Feb 1999: Coffee Kids & Hurricane Mitch; Welcome Back La Tacita!; Our New Format

Coffee Kids & Hurricane Mitch

The need for immediate assistance due to the devastating Hurricane Mitch was was palpable as images of river torrents and mudslides topped the nightly news. Ongoing long-term assistance is critical too, and Coffee Kids has helped with $17,500 in funds collected through businesses like Sweet Maria’s towards hurricane relief. We have been selling coffee bags with all the proceeds ($4) going to Coffee Kids …please add one to your order! We currently have Mexican and Decaf (Cafiver) bags too, but the Brazils are still the best looking. In addition to the bags, we also support through our Business Member fees and our coin drop in the shop. They have also told me that several individual members have joined via the links on our site …that’s great! Another customer recently had me add a charge to his mail order bill as a contribution to C.K. …something I can do easily, adding the sum to our monthly coin drop payment! Check them out at www.coffeekids.org . (Side note: in the final count, Mitch resulted in a 1.2 million bag loss in lower-grown Centrals, but the surplus will still be 8 million bags including Mitch, so no great cost increase in coffee ensued).

Good-lookin’ Sumatras:

Last year there was such lean pickin’s from the islands of Indonesia; Sulawesi were good, Java was its usual one-dimensional self, and Sumatras cupped well but looked like poop! When Grade 1 dry-processed Sumatras have 11% weird beans by weight, someone fell asleep while processing the coffee. I think brokers sent the message down the pipe, “make it look better or you’re dumped,” because everyone is offering handsomely prepped Sumatras this year.

So lets summarize the basics: most Sumatras are processed on the farm …not at a big centralized mill. They are a traditional dry process where ripe cherries are dried and the pulp, parchment and most of the silverskin are ripped off the seeds in one fell swoop. Since this is not a washed process where under-ripe “quakers” are float to the surface of the water system and are skimmed off, only skillful picking and hand prep can remove defective seeds.

Ultimately, the quality of the cup is the final statement on the processing. I have cupped incredibly clean, re-screened, re-sorted, polished Mandheling that was just thick brown water –awful! The 11% stuff we had was musty, aggressive and had pungent spice to it. I cant explain it, I just cup it!

The neat thing about the Indonesians available now is the range of cups you can get, from aggressive to delicate. The Gayo Mountain Organic Grade 2 (!) is outstanding, sweet and almost refined. The Mandheling looks beautiful, and cups just as bold and lively as before, with a bit less earth (or dirtiness) in the cup. The Sulawesi is clean with low acid and medium-sweetness.

But how about that Timor! Just when Java seems to have bit the dust, Timor produces big, beautiful perfectly prepped washed Organic coffees that out-Java the best Java! We have stocked the Aifu and the Maubesse this year, impressed with the big syrupy body, beautiful nip of acidity. Its an all-around superstar, roasted light, dark, straight or blended. Hopefully, you are also aware of the horrible economic and political situation in East Timor, which was annexed by Indonesia. The Indonesian army had completely exploited the Timorese economy (I was told checks for coffee shipments were made out to the army!) Coffee production that was high quality 20 years ago was almost completely wiped out, until old Portuguese estates and wet-mills were rejuvenated by about 7000 estimated coffee farmers who effectively have broken the Indonesian economic stranglehold. They write their own contracts, command a premium for Organics, reinvest in better processing equipment, and the little island between Australia and Sulawesi is cranking out loads of excellent coffee!

Welcome Back La Tacita!

I am happy to offer La Tacita estate Guatemalan again, cupped as the best Antigua and best Guatemalan by the Coffee Review panel of distinguished boo-hoos. Seriously, its outstanding! Depth, complexity, lotsa acidity to make you pucker, that hint in the aftertaste that vacillates between chocolate and vanilla. I am essentially buying it directly form the Falla family that owns the farm, so I should keep a stock of this great coffee consistently …um, I hope! The price is reasonable, the coffee is awesome.
Down the Pipe:

