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Guatemala San Marcos WP Decaf
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: San Marcos Mark:  
Processing: Wet-Process, then Water Process Decaf Crop: December 2006 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Catuai, Bourbon, Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: The advantage of knowing exactly what coffee goes into your decaf is great, and surprisingly rare because a lot of decafs are sold simply with an origin name, and not even a regional designation to boot. But with this Guatemalan we know the region, San Marcos, and the grade (SHB, Strictly Hard Bean). More remarkable is the cup after decaffeinating. It's really outstanding, especially in the livliness of the hight tones in the cup at City+ roast. I am astounded and a little bewildered by this: I regularly cupped the Central American coffees that had undergone the SWP process in Vancouver, Canada. They had little to no brightness of the original coffee in the cup, and since that's what Centrals are about, no brightness means no origin character (well... it means a huge part of what the Guatemalan coffee is about has been removed. Props to SWP who has made great strides forward in improving technique in the last 2 years too, and recently opened a new production line for smaller decaf batches with good results.) This is not from Swiss Water, it is from the plant that uses a non-contact water method of treatment in Mexico ... what we refer to as WP on our list since no Swiss were involved (joke, but true I am sure). Here we have a cup with remarkable brightness intact after the decaf process. And it is a non-contact, non-chemical water process decaf to boot. It has a backdrop of almond in the roast taste to balance out the cup. It is a lighter-bodied cup with short, pleasant aftertaste. This cups is lively, and the body fairly light. It has a good cirtus acidity, and finishes with a nutty sweetness. Basically it cups like a good, delicate northern Guatemala coffee.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8
Body - Movement (1-5) 2.9
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity/Bright tones at City+ roast  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ for the best of this fairly sweet, delicate cup, can take darker roasts too
Score (Max. 100) 85 Compare to: Excellent bright notes for a decaffeinated Central coffee - a lively cup.

Guatemala Huehuetenango - Finca La Providencia
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB, Strictly Hard Bean Region: San Pedro Necta, Huehuetenango Mark: Finca La Providencia (estate)
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: September 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Typica (unsure of percentages)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: Finca La Providencia is located in the Department (state) of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. That means little, since Huehue is a monstrous entity, and coffees from one sub-region can be quite distinct from another. We had bought El Injerto (actually our Cup of Excellence lot this year is the #1 Injerto) and Finca Huixoc in the past, but those are from the area of La Democracia. We had bought FTO lots from Asobagri Cooperative but those are from the Barillas area. Now it seems that the really exciting coffees I have been cupping this year are from the San Pedro Necta area, in the Chuchumatanes mountains to the north. I have fallen in love with 3 lots from the region this year, and think they have the character that was found in a Huixoc 5 years ago. And I am not new to Finca La Providencia: last year I had to bow out of a contract on this coffee when it arrived as a "good solid blender" but really lacked stand-alone character. This year is different, as can happen often in coffee when the capricious forces of local climate combine to make one crop a notch above the previous. The dry fragrance has a sweet raisiny smell, with winey fruit hints. Add water and the cup has a spicy, almost pungent note (clove, black pepper), but the dried fruit sweetness remains. The same character from the wet aroma comes through strong in the cup: dark, dried fruit, spice, sweetness. And it does not need to be roasted too much to reveal these brooding spice and fruit notes. I found that stopping the roast just after 1st crack concluded had peak balance between the fruits and the roast sweetness.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / unique fruited character, spice accents  
add 50 50 Roast: City + is where you will experience the most here, FC is nice and bittersweet too.
Score (Max. 100) 86.7 Compare to: Has character of high grown Bourbon Guatemala, although I can't verify the Bourbon content of the lot.

Guatemala Quiche - La Perla Estate
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB, Strictly Hard Bean Region: Quiche Mark: La Perla Estate
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: Oct 2006 Arrival Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Typica, Bourbon
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: La Perla is a fairly large coffee estate in Quiche, and has a rather controversial past. We offered this coffee once before, a long time ago. I "rediscovered" the coffee as a judge at the 2006 Guatemala Cup of Excellence (#4 position - but this is not the CoE lot we are offering here though), but I was unaware of what a central place the farm played in the civil unrest of the 80's in Guatemala (Quiche was at the center of the conflict). While it is tough to decide, based on the information out there online, what the facts are, the owner of the farm was basically assassinated by a Mayan woman in the course of the conflict, and the farm served as a stronghold for fighting Indian guerillas in the area. Later, as part of reconciliation, a good chunk of the farm land was given back to the community, and is now operated as an employee-owned enterprise. It makes me realize how the coffee trade, simply because it is a form of rural employment with (in the case of Guatemala) estate owners of a richer class who often live in away from the farm, it is a flash point for class conflict. It's not a comforting thing to think about while you sip coffee, but it is the reality, no matter what your opinions or politics. I will try to learn more about Quiche and La Perla, for my part. Anyway, this review is about the cup of coffee: From the start, I thought that this coffee is to Guatemala what La Minita or La Magnolia is to Costa Rica; sweet, delicate, clean, nuanced … all the classical qualities of a Central. Being "classic" doesn't make it easy to disect the flavor profile: it is one of those "coffee-flavored coffees", an inscrutabley balanced cup that can, at first, leave me pleased but without a word to explain exactly why!!! The fragrance is florally sweet, outlined with a bit of hazelnut (City+ roast) and butter. I could write and emphatic "ditto" for the wet aroma, which is unique in itself because usually there is a shift from dry aromatic qualities to wet. But it is very much "sweet, floral, nut, and soft creamy sweetness (i.e. fresh butter). Cup flavors are mild and balanced, with City roast having the softest cup flavors, floral, pecan nut, medium body, clean disappearing aftertaste with a sage herbal suggestion. It's a gentle coffee. I guess that's why I like the heavier roast on this a bit more; a hearty, thicker and sharper flavor profile emerges. There is a really nice nut/dark cocoa aspect coming on at FC-to-FC+ roast.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild (City roast) to Medium (FC roast) intensity / tangy cocoa-nut roast notes  
add 50 50 Roast: While I appreciate the sweet mild balance of the City roast, I like the roast character of the FC/FC+ roast more.
Score (Max. 100) 85.6 Compare to: Light roasts are comparable to Classic Central American coffees, clean, sweet, mild and balanced. Darker roasts have a nice cocoa bite to them.

