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.

i-Roast2 inventory this season

We have learned that further i-Roast2 home roasters are not expected to be available in the US until about March, 2010, meaning we and most other sources will be without inventory throughout the holiday season.  The importer and distributor claims that when their last shipment arrived it did not pass their quality control thus, the entire shipment was rejected and sent back to China, where it is manufactured.  A whole new order needs to be restaged and produced with the resulting ETA.  If we receive any additional news we will provide updates here.

New coffees posting shortly

We’re behind in posting to the blog but happily we are in great shape with coffee and equipment.  We will certainly make an effort to post more often.  At the moment we have all the Technivorm Moccamaster models in stock, these include the ever popular KBT-741 in both polished silver and black, the cylindrical Moccamaster CDT all of which brew 1.25 liters.  We also stock the slightly smaller and shorter one liter model, KBTS.  All are available with the best offer on the internet and selling at the lowest allowable price.

A number of coffees have arrived and will be on the site very shortly.  We were successful bidders on Hacienda Esmeralda’s lot called Mario Pasqua, our favorite of the group offered this year.  Mario is the name of the field where their most acclaimed coffee has come from in the past.  This field was picked three times, the last of which was in April around Easter – Pasqua in Spanish.  Esmeralda’s crop was half of the previous year, a common problem throughout Panama, Costa Rica and Colombia this year.  Less coffee, winner of this year’s Best of Panama, higher prices.  We will have only a bit available.

We will also be adding Ethiopia Amaro Gayo Organic, a beautifully selected natural with pronounced blueberry and tons of fruit.  Special coffees out of Ethiopia are very difficult to find this year because of the advent of the ECX or Ethiopia Commodity Exchange.  Ethiopia has launched its own NY Mercantile style exchange in an effort to generate more income and smoother transactions for farmers within the country, where in the past an open auction system existed.  In doing so, the exchange negates rewards some growers and exporters were gettting in the past for exceptional coffee production, and relegates those coffees to being identified solely by region. It would be like famous Grand Cru wines such as Chateaux Lafite, Latour or Margaux being required to be sold as just Bordeaux, without allowing them to be sold separately and at their much deservingly higher prices.  Why would they continue to take special care and make investment in their farms without reward?  This is a situation we hope to be corrected in the near future, but it exists for now.  Some pre-arranged shipments were allowed to go through and Amaro Gayo Organic is one of them.  It is similar in appeal to Bagersh’ Idido Misty Valley, which will not be in the US in 2009.

Also be on the lookout for a truly top Kenya AA Kagumoini, one of the best we’ve had in some time, and we’ve had some stunners. Another coffee is a microlot from Costa Rica milled at the Helsar micromill.  These and more to be added shortly.  Check our New Arrivals section for the latest additions.  New CoE coffees from Colombia, the 4th place winner, and, Costa Rica, the 3rd place winner, have just been added.

 

Colombia Cup of Excellence 2009

We’ve been in Pereira, Colombia for the past week as members of the Cup of Excellence jury.  Yesterday was the final day with the ranking of the top ten coffees followed by the awards ceremony.  It was both an interesting day of cupping as well as a delightful and touching ceremony.  Four coffees attained scores over 90 points and earned the Presidential Award distinction.  The first place coffee, scoring 91.68 points, was from the Department of Meta, a highly mountainous region of central Colombia, while the second through fourth place finalists were from Huila.  The top five scoring coffees are below. The first four earned the CoE Presidential Award for attaining a score above 90 points. The auction for these coffees will be held April 23rd.

Lot # Farm Farmer Score
1 El Porvenir Alejandro Florez 91.68
2 Bellavista Javier Sanjuan Gomez 90.63
3 El Progreso Leonte Collazos Rojas 90.21
4 Villarrica Cenen Bambague 90.03
5 Divino Ñiño Maria Deya Camacho 89.75

Cook’s Illustrated – Technivorm

Cook’s Illustrated magazine did an in-depth review of automatic drip coffee makers in their September / October issue, just released.  The excellent Technivorm KBT-741 brewer, made in Holland, was their clear top pick.  The review stated that the Technivorm, “achieved perfect temperatures for brewing and serving and was the closest of all the coffee makers to reaching the ideal brewing time”.  All of the brewers reviewed utilize vacuum carafes, a trend clearly best for the coffee.