We’ll have new crop Mexican San Pablo Tres Fleches in March, which was the winning Mexican coffee of ’98 in my mind. I am also looking forward the the Sumatra Golden Mandheling (no …its not Golden because its old and yellow), a premium triple-sorted coffee that doesn’t lose its character in the prep! Also hoping that a futures contract I bought on Dota Tarrazu comes to pass. If La Minita is the most high-profile (read hyped) Tarrazu, Dota is the insiders favorite. Drive past the la Minita farm, up the valley until the roads diminish into footpaths and you are in Dota; remote, lush and origin of the most intense Tarrazu coffees. On a bad day the Dota can out-muster any Costa Rican Tres Rios, and on a good day …well, its a safe bet in terms of a futures contract commitment.
Our New Format

Tiny Joy has petered out into a one page fact sheet that will be stuffed in with orders and mailed upon request. On the plus side, I fully intend to produce a new one on a monthly basis. Its a great place for me to discuss recent cuppings, the coffees I am excited about, and maybe some that I am not excited about. New crops Centrals are coming soon …let’s all pray for better results than last year!

As always, this list is always superceded by the web page list, since that is updated continuously!

***Central American*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Costa Rican Tarrazu -Popagayo $4.90 $9.31 $21.32

Guat. Antigua -Apollo $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Guat. Antigua -La Tacita Estate $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

Guat. Organic-Atitlan $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Guat. SHB Huehuetenango $4.50 $8.55 $19.58

Honduran SHG Marcala $4.40 $8.36 $19.14

Mexican Organic Atoyac $5.65 $10.74 $24.58

Mexican HG Chiapas $4.25 $8.08 $18.49

Mexican Coatepec -Roma $3.90 $7.41 $16.97

Mexican Maragogype $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Mex. San Pablo Tres Flechas $4.65 $8.84 $20.23

Mexican HG Organic Putla $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Nic. Jinotega/Matagalpa $4.65 $8.84 $20.23

Nic. Matagalpa Gavilan Estate $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Nicaraguan Organic Segovia $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Panama Boquete Lerida Estate $5.10 $9.69 $22.19

Panama Hartmann “Songbird” $5.10 $9.69 $22.19

***South American*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Brazil Bourbon Santos 2/3s $3.50 $6.65 $15.23

BrazilCerrado Monte Carmelo $4.30 $8.17 $18.71

Brazil Minas17/18″Organic” $4.50 $8.55 $19.58

Colombian Huila Supremo $4.50 $8.55 $19.58

Colombian Popayan Supremo $4.40 $8.36 $19.14

Peru Organic Chanchamayo $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

***African*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Ethiopian Ghimbi Gr 5 $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

Ethiopian Harar Mochara Gr 5 $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

Ethiopian Limmu Washed Gr2 $6.10 $11.59 $26.54

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Gr2 $6.45 $12.26 $28.06

Kenya AA -Kiungu Farm ’98 $8.00 $15.20 $34.80

Ugandan Bugisu AA $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Yemen Dhamari $7.10 $13.49 $30.89

Zambia AA Chisoba Estate $6.60 $12.54 $28.71

Zimbabwe AA Canterbury $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

Zimbabwe Peaberry + $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

***Indonesian*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Sulawesi Toraja $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Sumatra Batak Mandheling $5.35 $10.17 $23.27

Sumatra Mandheling Gr1-DP $5.15 $9.79 $22.40

Sumatra Organic Gayo Mountain $5.70 $10.83 $24.80

Sumatra Organic GayoMtn.Gr2 $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Timor Organic Aifu Gr1 $5.35 $10.17 $23.27

Timor Organic MaubesseGr1 $5.35 $10.17 $23.27

***Other*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Indian Monsooned Malabar $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Indian Mysore-Kent Varietal $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Papua New Guinea Wahgi PB $5.70 $10.83 $24.80

Moka Kadir Blend $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

Sweet Maria’s French Roast Blend $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

***Decafs*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Colombian Excelso CO2 D $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Costa Rican HB Natural D $5.30 $10.07 $23.06

Mexican Esmeralda Natural D $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

PapuaNewGuinea Organic SWP D $6.40 $12.16 $27.84

Sumatra Organic SWP D $6.60 $12.54 $28.71

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