Guatemala FTO Quiche - Maya Ixil
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB, Strictly Hard Bean Region: El Quiche Department Mark: Fair Trade and Organic Certified
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: Sept 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Typica, Pache, Caturra, Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Maya Ixil coffee cooperative is in the mountains of the tropical Ixcan region in the department of Quiche, Guatemala. It's an interesting region in Guatemala, where there are more small-holder farms than the large estate-oriented coffee cultures of Fraijanes, Antigua, or parts of Huehuetenango. And the farmers in the area are of ethnic Quiche Maya ancestry, maintaining a traditional way of life for the most part. The problem is that quality coffee requires some degree of training to avoid defects associated with old style traditional agronomy (for example, picking only ripe cherry, managing a good tree-to-hectare ratio, or avoiding the old practice of returning the mill water, laden with fermented coffee residue, to the streams.) In 1998, a group began to organize to form this coop and succeeded in gaining organic certification: It meant not only an improvement of the quality of life for the farmers, but also improvements for the environment through improved cultivation practices. Their coffee is grown under native shade trees, preserving local fruit and animal species. In 2004, Maya Ixil was certified Fair Trade coffee. Today, more than 124 Quiche Maya families represent Maya Ixil coffee cooperative and are gaining greater opportunities for business growth and community developments. The dry fragrance has a hazelnut-to-almond character at City roast, and is sweet with mild chocolate (reminds me of Ghiradelli chocolate). There's a slightly rustic side to the sweetness of the wet aroma: it smells a bit like warm gingerbread and molasses. In cupping, when I break the cup there is a rush of fruit, papaya, melon. This is a distinct coffee from our other Guatemala offering for it's milder acidity, soft milk chocolate character, and clean fruited secondary flavors. I find papaya, passion fruit, and pineapple lurking in the background on this cup, with a slightly almond tone in the City+ roast and more chocolate at Full City.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Balanced, lower toned, nuts and chocolate  
add 50 50 Roast: City + (once again) is where you will experience the most here, but I liked the more chocolaty roast taste at FC and FC+ too.
Score (Max. 100) 85.9 Compare to: Milder Central profile, not such a high-toned acidity as other Guatemala coffees. I felt like brewing this a bit strong benefited the cup.

Guatemala "Blue Quetzal" Bourbon
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB, Strictly Hard Bean Region: Chimeltenango Mark: Blue Quetzal
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: November 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: 100% Bourbon Cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: I received the sample from an importer who is the one who truly "discovered" this lot ... I did little but to immediately recognize that I had a gem of a coffee in front of me, and buy up all that I possibly could (given that I need another Guatemala offering like I need to catch the flu - we are overloaded!) I can't resist a good coffee, even when it makes no "business sense." And I can't even tell you much about the coffee since it is from small farms, and had to be combined to form a lot big enough to export (with this important distinction: the small farms were pure Bourbon cultivar, and they were cupped before combining). But it was the cup, and watching this beautiful coffee roast, that got me all worked up: I found this coffee has a very wide range of roasts that have great results, from a light City roast through Full City +. It's a very high-grown, dense seed (I think Bourbon cultivar also has greater density than other types, which greatly improve the way the coffee absorbs and distributes heat in the roast chamber). You will notice a very wrinkled surface appearance after first crack ends, and a relatively dark surface color given the degree of roast at that stage. The lighter roasts have a punctuated fruitiness to them, bright tannic grape, floral aromatics, and sweet malt syrup roast taste. I really enjoyed watching this coffee take on a bit more color, passing into the Full City range, but not into 2nd crack at all. Here there is a unique balance between chocolate and raisin sweetness, with clove spice hints, concord grape, and a floral flavor (I know, we don't eat/drink flowers for the most part, but the finish has a strong floral, almost rose-like aspect to it, like a potpourri). Anyway, as a cupper, this coffee exudes immense cup quality, as a roaster you can see that dense, tight-fisted little bean take on heat and color just beautifully, and as a guy who just likes a great cup of coffee, this is one I take home on the weekend.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / beautiful roast character and seed density, complex cup  
add 50 50 Roast: City - Full City to FC+ - I like the lighter roast too but they have a fairly rugged surface texture to the seed. This coffee really performs well with a huge range of roast, C to FC+, even light Vienna
Score (Max. 100) 88.7 Compare to: Bourbon Guatemala - classic cup profile, great complexity.

