009/10

The i-Roast 2 by Hearthware is profile programmable home coffee roasters and has a real fan base. This i-Roast2, which replaced the i-Roast a couple of years ago, adds several desirable features to an already well-established and popular product. This unit is fairly sophisticated, inexpensive and is one of the few roasters capable of producing dark roasts for the home roaster.  Get them while you can.


Hottop adds emergency ejection knob

Hottop emergency ejection knob

Hottop emergency ejection knob

Hottop announced the addition of an emergency ejection knob to both of their models and has modified the model numbers to designate them as such.  The new model numbers are KN-8828B-2 and KN-8828P-2 (note the -2 addition).  While this announcement has just become formalized, roasters purchased from us since summer have had this latest emergency feature.  Added strictlyas a safety measure, the knob protrudes from the rear of the roaster.

Hottop notes that while emergencies are quite rare, situations can arise such as power failures, which would cause the coffee to sit in a hot drum.  Pulling the ejection knob will get them out. Read the applicable sections of the Hottop owner’s manual for complete usage information.

Ejection knob detail