Mar – Apr 2002: A Complete Hodgepodge, Minding the Crop Cycle, Jamaica Blues?, Panama (…not the Van Halen song), Underachieving at the SCAA; Better Packaging?

Minding the Crop Cycle
It’s an odd time in the coffee crop cycle. Although new crop Central American coffees are available, these are from the low elevation regions and have correspondingly lower cup quality. We did find an exception from the Fraijanes region: new crop Guatemala La Laguna estate arriving around March 10th. New crop Ethiopians are here (Harar) or are coming soon (Yirgacheffe, Sidamo DP). It’s a great time of the year to buy Indonesians like Sumatra and Sulawesi … and in fact we will have an exciting new arrival by March 12th: wet-processed coffee from the island of Bali! So my sage advice is to buy short on the Centrals, indulge in the Africans and Indonesians, and watch out for some interesting newcomers…

Jamaica Blues?
Nothing pains me more than the subject of Jamaica Blue Mountain. When I hear people extol its virtues, all I can think is that they: a) can’t tell the difference between an apple and an onion; b). think it’s good because they have never tasted fresh-roasted coffee; or c) think it’s good because they are blatantly conspicuous consumers and think cost determines quality. Yes, I know there is a mildly unique character to Jamaican coffee, when you can get some that isn’t drilled with insect holes or doesn’t cup like cabbage-water. I have cupped a lot of samples from this origin over the years, and it is easily surpassed by good Mexican coffees in blind evaluation. But I told myself that if I did ever cup a Jamaican coffee that had unique character quality, I would offer it. And after 3 years I have found one that is good: Moy Hall Estate. It has mild spicy notes that emerge from behind an almondy roast flavor. When you rest it for 24-48 hours (better at 48) the body thickens. Is it black pepper I taste? Some surprising Sulwesi-like wet humus? You need to be generous with the percentage of ground coffee in brewing, but the results are a very good (and yes, unique) mild coffee. Will a home roaster who loves the wild notes in Harar, the flowery Yirgacheffe, the soaring high-notes of Kenya, or the pungency of Lake Tawar be overwhelmed with the Moy Hall? No … But if you pay attention and let the coffee rest on your palate as it cools, you will find complexity and interest in this cup. At such a price, is it 5x better than other coffees? … No. But I can say that this Jamaican Moy Hall is not a rip off, and that alone makes it quite unique.

Panama (…not the Van Halen song)
I have been a fan of Panamanian coffees for a long time. They cup better than many other Central Americans and are under-appreciated. We have featured excellent coffees from the estates of Lerida, Hartmann, La Berlina, Maunier, Boutet and others over the past 5 years. Cup quality with Panama coffees is no fluke: the farming methods for the Boquete/Chirqui coffees are quality-focused (not quantity-focused) and they use traditional seed stocks and milling methods. Aside from being a fan, we bought the auction-winning lot from last year’s event. This year I’ll be closer to the action: I get to act as a judge at the annual Coffee & Flower Festival in early April. That means I get a preview of the best coffees from the upcoming auction.

Underachieving at the SCAA
Dear (home)roaster: Let me know if you are going to be at the 2002 Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Anaheim and I will try to meet up with you. But otherwise you might not see me because, unlike the Miami conference last year, I am not presenting or volunteering at all! No, it is not laziness or cynicism (although I display both daily)… I am just in need of a break. It has been such a busy year, and keeping up the quality of what we do takes all I’ve got. This was going to be a unique conference: Maria was going to attend with me. But taking note of all the marketing seminars and promotional shtick sessions, she politely declined. I don’t understand or enroll in that stuff either. I always thought that a business should offer something good, something they like a lot and get excited about, and skip the “market strategy.” Maybe we are just too naïve … or blissfully ignorant. We are lucky to be able to avoid that management and marketing gobbledegook. I just wish there was more emphasis on quality (and I don’t mean “quality-speak” which is just another form of marketing, but real quality!) at the conference and in the trade.

Better Packaging?
We are trying to use less Styrofoam and more recycled Kraft paper in our packaging. Although our Styrofoam is made from recycled sources and is from a CFC-free plant, I still think it is a darn nuisance. All it takes is a windy day and you can spread this ugly stuff all over your neighborhood. On the flip side, Styro protects our fragile items better than anything else, and shipping it once is the best conservation of all. But if you have a coffee-only order, we’re going to try using rumpled brown Kraft paper and see how it goes. Yes, we tried those starch peanuts but they just get crushed flat in transit. Let me know if you have any comments.

Sweet Maria’s Coffee Inc.
9 E. 2nd Ave Columbus Ohio 43201
Email: Contact us

Sweet Marias Green Coffee Offerings on 3/3/02:
This list is always superceded by the current list on our web page!