Guatemala Cup of Excellence #1 -El Injerto
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB, Strictly Hard Bean Region: Huehuetenango, La Libertad area Mark: Cup of Excellence 2006 1st place, Finca El Injerto
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: September 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: 100% Bourbon
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: This lot was prepared only from the traditional Bourbon cultivar planted at the well-known farm El Injerto. This is a farm I visited from back around 7 years ago, and whose coffee we have offered in some seasons. El Injerto means "The Graft" (aka agricultural grafting) and is owned by Arturo Aguirre Escobar, representing the third generation of his family. He has worked the farm since 1956. Most of the coffee is planted between 1500 and 2000 meters, on a farm that dedicates a huge portion of its total land to an uncut old-growth forest. I know this farm: In fact I remember offering the pure Bourbon coffee in the past, but man, it didn't cup like this. I was a judge at the 2006 Guatemala Cup of Excellence and this coffee stood out in a dramatic fashion from the other lots. The aromatics gave it away from the start: intensely sweet fragrance from the dry grounds, golden raisins, sweet malt syrup. A group of us from the US, Europe and Japan got together and decided we had to get this lot, at any price. Well, it sold for more than 4x the number 2 lot in the competition, but I still think we did well. After all, when a coffee is $30 a lb. each cup still costs well under $1 each! Anyway, lets get off the subject of home economics ... this is a special lot and deserves special attention for it's cup quality. As with other top coffees we have bought this year, we had the shipment flown out from Guatemala to our warehouse, to be assured that nothing went wrong with the transportation. And as I cup it here, it still rings all the same bells it did on the competition cupping table. I kept my roasts on the lighter side, as I always do with cupping, and is my preference for brewing too. This City roast does not have an even surface appearance, still rather wrinkly, but the fragrance is so much more lively than the FC roast I did. Wet aromatics are again intensely sweet: lightly caramelized sugars, and maple syrup on buttermilk pancakes (seriously!). When it comes to cup flavors, sweetness strikes first, but also a strong floral, jasmine flavor. The acidity is what I would call "refined", clean and well defined. There are fruits (citrus: meyer lemon), tropical fruit, some peach skins, and once again golden raisin. There's a touch of light cocoa in the finish, a bit of tea-like dryness, but for me the jasmine comes through strong. The grain sweetness I get (malt syrup too) shift to brown sugar with a little more roast (City+) and towards cocoa at Full City. I don't recommend darker than that ... this is a rare and expensive coffee; why buy it just to get roasty flavors in the cup? This entire lot represents 1 day of picking from one particular plot at El Injerto. The total lot was just 16 bags, and we secured just 1/4 of that. So the limit here is 1 lb. so we can spread this stuff around!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-to-bold intensity / Extraordinary aromatics, sweetness, complexity.  
add 50 50 Roast: City - City + (once again) is where you will experience the most here, and what the review comments are based upon
Score (Max. 100) 91.3 Compare to: Well, it’s the number 1 coffee from the CoE, what's to compare it to? It had an average score of well over 90 points from over twenty international cupping jurors.

Guatemala Antigua Peaberry "Maria Especial"
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Antigua Mark: Prepared for Sweet Maria's
Processing: Wet Process Crop: June 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, Peaberry screen Varietal: Guatemala bronze-tipped Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Another coffee we secured by special arrangement, and a Guatemala Antigua that really cups like one! As some who follow the offering carefully will know, it is not often we offer an Antigua coffee, surprising to some since you might call it the "Grandpa" of specialty coffee. To my mind, Antigua was the first region-specific coffee offered on the burgeoning Specialty Coffee market back in the '70s. It was certainly the first one consumers started asking for by name. The valley around the town of Antigua, the original capital city of Guatemala and less than an hour from the new capital Guatemala City, was ideal for coffee. It was widely planted as far back as the 1880s by mostly German immigrants, and had broad, fertile, well-draining volcanic soils since it was the watershed for the famous Agua and Fuego volcanoes. But as Antigua gained a reputation, and the price was driven up, the quality dropped, and much coffee sold as Antigua was not truly from this limited area (sometimes Acatenango, sometimes Fraijanes, sometimes from Honduras!) Because Antigua is an "old school" specialty coffee, it is an archetype of flavor, in a sense. This is what we call "classic" cup profile: clean, aromatic, balance, good bittersweet coffee flavor. That doesn't make it the most "exciting" cup in the world, by today's standards. But it is the epitome of the classic specialty coffee cup profile, and this special Peaberry lot truly has that correct Antigua character that is increasingly rare. The dry fragrance has cocoa and vanilla; add water and the wet aromatics sweeten up a bit, with noticeable caramel sweetness and hints of spiciness (cinnamon). Cup flavors are clean, balanced and (it sounds ridiculous to say) very "coffee-like," meaning archetypal coffee bittersweets. The cup flavors feature soft sweet tones and avery impressive creamy body (more so that any Antigua I have cupped in recent years). There's traces of citrus (sweet orange) in the finish and aftertaste, but I keep dwelling of the clean clear balance this cup has ... just so darn ...uh, likable! So why is this lot "Maria Especial"? Because we basically had a very good cupper (who I cannot name, sorry!) pick and choose through all of the peaberry lots coming into the respected Pastores mill in Antigua to create this coffee. Peaberry is a small percentage of the harvest, and each farm might not have enough to offer as a distinct exportable lot. So essentially our hired gun "cherry-picked" the best of the best to create a lot just for us.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Classic Antigua profile with exceptional body
add 50 50 Roast: Full City - you can get the most of the bittersweetness at the verge of 2nd crack
Score (Max. 100) 87.0 Compare to: Archetypal Antigua cup character. For this, a +1 correction!

