May – Jun 2002: Costa Rica Comes Through, Auction Season, Panama, SCAA Annual Conference, Coffee in the Key of “Z”

Costa Rica Comes Through
I admit it … I have snubed Costa Rican coffees for the past few years, accusing them of being so perfect that they are boring. But the new crop coffees have began to arrive and I have to backpedal quite a bit.

The coffee from Hacienda La Minita, the benchmark to which all other Costas are compared, is excellent. The cup is clean with a bright fruity tang of acidity and is developing a nice Dutch chocolate roast taste at Full City stage. The La Magnolia from the Tres Rios region has body, balance, and hazelnut roast taste. Our newcomers this year will be the Santa Elena “Miel” from Tarrazu and the Dota coffee from the Santa Maria mill.

The “Miel” is a special preparation of the Tarrazu Taparto, a coffee prepared to the highest standards of European Preparation for Erna Knutsen, the Grand Dame of specialty coffee. The Miel is completely unique though … the fruity muscilage that is normally pulped or fermented off the seed at the mill is left intact, and the coffee is sun-dried for 8-10 days with this pulpy layer attached to the outer parchment layer. When properly dried, the parchment is milled off to reveal the green bean as we know it. But the fruitiness in this coffee, tinged with a bit of wine, is completely unique among the Costa Rican cup profile. The Miel is very highly recommended and is in stock.

The Dota coffee from Tarrazu is the same source that is a finalist in the Costa Rica Cup of Excellence Auction on May 21st. So cupping these samples has given me a bit of a preview of what to expect from the Auction samples, when they arrive. The cup is boldly bright with almond flavors lingering in the finish. The overall cupping number I come up with for this coffee are very high because it scores so strong in every category, especially in Fragrance and Aroma. It is not in stock yet, but I expect it to arrive in late May.

Auction Season Begins
There are a whole slew of competitive auctions coming up for coffees that were the winning lots in juried competitions. If these coffees truly represent the “best of the best” is a subjective call though. Many excellent farms do not submit coffees to competitions, and the results always show the juries bias. As a judge in the Panama competition, I can say that there is no way to set aside ones own “taste” in coffee, and the interplay between quantitative and qualitative judgement is always imperfect. For example, do you penalize a coffee for having light body if that is not in the character of a particular origin? Do you judge a coffee higher for the amount of acidity, or do you judge the quality of the acidity (if it is sharp or dull or citrusy or harsh or piquant…). So auctions represent both excellence and flaws in the coffee trade.

Costa Rica May 21, 2002

Panama May 29, 2002

Guatemala June 5, 2002

Nicaragua July 1, 2002

Brazil December, 2002

I plan to cup samples for all these auctions and, if there is something extraordinary, I will be in there scraping for them! We currently have the Brazil Auction Winner from Fazenda Vargem Grande in stock.

Panama Rocks!
I was honored to be a judge at the Panama Specialty Coffee Associations annual cupping competition in Boquete Panama this April. All in all, the coffees submitted were of incredibly high quality. As a result, I came home and put in advance orders for some of my favorites from the Auction to make sure we had the best this year. The winning coffee farm was Mama Cata, a richly balanced cup with deep winey fruitiness (with hints of black cherry). It is a farm I visited , directly across the road from the well-known Finca Lerida. The difference is that Lerida is are-planted with newer coffee varietals whereas Mama Cata is all old-stock Typica.

The fact is, any of the top 10 coffees that will be in the Panama Auction could have been my personal Number One. While juried coffee auctions is challenging and always imperfect, my experience at the competition leads me to believe it is a relevant process in the end. If you avoid seeing it as a literal numerical ordering of top coffees, and consider that it is a lot of 10 of the best coffees from farms that chose to participate, then the judging system makes sense

SCAA Annual Conference in Anaheim
By the time anyone reads this newsletter I will be walking the floors and haunting the conference rooms of the 2002 Specialty Coffee Association of America conference in Anaheim. It’s the largest meeting of the coffee trade and draws together interested parties from all continents … there’s nothing else quite like it. As I write this, the conference is a week away, but I will report on any new products that concern the home roaster on our web page and in the next Tiny Joy. -Tom 4/25/02

Coffee in the Key of “Z”
It’s been a real challenge to source really good coffees from Zimbabwe and Zambia this year. Larger brokers had only generic lots and they did not cup well. I found a new source that specialized in the region, and directly represented their own farms in the U.S …and they went out of business. I solicited samples from some farms I had stocked in the past, but that unique East African zing was missing in the cup … the coffees were okay, but just too neutral and indistinct. Then I lucked out. A couple samples showed up and they had that neo-typical cup, the slightly wild-hidey note, that we punsters call the “key of Z.” So, we are not as clever as we think but the new crop Zimbabwe AA+ Salimba and the Zambian AA Lupili are sweetly honeyed, balanced, but deliver that unique aftertaste that identifies them as great East African coffees.

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

Sweet Marias Green Coffee Offerings on 4/25/02:
This list is always superceded by the current list on our web page!

Central American 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Costa Rican Tres Rios -La Magnolia $5.10 $9.69 $22.19 $78.54

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

Costa Rican Saint Elena Tarrazu “Miel” $5.30 $10.07 $23.06 $81.62

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

Guatemalan Finca El Injerto ’02 $4.90 $9.31 $21.32 $75.46

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

Mexican Chiapas Strictly Altura ’02 $4.60 $8.74 $20.01 $70.84

Mexican Oaxaca Pluma El Olivo $4.60 $8.74 $20.01 $70.84

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

Nicaragua Organic/FT Segovia ’02 $5.10 $9.69 $22.19 $78.54

El Salvador SHG St. Adela 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 Organic – Fazenda Cachoeira $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Brazil Cooxupe Prima Qualita $4.40 $8.36 $19.14 $67.76

Brazil Auction Winner-Vargem Grande $5.40 $10.26 $23.49 $83.16

Colombian Alto Gigante Maragogype $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Colombian FNC Antioquia Peaberry $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

Colombian Org. Bucaramanga Bourbon $5.10 $9.69 $22.19 $78.54

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

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 Sidamo DP ’02 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

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

Zambian AA Lupili ’02 $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

Zimbabwe AA+ Salimba ’02 $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

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 ’02 $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 ’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 ’02 $4.75 $9.03 $20.66 $73.15

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

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

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 ’02 $15.00 $28.80 $69.75 –

Jamaica Blue Mountain -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

Decafs 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

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

Colombian MC Decaf -Narino del Abuelo $5.10 $9.69 $22.19 $78.54

Colombian CO-2 Decaf $4.70 $8.93 $20.45 $72.38

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

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

Mexican Washed Robusta $3.80 $7.22 $16.53 –

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