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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
Just back from being part of the international judging panel at the El Salvador Cup of Excellence. It was held near the town of Concepcion de Ataco, in the heart of the Apaneca-Ilamatepec region in the western part of the country, not far from the Guatemala border. Twenty four judges were in attendance from eleven countries.
Of the top ten coffees, half were Bourbon and half were Pacamara. One of the attractions of going to El Salvador was a personal fondness for the Pacamara varietal. This varietal is a cross between the Pacas natural mutation of Bourbon, and the large Maragogipe, an offspring of Typica known primarily for its size but also with fans for its flavor. When all is right with Pacamara it exhibits dramatic, dark fruit flavors, layers of them. El Salvador is perhaps the place where more Pacamara is grown and experiemented with. While only 5% of coffee grown is Pacamara, it is often in the top group of competition winners as was the case here.
Here are some photos on Flickr.
El Salvador is a unique origin and in some ways the value of its coffee is not really well known. Unique in Central America, mainly two varietals make up the entirety of the country’s production, Bourbon and Pacamara, with the vast majority Bourbon. Some of the Bourbon is Pacas. Bourbon itself is grown in Red, Pink and Yellow varieties. In much of Central America one comes across a dominance of Caturra and Catuia but not here, where the Bourbon is heirloom. The only real derivation is with Pacamara, the relatively new coffee, that is itself a star in the making. A dozen years of war set this country’s reputation as a dominant coffee origin backward; once it was the world’s third largest, but the re-establishment of that fame is now beginning to emerge again.
In all, a wonderful experience with good coffee friends, old and new. And a chance to savor some of the truly world class coffees from an origin that is still under the radar compared to the quality offered.
Looks like this may be the end of the line for Hearthware’s i-Roast2 home roaster. The item has been out of stock for many months, since fall 2009. At first , US distributor Hearthware, said they had rejected an entire shipment for quality control reasons and a replacement shipment was expected earlier this year. That projected delivery time passed with no roasters arriving and the date was moved back a couple of more months. We have periodically checked in asking for an update. Yesterday, when we checked once more, we received this reply:
“Unfortunately our i-Roast2 is still on back order. We are expecting a shipment of replacement parts and maybe a small shipment of roasters sometime in August. We will not receive replenishment after that. We will be forced to discontinue the i-Roast2 after stock runs out. We are working on the next version of our roaster. The release date has not been set. I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this shortage has caused you.”
If it turns out to be true that some small amount of roasters does arrive in August, and if it makes sense at that time, we will secure some. Otherwise, we will keep our eyes peeled for a new and hopefully improved model up the road. The i-Roast2 was itself a breakthrough roaster in some ways as it offered programming of up to 10 profiles, each with up to 5 roast stages. The hot air roaster had more power and airflow than its competitors, and except for the smoke it generated (which could be vented out a window) it was a useful roaster, particularly for those who prefer dark roasts.
For the moment, Fresh Roast’s new SR500 and SR300 models are the nearest competitors. They too have been out of stock for a short while, but gladly we can report a shipment is now on the road heading our way, and, we should be shipping within a few days.
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.
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’
Two new models from Fresh Roast, the SR500 and SR300, have arrived and are now available. These two roasters replace the discontinued Plus 8.