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2003-2004 Sweet Maria's Coffee Cupping Reviews Archive: T - Z

Tanzania 

Tanzanian AA Songea Flatbean
Country: Tanzania Grade: AA Region: Southern - Songea/Ruvuma Mark: Milimani
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: Feb 2004 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: It's good to have a little background information on Tanzanian coffees; A good Tanzanian coffee from the North can be a treat, but many lots that arrive in the U.S. never had a chance. The Northern coffees are grown near Kenya (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and bear that out in the cup: more acidity, lighter body. But the Southern district coffees from the mountains of the northeast rim of Lake Malawi are full bodied, have milder acidity, and extremely long in the aftertaste. The problem with Tanzanian Peaberry has less to do with where it is from and the original cup quality it possesses. Poor cup character is the result of poor transporation routes to port, and while at port the shipping container that is delayed from leaving the country can bake the coffee in the humid, blistering sun ...not good. So even a good Tanzanian coffee can go bad en route. The result are harsh, baggy flavors in the cup. This flatbean coffee shows none of that, and is a sweet coffee without much of the characteristic East African hidey character. What amazed me is I cupped this with a table of 17 Auction Lot Kenyas (the powerhouse E. African coffee) and it was my favorite. What struck me was this very aromatic Dutch cocoa quality in the cup, which really came out alongside some very citrusy, acidic Kenyas. It has vanilla hints, moderate brightness and a lighter body than last years crop. There are floral (rose) armoas as it cools to, and the chocolate -vanilla quality remains lively and soft (not bittersweet or harsh).
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.0
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.0
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Roast: City to Full City or more- develops intense pungency at Vienna roast. I prefer it at City + where it is a sweeter and more nuanced cup, but can definitely take a dark roast.
add 50 50 Compare to: A more delicate and subtle Kenya.
Score (Max. 100) 87.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium / clean and lively cup

Tanzanian Southern Peaberry -New 2003 Crop!
Country: Tanzania Grade: PB- Peaberry Region: Ruvuma -South -Songea Mark: Lot 3974
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: 2003 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17 Screen Varietal: Nyara Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: It's good to have a little background information on Tanzanian coffees; A good Tanzanian coffee from the North can be a treat, but many lots that arrive in the U.S. never had a chance. The Northern coffees are grown near Kenya (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and bear that out in the cup: more acidity, lighter body. But the Southern district coffees from the mountains of the northeast rim of Lake Malawi are full bodied, have milder acidity, and extremely long in the aftertaste. The problem with Tanzanian Peaberry has less to do with where it is from and the original cup quality it possesses. Poor cup character is the result of poor transporation routes to port, and while at port the shipping container that is delayed from leaving the country can bake the coffee in the humid, blistering sun ...not good. So even a good Tanzanian coffee can go bad en route. The result are harsh, baggy flavors in the cup. The Ruvumas show none of that, and this Peaberry has a great combination of strong character with balance. It has more body than the Northern peaberry, lighter acidity, a twist of East Africa wildness (part hidey, part rooty), and a long aftertaste. This 2003 lot we have now is the best Tanzanian coffee I have ever cupped! It is a deep, complex array of flavors with an apricot brandy fruitiness and almond oil finish, which turns to a sweet jasmine as the cup cools.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.0
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.0
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Roast: Full City or more- develops intense pungency at Vienna roast. Remenber that Peaberry tends to roast faster than corresponding "flat bean" coffee. It's easy to overroast the peaberry -not a bad thing since the cup turns attractively pungent. But you will miss out on some of the flavors I describe above.
add 50 50 Compare to: Kenya Peaberry we had last year, more character than current Zimbabwe samples
Score (Max. 100) 87.0

Tanzanian Southern Peaberry
Country: Tanzania Grade: PB- Peaberry Region: Ruvuma -South -Songea Mark: -
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: 01/'02 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17 Screen Varietal: Nyara Typica
        Dry Fragrance: 83 Notes: It's good to have a little background information on Tanzanian coffees; A good Tanzanian coffee from the North can be a treat, but many lots that arrive in the U.S. never had a chance. The Northern coffees are grown near Kenya (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and bear that out in the cup: more acidity, lighter body. But the Southern district coffees from the mountains of the northeast rim of Lake Malawi are full bodied, have milder acidity, and extremely long in the aftertaste. The problem with Tanzanian Peaberry has less to do with where it is from and the original cup quality it possesses. Poor cup character is the result of poor transporation routes to port, and while at port the shipping container that is delayed from leaving the country can bake the coffee in the humid, blistering sun ...not good. So even a good Tanzanian coffee can go bad en route. The result are harsh, baggy flavors in the cup. The Ruvumas show none of that, and this Peaberry has a great combination of strong character with balance. It has more body than the Northern peaberry, lighter acidity, a twist of East Africa wildness (part hidey, part rooty), and a long aftertaste.
Wet Aroma: 84
Brightness- Liveliness: 85
Body- Movement: 87
Flavor- Depth: 85 Roast: Full City or more- develops intense pungency at Vienna roast. Remenber that Peaberry tends to roast faster than corresponding "flat bean" coffee
Finish- Conclusion: 85
Score: 84.8 Compare to: Zambia, Zimbabwe or Kenya Peaberry we had last year.