Guatemala San Marcos -Finca Maria Elisa
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: San Marcos Mark: Finca Maria Elisa
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: June 2006 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Old-Growth
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: Finca Maria Elisa is basically an antique working farm. It is in the San Marcos region of Guatemala, very, very close to the Mexico border, and has been a family-owned farm for many years. The problem is this; as coffee prices fell several years ago, no money was available to reinvest in the farm. But a farm like this is built upon the old, sustainable model of coffee farming; old-growth Typica and Bourbon cultivars with massively thick trunks are planted under a healthy cover of shade trees. The mill is a traditional wet-process layout; everything about this farm is as one might find it 50 years ago. In other words, it is a coffee-producing system that doesn't require technological improvemnts or fertilizer/herbicidal inputs to function. It is by definition, sustainable. The problem with the lack of improvements in this farm are more of the physical nature: the out-buildings are being destroyed by termites, the walls are paper thin. When a coffee broker friend of ours tried to walk up stairs to the loft in the mill, the farm manager warned him off: you might come down in a heap of rotted , termite-holed wood. Now the farm is selling the coffee into a better market that recognizes the cup quality of this classic flavor profile, and the premium price we are paying should go for some lumber, or at least some bondo! Anyway, this is a beautiful cup: The fragrance from the dry grounds is very sweet! It is floral (much like the bloom of the coffee tree itself) and fruited. The wet fragrance shifts to a mildly chocolate aromatic base with sugar cane sweetness. Cup flavors are very mild and the aftertaste is rather short; the appeal of this cup is its fine aromatics, and delicate, clean personality. The body is light but has a creamy texture. The cup has a clean coffee cherry fruit quality and honey sweetness (orange blossom honey). This is the classic, clean, Central American cup, refined, fragile, and seductive. Don't expect flavors to leap out and clobber you over the head. Rather, this is a coffee you can approach, hold on the palate, consider, enjoy.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity/excellent sweet aromatics  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ for the best of this delicate cup
Score (Max. 100) 86.3 Compare to: Classic clean-cup Central with mild flavors and superior aromatics

Guatemala Huehue FTO -Asasapne Coop
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB, Strictly Hard Bean Region: North Huehuetenango, San Pedro Necta Mark: Asasapne Cooperative, Fair Trade and Organic Certified
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: August 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: This coffee comes from the very north of Huehuetenango state in Guatemala, near the border with Chiapas, Mexico. ASASAPNE is the name of the cooperative, (another incredibly long acronym that coffee coops are known for). The coop is comprised of growers from 10 different communities radiating out from the town of San Pedro Necta. There are 260 growers in the cooperative, with only 45 of them as certified organic at this point which means a they do not produce much Organic: 2 of the 10 communities are certified organic - Rio Ocho and Agua Blanca. These 2 areas are over 1400 meters, and all coffee from these 2 communities is Bourbon and Tipica. It might explain that, when I cupped the conventional non-organic lots vs. the organic, I found solid cup character in the former and really exceptional cup character in the organic. The aromatics are lively and floral, qualities I look for in great Huehuetenango coffees. The cup flavors are quite crisp, but not simply acidic. It is a bright coffee as al, great Guats should be, but not out of proportion with cup flavor, body, and aftertaste. There's a citric accent in the cup (tangerine, mandarin). Behind this, there's a very unique sweet cedar note, accented with vanilla bean and caramel sauce. I have trouble defining it satisfactorily; it's one of these compound flavor attributes, combined/blended tastes that are a bit difficult to separate and describe. I also get warming spice aromatics in the brewed cup as it cools (cinnamon stick, mulling spice). And the finish has a good lingering bittersweet quality. It's a surprising cup, with more complex character than a first encounter, that initial smell and sip, might indicate. As it cools the cup becomes brighter and a citrus sweetness lingers on the tongue. I find it takes a wide roast range: although the comments above are for a City+ roast I enjoyed FC and FC+ too, which were perhaps less complex but more pronouncedly tangy and bittersweet.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / delicate but complex flavors, great acidity  
add 50 50 Roast: City + (once again) is where you will experience the most complex flavors and brightness. FC and FC+ work well too.
Score (Max. 100) 87.4 Compare to: Classic bright Central, great HueHuetenango.

