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A sample of the latest shipment from St. Helena has come in, and
the the news is not good. The broker warned "it's baggy" -
but having tasted it, that was putting it nicely. The coffee is
just bad - which just goes to show that good trees, soil, and
weather, and proven ability to produce great coffee in the past
is no guarantee of even passable coffee. It is a real disappointment
considering that we were waiting on the coffee all year, since
the 60#s we received last year about this time, and had committed
to 6 bags of it. Future shipments are very iffy as we have basically
written them off, and who knows when they will be able to produce
the kind of coffee they are capable of once again. At this point
we don't have a lot of faith in their quality control. If they
will ship us old baggy coffee and think we would accept it just
to stock this limited coffee, they underestimate us. Cup quality
comes first - the rest is incidental. I will warn you away from
this coffee as, even on a small scale, you are risking similar
results. - Tom
Our Unroasted Saint Helena Offerings: Please refer to our Reference Page for definitions of terms and cupping numbers used below. Check out the Sweet Maria's Coffee Home Roasting Forum for more conversation about home roasting this and other coffees.
We are currently out of stock. The review below is provided for your reference.
St Helena is the very small island in the South Central Atlantic where Napoleon was banished to, and died. The island is just 8 miles long and 6 miles wide, but was a small but productive coffee producer owned entirely by the Dutch East India Co. until recently. Because the cost of production was so high and the shipping costs so outrageous (St Helena has only 1 boat, the RMS Saint Helena, servicing the island every every 2 weeks) the farms was left largly abandoned for decades. Only in the past 10 years has the coffee production been revitalized under the care of one David Henry, and the current output is about 4,500 lbs per year. We have the only 2 bags of this coffee in the U.S. from the '01 crop. Compare this to a small Central American estate that can produced 2 containers, or 75,000 lbs per year, and you understand that this is a very rare coffee indeed. And why else is it special? Because the seedstock used to cultivate it is pure heirloom varietal Yemen brought to the island in 1730. Mr. Henry revitalized the production with meticulous care by nursing new seedlings from the aged 100 year old trees. The coffee looks like a wet-processed Sana'ani: a light opal color, small, roundish, flat with a well-defined edge. The coffee is guaranteed by Mr. Henry to be non-certified, but 100% Organic, sustainabley grown. The cup? The acidity is bright, citrus-berry but not sour, the body is medium light (let is rest and the body really comes up), and there is a distinct spicy-pepperiness in the cup. In the finsh there are flavors ranging from cola nut to a pungent creosote and chocolate notes in the darker roasts. The brightness is very roughly similar to an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. It's a clean cup, balanced too when the coffee is allowed to rest 24-36 hours after roasting (recommended), deep. .... Its expensive! ...but for obvious reasons of high production costs. And it is unique ---there is no coffee like it!You can read more about the coffee on our additional Saint Helena Pictures page, and on the Tea & Coffee Trade Journal's cover article on Saint Helena, April '01
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We are currently out of stock. The review above is provided for your reference.
To view reviews for out of stock coffees, visit our St. Helena Coffee Archives.
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This page is authored by Thompson Owen and Sweet Maria's Coffee, Inc. and is not to be copied or reproduced without permission