Tanzanian AAA Ruvuma '02
Country: Tanzania Grade: AAA Region: Ruvuma (Southern Tanzania - Songea) Mark: None
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: 02 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen Varietal: Nyara Typica
        Dry Fragrance: 85 Notes: New 2002 crop Ruvuma has come in very nice, and I cupped them against all the available Zambian and Zimbabwe samples (including the disappointing -average cup of the Zimbabwe Pinnacle.) The Ruvuma AAA beat them all hands down, and it is also a little less wild than its mate, the Southern Peaberry. We received samples of coffees from the north and south of the country this year and the character to be very different. I think they are both uniquely outstanding. The Northern coffees are grown near Kenya and bear that out in the cup: more acidity, lighter body. But the Southern district coffees from Ruvuma are full bodied, have milder acidity, and extremely long in the aftertaste. It is milder in a way, not a powerhouse ... but an extgremely seductive cup! The aromatics are great, and theres just a bit of that East African wildness, found in good Zimbabwe, to keep things interesting. The preparation is excellent and this is a larger screen (size) seed. It has a very attractive aroma; sweet and laced with spice. In the immediate aftertaste there is a turpeny - piney flavor that is both unique and very attractive. To maximize the above qualities you will need to stay out of the second crack in roasting; a true City roast is what you want. But it also develops a very attractive, aromatic, sharply pungent roast taste in a darker roast.
Wet Aroma: 85
Brightness- Liveliness: 84
Body- Movement: 87
Flavor- Depth: 87 Roast: City: See note above about dark roast qualities
Finish- Conclusion: 84
Score: 85.8 Compare to: Lighter-acidity Kenyas, but more balance than their northern friends.

Timor 

Timor Organic/Fair Trade Maubesse
Country: East Timor Grade: 1 Region: Maubesse Mark: SKAL/FT certified co-op
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: Late Dec 2003 arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Sumatra Typica Varietal
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: After gaining political independence from Indonesia, Timor still has a long way to go ... it's a rough place. Many institutions are not self-sufficient and the economy has few bright spots. And coffee is one of them. Timor has 2 major regions producing coffee: Maubesse is higher-altitude terrain than Aifu region. I like them both. Maubesse is a little brighter so most brokers / cuppers prefer it over the Aifu, but if you selectively buy from the best lots the Aifu can be every bit as good. Early in the crop cycle the Aifu cups best, and later on the Maubesse is a little better. And of course that's why you will see us stock Aifu early in the new crop and the Maubesse later. Quality is definitely up this year, and the beautiful jade-colored green coffee is evidence of this. The cooperative mills that are the source for our Organic coffee have invested in new facilities, new wet-milling equipment, and improved standards of receiving and sorting only red, ripe cherry. This is a quintessential crowd-pleasing coffee, what I used to think of in the coffeehouse business as "good house coffee", a crowd-pleaser ...because everyone will enjoy it. It has an initial hint of its Indonesian roots, just a touch of pleasant woody-mushroomy flavor (it's a good flavor, trust me!), nested in a low-acid cup profile with a thick heavy mouthfeel. As it cools, hints of cocoa and vanilla emerge in the background. It's a good solid cup. There were a lot of nice lots to chose from this year, and I cupped them carefully, deciding on this fair trade certified lot because of it's heavier body, and subtle flavors in the aftertaste.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: City+ through Full City+: You can roast this to a true City and get a great cup with more top end flavors, but let it rest 2 days or so after roasting. It is good as a dark roast too but lacks distinction.
Add 50 50 Compare to: Java: a full-bodied, clean, low acid cup.
Score (Max. 100) 85 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium / balance

Timor WP Decaf
Country: Timor Grade: One Region: Maubesse Mark: Cooperetive Café Timor
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: Feb 2004 arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Timor Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: It's really an "up" year for Timor Maubesse - the quality is extremely high overall. I cupped quite a few lots and found a couple to be a tad better than the pack, but the difference was almost academic. This was a sister lot of the one we bought for non-decaf stock, although I didn't have the benefit of cupping it as non-decaf. But I think, judging from the results after the water process decaffeination, that it is an excellent coffee. It used to be that water decafs were generic coffees; you really couldn't verify that the source coffee was a good cup, or even specialty coffee at all! It was possible for large roasters to send their own lots to Swiss Water for decaffeination, but that was impossible for everyone else. Now we know the quality of the coffee before decaffeinating, and can expect much better results after the lot goes through this rather intense process. The cup has a medium body and a great balance between sweetness and bittersweet chocolate notes (at a Full City roast level). When you roast this you will smell a hint of the Indonesian natural coffee character; humid "forest floor" aromas. But the cup has just a pleasant hint of this, enough to add character and depth to the cup, compared to a Semi-washed Sumatra Mandheling. The cup has a suprising good bright end to it, a treble note to balance out the mid range roast flavors than are nutty at City+ to Full City. This is a cooperatively-grown coffee and was produced organically too, but it loses its certification because the Water Process plant in Mexico is not yet organic certified.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.3
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: City + or darker.
add 50 50 Compare to: Java-like cup qualities; clean but with a "forest floor" Indonesian hint in the cup
Score (Max. 100) 84.8 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium / Clean and balanced