Guatemala Huehuetenango WP Decaf
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Huehuetenango Mark: MAM 
Processing: WP Decaf, Wet Process Crop: December 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17 screen Varietal: Typica, Caturra, Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: The advantage of knowing exactly what coffee goes into your decaf is great, and surprisingly rare because a lot of decafs are sold simply with an origin name, and not even a regional designation to boot. But with this Guatemalan we know the exact region (Huehuetenango) and cup quality prior to decaffeination, quite nice! More remarkable is the cup after decaffeinating though, because this bright, lively character survived the orderal intact. I always expect some loss in acidity and the top end of the cup flavors after the decaf process. With the lots sent to Swiss Water I expected very dramatic losses. But this new process (similar to SWP but performed in Mexico at the Cafiver facility) is proving out with good results. They call it Mountain Water Process or something, and I am refering to it simply as Water Process (WP). And it is a non-contact, non-chemical water process decaf to boot. It has a backdrop of almond in the roast taste to balance out the cup. It is a lighter-bodied cup with short, pleasant aftertaste. But it's all about the bright notes in the cup, and this one has them. Simply incredible decaf for an indirect-contact, non-chemical decaf method.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Bright, high-toned Guatemala character
add 50 50 Roast: I had very good roasts at City+ up to Full City+. Remember roast times, and roast color are different with decafs, and a normal pause between 1st and 2nd crack may not exist. The lack of chaff changes the way the coffee behaves in air roasters too.
Score (Max. 100) 84.9 Compare to: A bright Guatemalan SHB (Strictly Hard Bean) coffee

Guatemala Coban FTO Maragogype
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Sierra de las Minas, Coban Mark: Sierra de Las Minas Fair Trade, Organic
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: April 2006 Arrival Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 19+ Screen Varietal: 100% Maragogype (Elephant Bean)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: This coffee originates from the Coban state, Guatemala. This is an organic, fair trade project coffee from ForesTrade de Guatemala , who launched an organic and Fair Trade coffee project in the buffer zone of Guatemala’s Sierra de las Minas Biosphere Reserve. Our project partners with two coffee producer associations APROCOM and APODIP. APROCOM and APODIP include over 1,200 micro producers of Mayan Q’eqchi and Poqomchí ethnicities, who live in remote mountain villages within a cloud forest. ForesTrade has actively helped these farmers develop a quality coffee program, receive organic and Fair Trade certification and commercialize their product for the specialty coffee market. Prior to our presence in these communities, these farmers sold their semi-dried parchment to local middle-men at far below the market prices. The benefits of organizing a co-op are not only for more equity in selling coffee; in this case it results in shared knowledge, access to outside agronomical expertiese, and improved cup quality. This coffee is not so dynamic in the dry fragrance and wet aroma, but the cup flavors are where it's uniqueness can be sensed. This coffee has mild fruited notes, an excellent milk chocolate roast taste, soft-full body, and a one-of-a-kind smokey flavor that derives from the origin flavors of the coffee ... not from roast. And this is not some sort of ashtray smokiness, but a clean, distinct and very pleasant flavor quality. The body is notable too, more dense than most Guatemalan coffees. Together with a tangible, moderate acidity, the cup has great balance and proportion. Remember that these huge Maragogype (also spelled Maragogipe_ beans will not move as readily in a hot airstream of a home roaster as lighter, smaller coffee seeds. It is wise to back off on the batch size by 20% or so, to aid in good bean agitation and avoid scorching or tipping the beans in roasting.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity (brewed) / smokey, milk chocolate, balance
add 50 50 Roast: For brewed coffee I have best results at City + roast, but enjoyed the FC to FC+ roasts too.
Score (Max. 100) 86.7 Compare to: A unique profile among Central American coffees, higher body than most Guats, and that unique smokey note.

Guatemala Huehuetenango -La Maravilla Estate
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Huehuetenango, La Democracia area Mark: La Maravilla Estate
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: Sept 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Catuaí, Caturra, Typica y Pache
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: La Maravilla is a farm we have not carried before, but Huehuetenango is a coffee-growing region of Northern Guatemala that we can't get enough of! Huehue. is still under appreciated for the range of cup characters, usually with a more fruited profile than the Antiguas. And within Hue hue there are many subregions with distinct cup profiles. La Democracia is one of them, and that is where both El Injerto and La Maravilla are situated. When I received this sample it was more of a burden than a blessing: we had already bought all the mid-crop Guatemalans I needed for the year and I didn't want to re-roast all the Guat.s for a comparative cupping. But I did and I am glad. This cup is bright, and if that is not apparent at first, you will realize the high acidity as the cup cools. This gives it a real lively cup character, tangy and in lighter roasts the fruitiness is like barely ripe mango. Behind the brightness and fruit is an almondy nuttiness with a bit of not-too-sweet Dutch cocoa. It sounds like an odd combination of flavors but somehow it spins itself into a really cohesive taste profile. I all, this is not a sweet cup and leaves me with a chocolate aftertaste as if I had tasted unsweetened cocoa powder. (I remember what a shock it was as a kid to learn that the Hershey's cocoa powder my mom kept in the kitchen was not like like eating a package of instant cocoa, like Swiss Miss.) But despite childhood trauma, this time the unsweetened cocoa taste comes off as a good thing! This coffee is not screened for seed size as much as other Guat.s, but the presence of some small seeds should not be an issue, even in the perforated drum roasters.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.7
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 2.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-medium intensity /crisp , clean cup  
add 50 50 Roast: This can take a wide range between City + and Full City ++, a bit into 2nd crack. The character really holds up throughout the roast range, and good chocolate notes develop a bit into 2nd with some muting of the fruit and acids.
Score (Max. 100) 86.8 Compare to: A balanced Huehuetenango, crisp and clean Classic cup profile.

