Jul 2000: Sumatra 5 : Jamaica 0; New Coffee Updates

Sumatra 5 : Jamaica 0

The list of coffees we stock shouldn’t be read as a comprehensive sampling of what’s available … but rather as a list of what we find that is truly good! I always find myself in a buyer’s dilemma of having a great coffee sample offered for immediate delivery from a broker … but I need another coffee from that region like I need to catch a cold. That might mean having 3-5 coffees from one origin country or even from one growing region in that country (Huehuetenango from Guatemala comes to mind). I must respectively submit control of our business to the Gods of Coffee Cup Quality …

Such is the case for Sumatra and Sulawesi. I remember 2 years ago when they cupped nicely and just looked terrible. (They always look a bit ragged compared to the perfect polished Central Americans but in 1998 they were especially mangy). Last year they looked better but many samples were blah: if you remove enough of the bizzarro beans you can prep. the character right out of the coffee! This year has been different. We have coffees that range from OK to near-perfect in prep (Sumatra DP to Sulawesi DP respectively) and all show striking cup character and remarkable complexity. The Sumatra Golden Pwani arrived late this year. I definitely didn’t need it but the samples were just brilliant.

And when a whole region is ”up,” it makes it very hard to pick a favorite. And it is impossible to pick the best …if such a thing can exist in the realm of taste and personal preference. In fact, if the cup character of a Sumatra or Sulawesi doesn’t agree with you (earthy, low acidity, big body, pungent: a little musty, hopefully some fruity sweetness and spice) then a coffee from that origin the outstanding character will only DIS-please you more! (The 4 bags of exceptional Ethiopian Yirgacheffe we secured last year —award winning, highest rated ever, roasters competing for bags of it) was the only Yirgacheffe I have ever received complaints about from customers! In the Indonesian realm, there are very compelling alternatives to the heavily earthy coffees though: Timor Aifu, Papua New Guinea, Java Kayumas, and now the wet-processed Sulawesi Sulotco Estate. These are coffees with a cleaner cup profile, all wet-processed vs. the DP (dry-processed) Sulawesi and Sumatra, and with all the body and balance but not the funky pungency.

Forget Jamaica Blue Mountain … or should we? As many know, I think JBM is the biggest scandal in coffee since the Kona Coffee ripoff of 1997. It can be nice, but that’s all it ever is, even at its best, I used to feel like I should capitulate: offer it at a lower price …the real stuff and the exemplary stuff …when and where possible. After all, home roasters can enjoy it gloriously fresh, at its best. But its best still isn’t much compared to a really good Mexican. Well, how about this: an experimental program between a Kona coffee farmer with one of the highest altitude, prime coffee gardens in Kona and the University of Hawaii coffee project growing 100% pure Jamaica Blue Mountain seedstock (which as you may know IS its own var. of arabica typica). The coffee is perfectly prepped, not the JBM Wallenford with pale old coffee and berry-boring bug damage. And it is a much better cup, albeit mild as all Island coffees tend to be. Well, that’s the story and its from the Kowali farm (Morning glory in Hawaiian) and I am pretty sure I bought the entire lot of this for the 2000 year from Skip and Rita, the growers. Anyway, I was really impressed with their Peaberry, and buying farm-direct is such a great way to support them (its a more expensive coffee so cutting out the broker really only means I get it for the same cost or a little more as we could get the Extra Fancy Greenwell —also a great cup but not nearly so rare!) Anyway, look for it in 3 weeks!

New Coffee Updates

There are so many new coffees that arrived in the last 2 weeks I cant even keep them straight, but I will try: Guatemalan Huehuetenango Maragogype: This is a separate varietal of coffee arabica var. typica that has exceptionally large beans. They take a little longer to roast and may have a mottled appearance. I never believe that ”larger is better” necessarily but this Maragogype blew away 4 Guatemalan Antiguas in the cup. What does this prove: that its a hot year for Huehue (that’s why we have 3!) and there’s not many Antiguas worth buying on the market (I have panned about 12 estate Antiguas so far, still waiting for new crop La tacita —if THAT is off, then I wont cup any more Antiguas until next year.)

We added more Colombians to the list: ones with remarkable and well-defined cup character. These are nowhere near the polite and impotent Huila Supremo or some Popayan Supremo. Two cup almost like a Sumatra …believe it or not (I couldn’t!) …they actually have a defined pungent aggressiveness to them! That’s the Tuluni and the San Augustin. In fact, all three have this striking aggressiveness and it has led me to rethink my biases towards Colombians as wimpy middle of the road coffees. I am not saying you can go out there and get a wimpy cup of Juan Valdez 95% of it is like that. But Colombia changed their whole strategy lately: they reversed the trend toward pooling coffees and emphasized single origin and single estate, These are the results …the flavorful coffees that were formerly lost in a sea of lower-grown dreck, now liberated to brew potent yet balanced coffee! Try one, they are impressive. If you want a cleaner fruity cup without the pungency try the excellent Guat Huehues.