Timor Organic/Fair Trade Maubesse
Country: East Timor Grade: One Region: Maubesse Mark: OCIA Certified Organic/ Fair Trade
Processing: Wet Process Crop: 2002-2003 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17 Screen Varietal: Timor
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: This is new crop from the Maubesse region of East Timor, co-op grown, Organic and Fair Trade certified. Timor is a tiny island between Australia and Sulawesi, unfairly annexed by Indonesia and recently liberated in a referendem. Small scale coffee farming was jump-started several years ago after the political crisis had resulted in untended coffee farms and horrible quality. It's due to a US AID grant to revitalize the rural economy and give small farmers a cash crop. This coffee support directly the organic growing association and its farmers --not the Indonesian govt. The coffee is pale like a good Java, and cups like one too, with a big body and deep but subtle spice in the flavor. And, unlike Java, theres a pleasant tad of acid to round out the cup too. Really, Timor is a rising star in Indonean coffees with 2 major regions producing coffee ... Maubesse is higher-altitude terrain than Aifu region. I like them both. Maubese is a little brighter so most brokers / cuppers prefer it over the Aifu, but if you selectively buy from the best lots the Aifu can be every bit as good. Early in the crop cycle the Aifu cups best, and later on the Maubesse is a little better. And of course that's why you will see us stock Aifu early in the new crop and the Maubesse later.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8
Body - Movement (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: Light, medium, dark ...this coffee is very versatile
add 50 50 Compare to: What a really good Java should taste like ... bears some resemblence to Papua New Guinea too in its balance, brightness, and clean taste
Score (Max. 100) 84.0

Uganda 

Uganda Organic Bugisu "Sipi Falls" -Utz Kapeh Certified
Country: Uganda Grade: HB Region: Mt. Elgon, Mbale Mark: Sipi Falls,
Organic +
Utz Kapeh
Processing: Wet Process Crop: Late April 2004 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 screen Varietal: not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: Mount Elgon lies in the Eastern reaches of the country, straddling the Uganda/Kenya border. Judging by its enormous base it is thought that Mt Elgon was once the tallest mountain in Africa. The coffee shambas extend up and down the cliff faces, making use of natural water gullies and forest cover to extract moisture from the soil. The Sipi Falls is one of the great natural features of the Elgon region where this coffee originates, with small holder farms between 1,600 and 1,900 meters. It is a steep and difficult terrain to traverse in the rainy seasons; often there are no roads, only dirt tracks which are washed away by the rains. But the Bagisu tribesmen who live on the mountain have become expert coffee farmers and have developed their own transportation methods: Donkeys! It is also woth noting that this is the only certified organic coffee from Uganda at this time, and is also Utz Kapeh certified (this is what we call "fair trade lite." For more information visit www.utzkapeh.org). This cup is so different from other East African coffees, with a full body lower acidity than neighboring coffee origins. It is also different from the standard Uganda Busigu, with a slightly lighter body and more complexity in the cup flavors. The Sipi Falls Uganda has a remarkable Jasmine Tea quality in the cup that is the dominant cup flavor. There are hints of starfruit (the yellow, Asian fruit), pear and red cherry behind the tea-like flavors, and in a way it has a black tea finish to the cup. (In a later cupping, the light roast had a strawberry flavor). The roast taste is sweeter as the coffee is in your mouth though, turning to and intensified pungent black tea flavor in the long aftertaste, after the coffee is off your palate. This cup has a rustic quality as it cools, and gains intensity too. With this aftertaste I was reminded of a dry-processed Harar without as much brightness. It's quite a cup!

 

Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / complex tea and fruit flavors
add 50 50 Roast: I had very good roasts at City+ to Full City; it takes a wide range of roasts but all the cupping notes are based on a Full City with no sign of 2nd crack.
Score (Max. 100) 85.7 Compare to: A unique E African coffee and a unique Uganda coffee, with a little less body than other Ugandas but much more interest in the complex cup flavors.