Guatemala Acatenango Cooperative
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Acatenango, Chimaltenango Mark: Fedecocagua, Coop Acatenango, Q-Auction lot
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: September 2005 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Catuaí, Caturra, Típica and Pache
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: Acatenango is not a name you hear often when speaking of Guatemalan coffee. Antigua, sure (overrated?) Huehuetenango, definitely (lots of great farms). Fraijanes, Atitlan, sometimes some nice lots. But Acatenango is like the little scruffy cousin not invited to the family reunion. That's unfair, because this district has great altitude (this coffee is grown at 1400-1800 meters), a deep coffee-growing tradition, volcanic soils, and the potential for greatness. Now, how many times can you say Fedecocagua in a row? Dying to know, the full name is Federación de Cooperativas Agrícolas de Productores de Café de Guatemala. Coop Acatenango is one of their member coops, and this lot was one of the 8 winning lots in the 2005 Q-Auction competition. This cooperative lot, assembled from smallholder farms in the region by Fedecocagua coop is an excellent example of that shimmering bright cup quality that distinguishes this region from the sometimes flat, overprice Antiguas. Overall, it's a lightbodied cup with a fine, prickly acidity, delicate; I found a lot of subtle flavors in this cup so don't misread all these flavor descriptors to mean high intensity. Red them as meaning "good nuances and subtleties." Okay, here's the gist: Caramel and seseme sweetness in the dry fragrance, with jasmine tea in the wet aroma; this leads into flavors of pear, hibiscus, jasmine, and sweet light syrup, passing into aftertastes of almond oil with a slight drying finish. Remember though ... mild cup, but just lots of neat flavors emerging as the cup cools.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 2.9
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity /crisp tingly acidity and subtle complexity  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ . Darker roast ruin the delicate cup qualities
Score (Max. 100) 86.8 Compare to: Unique cup character that is distinct from the adjacent Antigua region

Guatemala Antigua Peaberry "Especial"
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Antigua Mark: Prepared for Sweet Maria's
Processing: Wet Process Crop: Late June 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, Peaberry screen Varietal: Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Another coffee we secured by special arangement, and a Guatemala Antigua that really cups like one! As some who follow the offering carefully will know, it is not often we offer an Antigua coffee, surprising to some since you might call it the "Grandpa" of specialty coffee. To my mind, Antigua was the first region-specific coffee offered on the burgeoning Specialty Coffee market back in the '70s. It was certianly the first one consumers started asking for by name. The valley around the town of Antigua, the original capital city of Guatemala and less than an hour from the new capital Guatemala City, was ideal for coffee. It was widely planted as far back as the 1880s by mostly German immigrants, and had borad, fertile, well-draining volcanic soils since it was the watershed for the facmouas Agua and Fuego volcanoes. But as Antigua gained a reputation, and the price was driven up, the quality dropped, and much coffee sold as Antigua was not truly from this limited area (sometimes Acatenango, sometimes Fraijanes, sometimes from Honduras!) Because Antigua is an "old school" specialty coffee, it is an arechtype of flavor, in a sense. This is what we call "classic" cup profile: clean, aromatic, good bittersweet coffee flavor. That doesn't make it the most "exciting" cup in the world, by todays standards. But it is the epitome of the classic specialty coffee cup profile, and this special Peaberry lot truly has that correct Antigua character that is increasingly rare. The dry fragrance has cocoa vanilla, hazelnut; add water and the wet aromatics sweeten up a bit, with noticeable spiciness (clove-allspice). Cup flavors are clean, balanced and (it sounds ridiculous to say) very "coffee-like," meaning archetypal coffee bittersweets. The cup flavors feature soft chocolate tones and avery impressive buttery body (moreso that any Antigua I have cupped in recent years). There's traces of tobacco in the finish, with a bit of mint. So why is this lot "Especial"? Because we basically had a very good cupper (who I cannot nam, sorry!) pick and choose through all of the peaberry lots coming into the respected Pastores mill in Antigua to create this coffee. Peaberry is a small percentage of the harvest, and each farm might not have enough to offer as a distinct exportable lot. So essentially our hired gun "cherry-picked" the best of the best to create a lot just for us.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Classic Antigua profile with exceptional body
add 50 50 Roast: Full City - you can get the most of the bittersweetness at the verge of 2nd crack
Score (Max. 100) 87.1 Compare to: Archetypal Antigua cup character. For this, a +1 correction!