Salvador: Ah Pacamara! Like Maragogype it is a large bean arabica varietal and these are very big and potently bright, I know in beer they talk about ”hop-heads” and in wine there is ”dry” but in coffee there are legions of people who feel that brightness IS the flavor of coffee and eschew the low-acid coffees that completely miss the front of your palate. These are the Kenya people (who should be thrilled this year with the quality of the crop) and the Costa Rican folks. Well, they need to get hip to the Pacamara. You should have heard Jim Reynolds of Peets coffee speak about it at a cupping seminar we were in at the SCAA conference. In fact, everyone in the room was deeply impressed. I didn’t think the Myanmar sample at the same cup.
New! Sweet-Maria’s Emailer

This newsletter is swiped from the emailer of 7/10/00 out of dire need. I promise not to do that again. Basically the emailer is a twice-monthly “what’s new” email. You can sign up for it on the main page at www.sweetmarias.com

Sweet Maria’s Green Coffee Offerings on 7/1/00

Central American 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Costa Rican Dota Conquistador 99-00 $5.60 $10.64 $24.36

Costa Rican Tarrazu La Minita 99-00 $6.95 $13.21 $30.23

Costa Rican La Pastora Tarrazu 99-00 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Guatemala Huehuetenango -Dos Lagos $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Guatemala Huehuetenango -Catinil $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Guatemala SHB HHT Maragogype $5.65 $10.74 $24.58

Guatemala Oriente -Tres Marias $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

Mexican Oaxaca Pluma -Fino Rojas $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Mexican Organic Pluma -Loxicha $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Mexican Organic-Finca Santa Anita $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Mexican San Pablo Tres Flechas $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Nicaraguan SHG Gavilan Estate $4.60 $8.74 $20.01

Nicaraguan SHG La Illusion $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Panama Hartmann Songbird 99-00 $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

Salvador Organic-Los Naranjos $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Salvador Pacamara -“Desolo Fancy” $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

1020-South American 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Brazil Cerrado-Monte Carmelo $4.40 $8.36 $19.14

Brazil Cerrado-Oberon 17-18 $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Brazil Monte Alegre- Wet Process $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Colombian Ibague Nevado Supremo $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Colombian San Augustin 100% Typica $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Colombian Tuluni Supremo 18+ $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Peru SHG Organic -Cuzco $4.95 $9.41 $21.53

1040-African- Arabian 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Ethiopian Djimmah Gr 5 $4.40 $8.36 $19.14

Ethiopian Harar Gr5 Horse $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Ethiopian Sidamo Gr.5 99-00 $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Gr2 $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Kenya AA Kiunyu Estate 99-00 $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

Kenya AA Nyanja Estate 99-00 $5.60 $10.64 $24.36

Kenya AA Samburu Estate 99-00 $5.45 $10.36 $23.71

Tanzanian Peaberry 99-00 $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Yemen Mokha Mattari Al-Haj $7.00 $13.30 $30.45

Yemen Mokha Raimi 99-00 $6.90 $13.11 $30.02

Yemen Mokha Sana’ani -Saihi $6.90 $13.11 $30.02

Zimbabwe AAA Pinnacle $5.60 $10.64 $24.36

1060-Indonesian- Indian 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Indian Monsooned Malabar AA $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Indian Pearl Mountain Est. Peaberry $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Java Aged Old Brown $6.20 $11.78 $26.97

Java Gvt. Estate -Kayumas $5.10 $9.69 $22.19

Myanmar Arabica -Rubyland Peaberry $3.50 $6.65 $15.23

Papua New Guinea A Org-Shade $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Papua New Guinea Purosa AA $5.60 $10.64 $24.36

Sulawesi Toraja-Boengie Fat Bean $5.70 $10.83 $24.80

Sulawesi Toraja Gr.1 99-00 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Sulawesi Rantepao (Monsooned) $6.10 $11.59 $26.54

Sulawesi Sulotco Est.-Wet Processed $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Sumatra Mandheling Gr1 DP $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Sumatra Mandheling Golden Pwani $5.45 $10.36 $23.71

Sumatra Mandheling-Special Triple Pick $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Sumatra Organic Gayoland.Gr1 $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Sumatra Blue Lintong Gr1 $5.30 $10.07 $23.06

Timor Grade 1 -Aifu $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

1080-Islands- Blends -Etc. 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Hawaii Kona- well Extra Fancy $15.20 $28.88 $66.12

Hawaii Kona-Kowali Blue Mountain coming soon

Isle of Saint Helena $21.20 $40.28 $92.22

SM’s Moka Kadir Blend $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

SM’s Espresso Monkey Blend $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Sweet Maria’s Fr.RoastBlend $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Malabar Gold Espresso Blend $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

1100 -Decafs 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Brazil Santos SWP Decaf $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Colombian Natural Decaf $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Costa Rican SHB SWP Decaf $5.70 $10.83 $24.80

IndonesianOrg.KomodoBlend SWP D $6.20 $11.78 $26.97

Mexican Esmeralda Natural Decaf $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Mexican Organic/Shade SWP D $6.15 $11.69 $26.75

Papua New Guinea Org SWP D $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

Sumatra Org.GayoMtn SWP Decaf $6.30 $11.97 $27.41

1120 -Premium Robustas 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Indian Kaapi Royale Robusta $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Indian Monsooned Robusta AA $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

PapuaNewGuinea Washed Robusta $3.90 $7.41 $16.97

Sweet Maria’s Coffee Roastery

9 E. 2nd Ave. * Columbus Ohio 43201

ph/fx:614 294 1816 / 888.876 5917

web: www.sweetmarias.com

email: [email protected]


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