Uganda Robusta "Esco Farms" 18+ Screen
Country: Uganda Grade: 18+ screen Region:   Mark:

Esco Farms

Processing: Pulped/Wet processed Crop: december 2003 Appearance: 1 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen Varietal: Coffea Canephora -(Robusta)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: This is quite simply the most remarkable Robusta coffee I have ever tasted. I really was skeptical when the broker offered it because I have had bad experiences with Uganda Robusta samples, but he promised that this was the first Robusta he had that you could actually brew in a French Press and drink! That's a mighty claim, and so I awaited arrival of the sample for some 4 weeks since the ship was still "on the water". What came in was a wet-processed coffee that looked dry-processed with lots of silverskin attached to the outside of the seed. I roasted it aiming for Full City (add time for a Robusta -they take a tad longer to attain the target roast). Upon grinding it I was shocked to sense very sweet caramelly aromatics along with typical Robusta smells. Wet aroma was the same, a mix of usual flavors, (but mind you, none of the truly off "rubber" or "medicinal" bad Robusta smells) with sweetness and maple syrup. And the cup truly was drinkable as a French Press brew! I tried it as 100% espresso shot too but found it to be too much. Please be warned, I am NOT recommending this coffee for regular brewing. But as 10-25 percent in an espresso blend it benefits the crema, body and in this rare case, the aromatics of the cup. Since it is cuppable, I have included the numbers to the left.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 6
Body - Movement (1-5) 5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) -5 Roast: As 10-25 percent in Espresso blends. Ideally, you post-roast blend Robusta because it roasts differently than arabica coffees in your blend, but it is certainly passable to blend pre-roast and roast arabica and Robusta coffees it all together: in the trade most use the later technique,
add 50 50 Compare to: Incomparable among Robustas, in my experience. In fact, this cup reminds me quite distinctly of the notorious Kopi Luwak when brewed in a French press. Not surprising since the Luwak is comprised largely of Robusta from the samples I have tested. It also looks much like the Luwak, which sort of makes me wonder...
Score (Max. 100) 70 For Espresso - Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium to Bold / crema, pungency

Uganda AA Bugisu '04
Country: Uganda Grade: AA Region: Bugisu (also called Bugishu) Mark: Schluter Exports, Bugisu
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: Mar 2004 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Kents, Typica, Arusha
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: Uganda is right next to Kenya (the coffees are very different though), on the equator, has similar altitude and climate. The best coffees are Budadiri and Bugisu and come from the slopes of Mount Elgon in the Northeast along the Kenya border. It is grown in and around Mbale and the name Bugisu is after the people of the region, the Bagisu. These coffees are grown on small coffee farms (called Shambas) interplanted with banana and cassava trees. The coffees are pooled together from these micro-regions at small coffee drying mills. As far as the cup goes it is a deep-toned coffee with syrupy heavy body and great milk-chocolate taste. Light roasts are rooty in character, but most people prefer to take this a bit darker where the cup quality can be quite similar to Java. This year I thought the Organic lots of Bugisu lacked the brightness and light roast cup qualities I got from the non-Organic lot offered here. This really excelled at roasts ranging from a City through a Full City +. There is a moderate brightness, excellent body, fruity dark cherry-plum notes, and a undercurrent of Earl Grey tea in the background. I didn't like the real dark roasts on this coffee, which is what some people use Uganda for (as a Java substitute when Java gets really expensive). Blending with Uganda is great too since it offers body and depth. Try 50-50 Uganda-Harar or Uganda-Yemen. Roast that blend a little darker (not past Vienna though) and try it as espresso: excellent!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.1
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.9
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Roast: City to Full City for drip-infusion, or Vienna for espresso. Best origin character at City+, Full City + with just a hint of 2nd crack is awesome too: very ripe/dark fruit flavors and dark brown sugar tastes. Allow roast to rest 48 hours to allow body to develop.
add 50 50.0 Compare to: Java, Burundi ...NOT like neighboring Kenya coffees
Score (Max. 100) 85.2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium to Bold / depth and body

Uganda Organic Bugisu
Country: Uganda Grade: A Region: Bugisu Mark: Certified Organic Bugisu
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: mid-late 2003 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Kents, Typica, Arusha
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.0 Notes: Uganda is right next to Kenya (the coffees are very different though), on the equator, has similar altitude and climate. Why haven't we been enjoying this incredible coffee in the US for so many years? Trade embargoes is a problem, and a sordid political past. It takes years to rebuild an arabica crop, and this AA is some of the most wonderful coffee I have tasted from Uganda. The best coffees are Budadiri and Bugisu and come from the slopes of Mount Elgon in the Northeast along the Kenya border. They are grown on small coffee farms (called Shambas) interplanted with banana and cassava trees. The coffees are pooled together from these micro-regions at small coffee drying mills. As far as the cup goes it is a deep-toned coffee with syrupy heavy body and great milk-chocolate taste. Light roasts are rooty in character, but most people prefer to take this a bit darker where the cup quality can be quite similar to Java. The body is heavy. There's a subtle unique wild note in the flavor that I would describe as a little leathery: I know that doesn't sound appetizing but it is really quite attractive if you like intense, wild coffees. Blending with Uganda is great too since it offers body and depth. Try 50-50 Uganda-Harar or Uganda-Yemen. Roast that blend a little darker and try it as espresso: excellent!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.0
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.3
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Roast: Full City, or dark. Best origin character at Full City, but serious dark roast potential here too. Allow roast to rest 48 hours to allow body to develop.
add 50 50.0 Compare to: Java, Burundi ...NOT like neighboring Kenya coffees
Score (Max. 100) 84.1