Guatemala Huehuetenango -El Injerto
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: La Libertad area, Huehuetenango Mark: Finca El Injerto
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: October 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18+ Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra, Red Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Once again Finca El Injerto has that solid, classic quality cup character this year, as it did in 2003. Injerto, in a way, reminds me of what an Antigua should be, but 9 out of 10 times is not. Injerto has really has the structure, the classic Guatemala character, the acidity, that Antigua rarely has now. Ironic that a very nice Antigua doesn't come from there ...but then again brokers are talking about fraud in the high-priced Antigua region anyway (shipping in Acatenango and Fraijanes and selling them as Antigua). A while back we stocked the 100% Bourbon coffee from Injerto, meaning that all the trees are of the coffea arabica var. bourbon that was a spontaneous mutation of the arabica species first brought to the New World. (Incidentally, it was brought by the French to Reunion Island which was then called Bourbon). The seed is small and rounded, the trees grow in a way that is great for quality but not as sun-tolerant or easy to pick as other modern hybrids. I visited the farm and had a discussed the merits of single-Varietal coffees with Sr. Aguierre, owner and agronomist at El Injerto. This year you will see about 40% Bourbon. Why? Because the coffee of mixed cultivars cupped better. plain and simple. Just as a vineyard will blend grapes grown from different parts of the farm, a coffee Finca that grows each cultivar separately can then blend the different arabica types in a controlled way to produce the best cup. I know of few farms that grow in this way ...only El Injerto, Mesa de los Santos and the Lerida Estate come to mind. The cup this year is exemplary, a solid, well-structured, shimmering bright profile ... exactly what a great Huehuetenango should be, and what El Injerto embodies when it is a good year. This is it; assertive brightness, classic balance between sweetness, acidity, and a hint of salt (seriously, it is not a bad thing!) and bittersweet ... in other words, this cup has elements of all 4 basic primary flavor groups. The roast tastes range from toasted malt at the City roast I cupped, to pralines at City+, to tangy bittersweet chocolate hints at my Full City roast. There are subtle citric hints, green herbal qualities in the finish, and aforementioned bittersweets striking the centerline of the tongue in the long aftertaste. Lighter roasts have sweet malt caramel roast taste. Given that our other solid Huehue. performer (Huixoc) was a "no-show" in terms of cup character, lordy I was thrilled to cup this great El Injerto this year! This October arrival is a late-crop arrival that was stored at the farm, in parchment , at altitude, to preserve the cup character for later in the crop year.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium intensity / Classic profile, "clean cup"
add 50 50 Roast: This can take a wide range between City + and Full City ++, a bit into 2nd crack. The character really holds up throughout the roast range, and good chocolate notes develop a bit into 2nd with some muting of the fruit and acids.
Score (Max. 100) 85.9 Compare to: Classic, well-structured Guatemala cup profile.

Guatemala SHB Huehuetenango -Tres Marias
Country: Guatemala Grade: SHB Region: Huehuetenango Mark: Tres Marias (mill mark)
Processing: Wet processed Crop: mid-April 2005 Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Catuai, Bourbon, Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Believe it or not, April is still a bit early for great single-estate, strictly hard bean (SHB) Guatemalan coffees. Sure, you can buy Guatemalans in January but you get what impatience deserves; lower grown boring coffee. We are waiting, eagerly, for Guatemala arrivals, and along comes this Tres Marias lot that was a welcome surprise. This is not a single-farm coffee. This is a mill (yes, there are 3 Marias in 3 generations in the family that owns the mill), and the quality of the cup depends on the integrity of the small-farm coffees they buy, because there's no exact traceability back to the tree. But as a cupper, if I make some ridiculous rule for myself that I will only look at coffees from a single farm, I miss out on a wonderful coffee like this. (Which again proves in coffee it is better not to insist that you know, and prepare to be wrong often). This lot has a light body, but not unpleasant at all, like a light maple syrup. It's a bright coffee, although you can moderate that with a little more roast, but that would be a shame. The fragrance/aroma is complex and sharp and sweet, with almond, spice, and chocolate. It has a a malty round sweetness in the cup with a nice lively tang. The finish is fairly short, but really clean and caramelly. This is the type of accessible, crowd-pleaser to convince the skeptics. To paraphrase, this is awesome coffee ... enough to charm a tick off a dog.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Primary Attribute: Mild-Medium / Sweet and bright
add 50 50 Roast: A versatile and durable coffee in the roaster; City through Full City +. Lighter roasts accentuate bright acidity but body is perceived as thinner - dark roasts lose fruit tastes.
Score (Max. 100) 85.6 Compare to: Classic Huehuetenango with bright acidity, floral and fruit in the aroma and cup, perhaps less complexity than the the best

Hawaii 

Hawaiian Kona - Kowali Typica XF
Country: U.S.A Grade: XF (Extra Fancy) Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau district Mark: Kowali Farm 
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: June 2006 arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 19 Screen Varietal: Kona Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a smaller, more remote Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. In 1998 the farm was recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District as the co-operator of the year for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude. This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. The body is silky, and (oh it sounds like a cliche, but I must use it) ... smooth! It really is! It has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral aromatic accent to the cup. Earlier this season, I prefered an FC roast on this coffee, but with this micro-lot I found a real "sweet spot" at City+.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Classic Kona Typica character: silky body, clean, floral brightness
Roast: C+ : I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right when the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a nice cup just a few snaps of second (FC+), but I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
add 50 50.0 Compare to: Sweet, juicy, classic Kona cup character, accented with bright floral notes. A luscious and attractive cup.
Score (Max. 100) 87.9