1000-Central American 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Costa Rican La Minita Tarrazu $6.80 $12.92 $30.26 $108.80

Costa Rican Tarrazu -La Pastora $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Guatemalan Antigua -La Tacita Estate $5.60 $10.64 $24.36 $86.24

Guatemalan Finca El Injerto ’01 $4.90 $9.31 $21.32 $75.46

Guatemalan Finca La Laguna Bourbon $4.70 $8.93 $20.45 $72.38

Guatemalan SHB Huehue -Finca Huixoc $4.60 $8.74 $20.01 $70.84

Mexican Oaxaca San Pablo Becafisa $4.60 $8.74 $20.01 $70.84

Nicaragua SHG Angelina Estate $4.40 $8.36 $19.14 $67.76

-South American 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Brazil Mogiani Bourbon $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Brazil Cerrado-Monte Carmelo $4.20 $7.98 $18.27 $64.68

Brazil OrganicFazenda Cachoeira $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Colombian FNC Antioquia Peaberry $5.30 $10.07 $23.06 $81.62

Colombian Caracol del Abuelo-Peaberry $5.30 $10.07 $23.06 $81.62

Colombian Mesa de los Santos $5.30 $10.07 $23.06 $81.62

Colombian Narino del Abuelo $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Colombian Santa Isabella Var.Typica $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Peru Org-FT Chanchamayo La Florida $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

1040-African- Arabian 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Burundi AA Buyendi FWS $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

Ethiopian Harar Longberry Lot 2956 $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Ethiopian Organic Limmu -Oromia $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Ethiopian Ghimbi DP ’01 $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe -Lot 957 $5.50 $10.45 $23.93 $84.70

Kenya AB Gakui Auction Lot’01 $5.70 $10.83 $24.80 $87.78

Kenya AA Auction ’01 – Lot 82 $5.30 $10.07 $23.06 $81.62

Kenya AA Kirigara Auction Lot’01 $5.50 $10.45 $23.93 $84.70

Tanzanian Southern Peaberry $4.90 $9.31 $21.32 $75.46

Tanzanian Ruvuma AAA $4.90 $9.31 $21.32 $75.46

Uganda Budadiri AA-S Specialty $4.50 $8.55 $19.58 $69.30

Yemen Mokha Ismaili (Hirazi) $7.90 $15.01 $36.74 $126.40

Yemen Mokha Raimi (Rimy) $6.90 $13.11 $30.02 $110.40

1060-Indonesian- Indian 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Indian Monsooned Malabar AA $5.50 $10.45 $23.93 $84.70

Indian Pearl Mountain Flatbean $4.50 $8.55 $19.58 $69.30

Java Govt. Estate -Jampit ’01 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Papua New Guinea Kimel AA $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

Sulawesi Toraja Gr. 1 ’01-02 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Sumatra Lake Tawar ’02 $5.40 $10.26 $23.49 $83.16

Sumatra Mandheling DP Gr.1 ’01-02 $4.75 $9.03 $20.66 $73.15

Aged Sumatra Mandheling ’98 $6.20 $11.78 $26.97 $95.48

Timor Organic Aifu ’01 $4.90 $9.31 $21.32 $75.46

1080-Islands- Blends -Etc. 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Bali Shinzan Grade 1 $5.90 $11.21 $25.67 $90.86

Hawaii Kona- Greenwell Farms ’01-02 $15.00 $28.80 $69.75 –

Jamaica Blue Mtn -Moy Hall Estate $22.90 $43.97 $106.49 –

Puerto Rican Yauco Selecto AA ’02 $10.90 $20.93 $49.60 $189.66

SM’s Moka Kadir Blend $5.80 $11.02 $25.23 $89.32

SM’s Espresso Monkey Blend $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

SM’s Classic Italian Espresso Blend $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

SM’s Decaf Espresso Blend $5.70 $10.83 $24.80 $87.78

SM’s French Roast Blend $5.50 $10.45 $23.93 $84.70

1100 -Decafs 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Brazil Santos SWP Decaf $5.40 $10.26 $23.49 $83.16

Costa Rican SHB Natural Decaf $4.70 $8.93 $20.45 $72.38

Ethiopian MC Decaf- Ghimbi $5.10 $9.69 $22.19 $78.54

Guatemala Atitlan Org-FT SWP Decaf $6.20 $11.78 $26.97 $95.48

Indonesian Komodo Blend Org SWP D $6.10 $11.59 $26.54 $93.94

Kenya MC Decaf -German Coffein $5.25 $9.98 $22.84 $80.85

Mexican Cepco Co-op Natural Decaf $4.60 $8.74 $20.01 $70.84

Mexican Chiapas Org/FT SWP Decaf $6.10 $11.59 $26.54 $93.94

Sumatra Mandheling Natural Decaf $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Sumatra Gayo Mtn. Org.SWP Decaf $5.80 $11.02 $25.23 $89.32

Premium Robustas 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Indian Monsooned Robusta AA $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Mexican Washed Robusta $3.80 $7.22 $16.53 –

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