We were named as the source for the Technivorm brewers and indeed we are one of their largest dealers in the US.  We offer the KBT-741 and the nearly identical Thermo CD (CDT) models.  Because of the demand created by the review we sold through our inventory and are now accepting pre-orders for brewers that will arrive here mid-September.  Technivorm has also announced a price increase that will be effective Sept. 1, so pre-ordering prior to that date assures customers of securing a brewer at the present price of $239.95, and, of receiving one from the first shipment to arrive. 

Click to pre-order the Technivorm Moccamaster KBT-741 or Technivorm Moccamaster CDT.

Guatemala Cup of Excellence 2008

 We are freshly back from the Guatemala CoE having spent a week cupping and enjoying the country. First place in the competition went to El Injerto, for a massive Pacamara from the Huehuetenango region, which garnered 93.68 points - almost 4 full points ahead of its nearest competitor.  The next three coffees were tightly grouped between 89.60 and 89.78 points as there was not as much unanimity among the jurors as for the top coffee.  El Injerto has been at the top before. They took first in 2006 and sixth in 2007 but in both years with Bourbon rather than this year’s Pacamara varietal. This year’s coffee was a stunning, lavish affair, with broad plum, prune and raisin notes, pronounced aroma and long, long finish.

Last year’s winner El Socorro y Anexos finished fourth with a Maracaturra varietal.  Third place was the adjacent farm by the same owners, but with a Bourbon and under the farm name San Guayaba.  Second place went to La Bendicion with another Bourbon.

Although it is a joy to cup so much wonderful coffee and to do so in the company of one’s friends and colleagues, it is easy to forget the sheer amount of work that is involved.  Jurors start the day early, cupping for the better part of 7 hours most days. Depending on how many or few coffees are eliminated in the first round, cupping for the second round, which must be accomplished in one pre-scheduled day, ran 10 hours. The sessions are alternately dotted with cupping and discussion.  The work of the jurors pales in comparison to that of the host country’s coffee organization, in this case Anacafe.

Anacafe represents 75,000 coffee farms in Guatemala, many of which are extremely small, some large.  They provide a wealth of services aimed at helping farmers improve their growing methods, and, to assist in any way possible to bring their coffee to market.  Over the years, Anacafe has helped to direct farmers toward producing higher quality coffee at higher elevations, shying away from lower grown coffees.  In turn, this transition has catapulted Guatemala into the top tier of coffee,  which finds the most sophisticated buyers willing to pay higher prices.  Ninety-eight percent of the country’s coffee is shade grown making for higher, more consistent humidity for the coffee while providing a natural canopy for birds and other species.  Guatemalans have a deep respect for the environment, for transparency in coffee production methods and understand the symbiosis between the coffee they grow and the land upon which it is grown.  They think long term.

Anacafe roasts each sample to be cupped, tossing away any roasts that are not within the very specific target level.  The roasting was nothing short of spectacular.   Nearly every sample was perfectly matched in color and when displayed under a color corrected lamp, no variation was visible in flight after flight.  At the awards presentation Anacafe’s roasters received a well deserved standing ovation by the jury.  Anacafe has a large staff who assist in every way to keep things moving and to do so in a manner equal to all entered coffees.  Bottled water, boiled in stainless pots and dispensed immediately, meticulous water exchanges and clean-ups, all contribute to a competition with the very best integrity.  Gabriela Cordon of Anacafe was our gracious hostess, translator, facilitator, guide and companion.  Paul Songer was Head Judge.

The winning coffees will be auctioned June 12.  Look forward to some terrific coffee from Guatemala this year.