Uganda AA Mbale Bugisu
Country: Uganda Grade: AA Region: Mbale Mark: Mbale Bugisu
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: 2003 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Kents, Typica, Arusha
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.0 Notes: Uganda is right next to Kenya (the coffees are very different though), on the equator, has similar altitude and climate. Why haven't we been enjoying this incredible coffee in the US for so many years? Trade embargoes is a problem, and a sordid political past. It takes years to rebuild an arabica crop, and this AA is some of the most wonderful coffee I have tasted from Uganda. The best coffees are Budadiri and Bugisu and come from the slopes of Mount Elgon in the Northeast along the Kenya border. They are grown on small coffee farms (called Shambas) interplanted with banana and cassava trees. The coffees are pooled together from these micro-regions at small coffee drying mills. As far as the cup goes it is a deep-toned coffee with syrupy heavy body and great milk-chocolate taste. Light roasts are rooty in character, but most people prefer to take this a bit darker where the cup quality can be quite similar to Java. The body is heavy. There's a subtle unique wild note in the flavor that I would describe as a little leathery: I know that doesn't sound appetizing but it is really quite attractive if you like intense, wild coffees. Blending with Uganda is great too since it offers body and depth. Try 50-50 Uganda-Harar or Uganda-Yemen. Roast that blend a little darker and try it as espresso: excellent!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 2.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.1
Body - Movement (1-5) 4.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Roast: Full City, or dark. Best origin character at Full City, but serious dark roast potential here too. Allow roast to rest 48 hours to allow body to develop.
add 50 50.0 Compare to: Java, Burundi ...NOT like neighboring Kenya coffees
Score (Max. 100) 83.9

Vietnam 

Vietnamese Robusta DP
Country: Vietnam Grade: Whatever Region: n/a Mark: n/a
Processing: Dry-processed Crop: 2003 Appearance: cruddy Varietal: Coffea Canefora
        Dry Fragrance: awful

Notes: We offer Vietnamese Robusta as an educational experience for our customers and ourselves. This is the coffee that has become the second largest coffee producting nation behind Brazil in a short course of 8 years, and all this crappy coffee is coming to the U.S. for use in low-grade canned coffee, and freeze-dried or spray-dried usage. You can bet you booty that any type of highly processed coffee beverage made from a powder at your local coffee boutique, such as Mochachino and Caramel Iced Frappelatte are made with Vietnamese Robusta. And all those bizarre "cappuccino machines" and truck stops... you guessed it. Institutional coffee suppliers use this for large, low quality office coffee. so give it a try, but we ask you to respect our 1 Lb. Limit, for your safety and for our reputation!

Wet Aroma: worse
Brightness- Liveliness: lacking
Body- Movement: pathetic
Flavor- Depth: fecal Roast: Robustas need a lot more roast to force them into the first and second cracks. Cracks are very hard to hear! This is partly due to the low density of the coffee since it is grown practically at sea level altitude.
Finish- Conclusion: appalling
Score: hellish Compare to: Dirt clods, cardboard, dung ... need I go on. For educational purposes only. (Or perhaps fiendish torture). Don't tell anyone you got it from us!

