Nov – Dec 2001: The Coffee Purist Vs. The Roast Stylist; Vietnamese Robusta: A Cruel Joke?; A Great Coffee Mill

The Coffee Purist Vs. The Roast Stylist
Roasting is a fairly straightforward act. You dump coffee in a heat chamber, it cooks, you stop the roast where you think it will taste best and that’s it. When we roast coffee we are basically cooking a dried seed, a singular ingredient, a singular and continuous cooking process.

Every professional roaster-operator knows that if you divide the roast time into 3 equal time periods, the first two stages are a good time to fill some bags and set up your next roast. In the first stage the coffee simply turns from green to yellow, absorbs heat and loses moisture in the form of steam distillation. In the second part the seed bakes to a light tan color as low temperature roast reactions occur. It’s only in the last third of the roast that needs great attention. This is the stage that begins with the first pyrolitic reaction in which the coffee actually reverses the heat process and expels heat (becomes endothermic), and cracks for the first time. In this stage the critical event is called the Maillard reaction where free amino acids, proteins and peptides react with reducing sugars and much of the volatile aromatic constituents and browning pigments are formed. The coffee becomes endothermic during a lull between cracks, and then the coffee structure fractures as Second Crack begins.

There are massive reactions between the organic compounds that have formed during the roast, and to the cellular matrix of the bean itself. Coffee is wholly transformed from the dried seed it begin the cooking process as, to the browned, enlarged “coffee bean” we have come to appreciate. But the roaster operator hasn’t done a whole lot during this time but make sure the machine was ramping up the heat the right way, or in the case of air roasters, making sure the right amount of coffee was added to the roaster and the machine is working right. Yep, it is fun to watch, but even on a roaster that takes a full 60 kilo bag per batch, minding the machine and watching is about all you really do! Yet there is so much to know about coffee that nobody ever truly masters it. From the intricacies of each coffee producing origin, to processing at the mill, to transport, to the brewing technique; roasting is but one small step in a very large endeavor.

To address this gap between to simplicity of roasting and the enormous complexity of coffee from origin to cup, there are two philosophies you might see expressed at local roasting shops in your area. On one hand there is The Stylist, a roaster who considers green coffee as an ingredient that will be transformed by the alchemy of their roaster. The Stylist will be more interested in blending that straight, single-origin roasts, and will emphasize their technique and their chosen degree of roast as a personal signature of their craft. Coffees might be given brand names rather than origin names.

On the other hand, The Purist celebrates the origin of the coffee, the cultivar, the farm and seeks a roast technique and degree of roast that does not interfere with maximizing the “origin distinctness” intrinsic in the seed. This is perhaps akin to the world of wine, where flavors in the glass are the final result of soil, weather, and varietal more than a particular human hand that claims to have created the flavors. In fact, these two approaches are probably not as distinct as portrayed here, and might exist in combination at a shop that offers branded blends and origin-specific roasts. Even Starbucks vends Full City roasts of single origin coffees at some locations!

As for Sweet Maria’s, you can day we fall into the camp of the Purist. I, Tom, certainly am. And sometimes I think we forget to be understanding towards those who like a heavier “roast taste’ in the cup, and like to play with blends because … well … it’s fun to blend! And after all, you are roasting to meet your own requirements, and to your own tastes, not ours. But maybe it is best that we emphasize the quality of the coffee over the style of the roast: our job is finding really good green coffee for you, and a blend or a dark roast has never been damaged by having the best quality green coffee as its ingredient.

Vietnamese Robusta: A Cruel Joke?
I thought it would be interesting to offer single Lbs. of the coffee that is taking over the universe: Vietnamese Robusta. It seems it would be fun to give home roasters the chance to try out some of the lowliest coffee on the market, the stuff that ends up in the cheapest pre-ground coffee blends in your supermarket. This coffee will set you back a big .75 cents per Lb. and we ask you to respect our 1 Lb. limit for your safety and for my sanity. Please do not consider our offering of this coffee as a Sweet Maria’s endorsement of this … er… crap.

A Great Coffee Mill
The new Solis Maestro mill is available and it is truly the best of all the previous Solis conical burr grinders. The internals are Swiss- and German-made, the bodywork is from Asia, and it is assembled in the U.S. by Baratza LLC. We offer the mill for $129.00, quite and investment for a grinder but I really think it is worth it! Our web page has a detailed description and pictures -Tom

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

Sweet Marias Green Coffee Offerings on 11/5/01:
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 $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

Costa Rican La Minita Tarrazu $7.10 $13.49 $31.60 $113.60

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

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

Guatemalan Org. Atitlan -La Voz FT $5.30 $10.07 $23.06 $81.62

Mexican Chiapas Org.La Alianza $4.50 $8.55 $19.58 $69.30

Mexican Org. San Augustin Loxicha $4.70 $8.93 $20.45 $72.38

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

Nicaragua Matagalpa Eugenio Lopez $4.50 $8.55 $19.58 $69.30

Nicaragua Segovia Canta Gallo Co-op $4.50 $8.55 $19.58 $69.30

Panama Boquete -Finca Maunier $5.10 $9.69 $22.19 $78.54

El Salvador – San Rafael Naranjo $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

South American 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Brazil Mogiani Bourbon $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

Brazil Organic -Blue de Brasil $4.90 $9.31 $21.32 $75.46

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

Colombian Popayan Supremo -Lot1406 $4.50 $8.55 $19.58 $69.30

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

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

African- Arabian 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Ethiopian Harar Horse – Lot1900 $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

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

Ethiopian Sidamo 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 AB Gichugu Auction Lot’01 $5.60 $10.64 $24.36 $86.24

Tanzanian AA Ruvuma Flatbean ’01 $4.70 $8.93 $20.45 $72.38

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

Yemen Mokha Mattari $7.00 $13.30 $30.45 $112.00

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

Zambian AA Isanya Estate $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 ’01 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

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

Sulawesi Toraja Gr. 1 -Lot1504 ’01 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88 $73.92

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

Sumatra Lake Tawar 18+ $5.40 $10.26 $23.49 $83.16

Sumatra Organic Gayoland ’01 FT $5.20 $9.88 $22.62 $80.08

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

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

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

Malabar Gold Espresso Blend $6.00 $11.40 $26.10 $92.40

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 Ghimbi MC Decaf $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 KVW $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 Kaapi Royale Robusta $5.00 $9.50 $21.75 $77.00

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

Java Washed Robusta $4.30 $8.17 $18.71 5 lb limit

Other 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb 20 lb

Vietnam Robusta $0.75 1 lb limit

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