Yemen 

Yemen Mokha Ismaili
Country: Yemen Grade: n/a Region: Ismaili Mark: Ismaili Mokha, Sowaid
Processing: Natural Dry Processed Crop: April 2008 Arrival Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 15-16 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Yemen Seedstock
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Ismaili is a "fabled" origin. Even in Yemen, in a local market in Sana'a, the spice-tea-qishr-coffee vendor told me his green beans (much of it broken triage coffee, mixed with cardomom pods) was truly special. "It's Ismaili coffee, " he said. I didn't mention that I slept on the floor of a villagers house the night before, in the mind-boggling vertical mountains of Ismaili, a landscape etched in stone with ancient terraces lined with ghat and coffee trees. The fact is, Ismaili has been very disappointing for the last 2 years, and when it was indeed available (and was truly Ismaili at all) it had a flat jute-bag flavor to it, and little else. So when I smelled the arrival sample of this lot, the lightest of 5 roasts I did, and I had that dry-earth smell of plant roots, I wasn't to excited. But as soon as I added water the whole character of the cup changed, and (while perhaps a bit milder than Ismaili lots of 5 years ago) I felt I was experiencing the balanced spicy, herbal and rustic tones of real Ismaili. The wet aromatics have clove and allspice with a bit of ginger, while the darker roast (FC+) is very pungent and intense, with suggestions of sarsparilla and anise. Later there are some interesting sweet notes that come out, traces of butterscotch (C+) and syrupy plum wine (FC+). Ismaili are not fruity bright Yemens, and this one is true to character. At C+ roast the first flavors to emerge are spices: fresh ginger root, a zest of pepper, anise. At FC+ it's a different beast: bittersweet pungent notes, dark herbs, chai and "roastaroma tea" notes, licorice, cinnamon stick, clove, black walnut. The body seemed heavy, but I think it is actually deceptively light and perhaps it has to do with the intensity of cup flavors as it cools. The Ismaili makes great Single Origin (SO) espresso. The cup here is more rooty and earthy than the Sharasi, more pungent and extremely long in afteraste. Note that Yemeni coffees need rest after roasting. They have more aromatics at 12 hours or 24 hours, but really develop at 72+ hours of rest after roasting. This is even more true for espresso. The best espresso I had from Ismaili was a casual experiment; 1/3 of a C+ roast rested for a week (!) and 2/3 of an FC++ roast rested for 36 hours. Fantastic!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.9
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.3
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Spice notes, brooding bittersweet character. coffee flavor analysis 
add 50 50 Roast: C+ to F+ … there's a very different cup character for these two roasts (see review), and I also recommend a 50-50 blend of the two roast levels - very interesting!
Score (Max. 100) 88.2 Compare to: Ismaili is a spicey, herbal, earthy, intense cup, not as bright and fruited as some other Yemeni coffees. Highly recommended for SO espresso

Yemen Mokha Mattari - Muslot
Country: Yemen Grade: n/a Region: Bani Mattar region Mark: Muslot & Sons
Processing: Natural Dry Process Crop: November 2004 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 15-16 Screen Varietal: Yemen Heirloom Arabica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: What's a Muslot? It is a well known Yemeni coffee exporter who has delivered some very nice (and, sure, sometimes not-so-nice) lots of Yemeni coffee from Raimi, Sanani and Mattari. We have carried a couple in the past, but not as of late. You have to be choosy with Yemeni coffees because their good qualities can, on a dime, turn to defective flavors. Take earthiness for example; there are good earthy flavors - wet fresh humus - and there is dirt ... not good. There is winey fruit (good) and there is ferment (not good). So there is a certain threshold that is sometimes corssed by these "exotic" coffees, and Muslot sometimes land on the hither side of that demarcation. Anyway, I heard there was a lot coming in that was extra nice and we decided to reserve some bags ahead of arrival - good thing since it was sold out by the time it hit the port of Oakland! And it indeed cupped quite nice, and was sold out immediately. This lot has some of the good qualities we used to get from the Yemen Raimi (also called Rimy) before the quality of that source tanked. It has an abundance of fruit in the cup, with distinctive winey notes that might be a bit edgy for those who like an insrutibile clean crisp white wine but a treat for those who like a Syrah. It has a moderate amount of brightness in the cup that the Raimi lacked, and very good overall balance. And it can take a very wide range of roasts, whith less fruit but more buttery body emerging as you ge to a Vienna stage. Mattari coffees are grown in the Bani Mattar region to the west of the capital city of Sana'aa. They are probably more accurately referred to as Mtari, with Bani Matar meaning the tribe of people (Bani) from Matar, and Matar essentially meaning Rain. These coffees are considered more complex that the Sana'ani coffees, partly due to the higher growing elevation. The seeds are not so small and can be roasted in the Alpenrost or a stovetop cranking popcorn popper, although its certainly not a reason to avoid selecting it. In air roasters, I prefer to rest this coffee 48 hours to bring out body, complexity and balance. The preparation of this Mattari is good but, like all natural dry-process coffees, not perfect ... and it produces a lot of chaff during the roast which is a warning to you drum-roast people.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Winey fruit, husky
add 50 50 Roast: Full City is preferred to balance roast notes with the winey fruit and spice in the cup. Allow a day or two of resting after roast to allow the body to emerge. Yemeni coffees produce a lot of chaff in the roast process, which can affect results in air roasters, and make a mess in drum roasters.
Score (Max. 100) 86.1 Compare to: A potent cup with winey fruit, and husky natural flavors…

Yemen Mokha Haimi
Country: Yemen Grade: n/a Region: Sana'ani, Haimi Mark:  
Processing: Natural Dry Process Crop: 2003 Appearance:

1 d/300gr,
15-17 Screen

Varietal: Heirloom Yemeni
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: The coffee from the hillsides around the capital of Sanai is referred to as Sana'ani, although there are different types and a variety of cup characters. In general it is fair to say that Sana'ani coffees are lighter-bodied and perhaps fruitier than Raimi, Mattari or Ismaili (Hirazi) coffees. They are a little brighter than the Raimi, which is the other fruited Yemeni cup. While roasting the Haimi, you will notice a very unique aroma that hints at the unique nature of the resulting cup. While it is a little unclear if Haimi is a sub-region of Sanai area or the ethnic group of the people from a subregion that farm the coffee (I believe the later is true, as it is with Raimi or the Saihi type Sana'ani), it is a more sharply focused cup with greater body than other available Sanani (non-specific as to the region) that I cupped it against, but overall a "clean" cup compared to the Raimi. The Haimi starts with anise, caramel, and has a distinct "dried banana" finish to the cup when roasted light and becomes wonderfully pungent and tobaccoy taken a bit darker. I have also experienced an almost Merlot quality to the cup when I come back to it at nearly room temperature.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Roast: Yemeni coffees are natural dry-processed by the centuries-old method, usually on the roof of the farmers house in the terraced coffee-treed hillsides. Expect uneven roast colors, and lots of chaff. Do not cull out odd looking seeds since these add the character to the cup that makes it a Yemeni coffee. I prefer this coffee roasted right to second crack, then rested a full 24 hours, or more. Many like Yemeni coffees roasted darker than this, for they produce great pungency (at the cost of fruitiness).
add 50 50 Compare to: Dry-processed, natural, wild coffees! It is fruity like the Raimi, but with more clear sharpness in the cup. The cup results are highly variable, from batch to batch, from cup to cup! It's one of the great things that keeps Yemeni coffees so fascinating.
Score (Max. 100) 88

Yemen Mokha Mattari
Island Yemen Grade: n/a Island: Mattari Mark: None
Processing: Natural dry-process Crop: 2003 Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 14-16 Screen, + some brokens Varietal: Heirloom Yemeni Arabica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: At the same time the quality of the Sana'ani and Raimi (Rimy) samples seemed low, it was our good fortune to receive this really fruity, aromatic Mattari sample. Coffees called Mattari are from the Bani matar region east of the capital of Sana, grown on terraces in the rugged mountain landscape, and processed in the coffee pod (dry-processed) in the most rustic of ways. These are some of the highest-grown coffees in the world (reported altitudes of 8000 feet with the Hirazi coffees -an impossibility in other parts of the world). To me, this cup lacks a bit of the sharp notes in the Hirazi, and might be from lower altitudes of Matar (still, even the lower altitudes are high!). But what it lacks in the very top end of the cup, it makes up for in the aromatics, in the midrange, and bass notes: incense & spices, very ripe fruit, aromatic wood, new leather, and beeswax. In an odd way, this is like a neo-Raimi cup character; more like Raimi than Raimi itself. This cup is loaded with natural flavors and each cup seems slightly different, but all are truly loaded with character. Espresso: roasted to a Full City + or light Vienna (10-25 seconds into 2nd crack -from the very first sound of 2nd crack) and rested for 2-3 days, this Mattari makes the most incredibly fruited straight espresso: super-aromatic, berryish, spiced, pungent...
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Roast: Full City+. If you roast lighter, let it rest 2 days … in fact, a 2 day rest for any roast brings out a lot more body and balance in the cup. Then again, the aromas are so good that it is hard to wait that long! Warning: Will be difficult to roast in the Alpenrost drum - this coffee has very small seeds and some brokens (something we wouldn't accept from other origins, but is allowable with a wild Yemen coffee like this).
add 50 50 Compare to: Very much like the Yemen Raimi, with the sharp Ismaili notes missing but a huge mid- and bass- range.
Score (Max. 100) 87.6

Zambia 

Zambia AA Lupili -Lupili Estate
Country: Zambia Grade: AA+ Region: Northern - Muchinga Mark: Lupili Estate
Processing: Wet processed Crop: Late, Late 2003 crop Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18-19 Screen Varietal: Tanzanian and Kenya Varietals
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.0 Notes: Zambian coffees recent to the Specialty trade and perhaps yet to emerge from the long shadow cast by the East African powerhouse, Kenya. But like their cousins from Zimbabwe they can be uniquely endowed with both balance, sweetness and interesting wild notes emerging in the aromatics and aftertaste. It takes some searching and patience to find a good single-Estate Zambian though. There were some generic lots in the U.S. last year, peaberry in particular, where off flavors dominated to cup, and there was no sweetness to provide balance. The Lupili has a range of flavors within the cup, and can produce a range of cups: it can take a wide altitude of roasts and produce interesting cup character as a result. Roasted to a lighter City Roast stage (through first crack completely, stopping before any hint of 2nd Crack) the cup is lively, zested with a bit of tangerine acidity (with a bit of rind), caramelly, and having that distinct East African wild note (sage/goldenseal herbiness, a little leathery-?-) emerge in the aftertaste. And on the subject of aftertaste, it is extremely long given the balance of the cup. Candy-malty caramelly roast taste shift to bittersweet tones as you go from a City Roast to a Full City+, a few snaps into 2nd crack. The coffee is excellent in an case and invites your interpretation in terms of "degree of roast". The drum roaster (Alpenrost or the HotTop) create nice roasts of this coffee too. Espresso: I made incredible straight roast espresso with this, roasted to a light Vienna and rested 2 days.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.0
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Roast: This can take darker roasts and the wild note in the coffee will turn into a bittersweet pungency, but I like it at the lighter City stage and rested for 24 hours, where the aftertaste comes as a surprise in a balanced and somewhat sweet caramelly cup. But there is more balance and softness as the coffee nears 2nd crack.
add 50 50 Compare to: Really nice Zimbabwe, in fact this currently has more livliness in the cuo than a Zimbabwe.
Score (Max. 100) 87.6 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium to Bold / balance, wild accent notes

Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe AA Salimba Estate
Country: Zimbabwe Grade: AA Region: Chipinga Mark: APC Salimba Estate
Processing: Wet processed Crop: Late, Late '03 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: Typica "Blue Mountain", SL-28. Agaaro
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.0 Notes: The best estate Zimbabwe coffees are prized for their balance in the cup ...which might sound like it is mild, but that is not the case. Balanced coffees are a "complete cup." They have all the desirable qualities. A really good Zimbabwe has moderate acidity, rich flavors, good body and aftertaste. The problem is, there are many coffee lots sold as generic Zimbabwe which theoretically can be good but in reality are often not. (part of this is the difficulty with shipping coffee from this land-locked nation. Coffee steaming in 100 degree weather in a metal shipping container for 6 weeks while waiting for pickup is not good for cup quality!) So simply being a Zimbabwe coffee is by no means enough. That said, there are the uncertain political environment affecting agriculture and commerce now, and so good coffee from Zimbabwe is hard to come by. But we found this Salimba sample, graded for bean size at AA, and with all the good character expected of this origin. The aroma is both sweet and sharp, with a hint of the East African "wild" note in the coffee, in this case it is like an aromatic bark (wood that is, not canine). It develops excellent roast flavors at Full City, and has that smack of East African wildness, just a bit hidey, in the aftertaste. Alternating between slightly sweet-caramelly and bittersweet pungency, your choice of roast between City and Full City will accent different characters in this coffee. The numbers on the Salimba are a bit up from last years crop, with more body and more acidity (a good thing! - like a slight twist of lemon rind in the cup). If you chose a light roast interpretation, let the coffee rest a little longer before brewing - 24 hours at least. You can also make really interesting straight espresso from the Salimba, although I am sure Mr. Illy will turn in his grave at the suggestion.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1.0 Roast: City to Full City: (wide range, depending on your taste). For espresso, go 20 seconds into second crack
add 50 50 Compare to: Excellent complexity/depth and a unique origin flavors that shift greatly depending on roast... Very much an East African cup profile...
Score (Max. 100) 86.2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium / balance and pungency

Zimbabwe Salimba AA+
Country: Zimbabwe Grade: AA+ Region: Chipinga Mark: Salimba
Processing: Wet processed Crop: 02-'03 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: Caturra, Agaaro
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.0 Notes: The best estate Zimbabwe coffees are prized for their balance in the cup ...which might sound like it is mild, but that is not the case. Balanced coffees are a "complete cup." They have all the desirable qualities. A really good Zimbabwe has moderate acidity, rich flavors, good body and aftertaste. The problem is, there are many coffee lots sold as generic Zimbabwe which theoretically can be good but in reality are often not. (part of this is the difficulty with shipping coffee from this land-locked nation. Coffee steaming in 100 degree weather in a metal shipping container for 6 weeks while waiting for pickup is not good for cup quality!) So simply being a Zimbabwe coffee is by no means enough. That said, there are the uncertain political environment affecting agriculture and commerce now, and so good coffee from Zimbabwe is hard to come by. But we found this Salimba sample, graded for bean size at AA+, and with all the good character expected of this origin. Theb aroma is both sweet and sharp, with a hint of the East African "wild" note in the coffee, in this case it is like an aromatic bark (wood that is, not canine). It develops excellent roast flavors at Full City, and has that smack of East African wildness, just a bit hidey, in the aftertaste. Alternating between slightly sweet-caramelly and bittersweet pungency, your choice of roast between City and Full City will accent different characters in this coffee. The numbers on the Salimba are a bit down from last years, but as this cup cools the character really emerges. If you chose a light roast interpretation, let the coffee rest a little longer before brewing - 24 hours at least. You can also make interesting straight espresso from the Salimba, although I am sure Mr. Illy will turn in his grave at the suggestion.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.0
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 7.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1.0 Roast: City to Full City: (see review).
add 50 50 Compare to: Excellent complexity/depth and a unique origin flavors that shift greatly depending on roast...
Score (Max. 100) 84.5

Misc. 
 

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