Hawaii Kona XF - Kealakekua Coffee Co.
Country: US, Hawaii, Kona Grade: Extra Fancy Region: South Kona Mark: KCC XF
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: June 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 19+ Screen Varietal: Kona Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Kealakekua Coffee is a farm in the neighborhood of Kowali Estate in South Kona … in fact it is the farm of Rita and Skip Cowell's son, Fred! It's a family affair in Kona coffee farming, and especially among the truly "high elevation" or "Mauka" farms. Fred's farm is even a bit higher up than Kowali Estate and has much the same soil and climate conditions. It's small (20 acres) but certainly not the smallest farm in the area. What impressed me with this late arriving lot was the sweetness and body. In the fragrance you pick up the sweetness immediately. Also, I found that I actually liked the darker roasts on this coffee (yes, in fact deviating from my City+ roast mantra!). Seriously, the FC, FC+ and even light Vienna have sweetness, balance, body ... but you still know you are drinking Kona coffee. There's a creamy body, and an interesting fresh tobacco flavor lurking in the cup. The sweetness is rather rustic, reminding me of a medium-dark malt extract syrup used on beer making. I haven't tried firing up the espresso machine to make single-farm shots from this but you can bet I will. There is incredible balance in this cup that suits SO espresso very well. There are very good milk chocolate notes that emerge at Full City, just at the verge of 2nd crack.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweetness, good body
add 50 50 Roast: Full City, Full City+ and even a light Vienna are very nice! A few snaps into 2nd was my favorite.
Score (Max. 100) 87.3 Compare to: Sweet, full-body (for Hawaii) Kona from a small, high elevation farm.

Hawaiian Kona - Kowali Farm Typica
Country: U.S.A Grade: XF and F Region: Hawaii, Big Island, Kona, Honaunau district Mark: Kowali Farm 
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: June 2006 arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-19 Screen Varietal: Kona Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Kona Coffee is grown only in the district of Kona on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. While coffee is also grown in other districts and on other islands, it does not develop the same flavors nor receive the same attention in the process as true small-farm Kona coffees. Kowali (which means Morning Glory in Hawaiian) is a smaller, more remote Kona farm with the right kind of altitude to produce exceptional Kona coffee. This coffee is grown by Skip and Rita Cowell on their 12 acre Kona farm, up an old-time coffee road winding along the steep hillsides of Honaunau in Southern Kona. It has been consistently acclaimed one of the top 10 coffees in Kona, and in fact received an honorable mention in the Kona Coffee Competition. "The funny thing about that," Rita told me, "is that I didn't enter the competition!" The Cowell farm is grown on carefully tended land, using no pesticides and 100% hand picked. In 1998 the farm was recognized by the Kona Soil and Water Conservation District as the co-operator of the year for continuing conservation practices. Skip is an expert in this area and lectures on Soil Conservation at mainland conferences. In terms of cup character, the coffee reflects the Kona heritage (this is 100% Kona Typica, which was brought from Guatemala in the '20s) and the altitude. This cup is a classic Kona in all respects, with a big, sweet flavor that somehow matches the immense blue-green appearance of the coffee seeds. The body is silky, and (oh it sounds like a cliche, but I must use it) ... smooth! It realy is! It has the brightness that is lacking in so many low-grown Hawaiian coffees, and a floral aromatic accent to the cup. We hope to receive more of this great coffee later in the season because this lot is quite small. Note: We had this coffee certified and graded before shipping into Extra Fancy and Fancy screen size, then here at the shop we blended the two in a ratio of 2 XF to 3 F. Seed size (which is all XF and F are) does NOT matter for cup quality. I cupped them separate, they are the same. In fact, somtimes F outcups XF. At the competition this year, all the top 10 coffees would grade out as F! We pay Rita the same high price for both, and we pass that on to you. Honestly, I wish they would just make a 17 to 19 screen grade and forget these meaningless size designations. Now, Kona Prime and even No.1 can sometimes have poorer preparation, more defects, and that DOES affect the cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Classic Kona Typica character: silky body, clean, floral brightness
Roast: C+ to FC: I like a lighter roast, ceasing the heat with no sign of 2nd crack on the horizon, right when the texture of the seed surface becomes smooth, even brown. You can also get a great cup just a few snaps of second. But I find it takes a longer time in most roasters to achieve this level of roast. Set the roaster at a high number and roast manually.
add 50 50.0 Compare to: Sweet, juicy, classic Kona cup character, accented with bright piney notes. A luscious and attractive cup.
Score (Max. 100) 87.9

Hawaii Kona - Mountain Thunder
Country: US Grade: Fancy Region: Hawaii, North Kona (Koloko Mauka) Mark: Mountain Thunder Farm
Processing: Semi-Washed Process (Eco-Washed) Crop: December 2005 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 screen Varietal: Kona Typica (Guatemala-derived)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Mountain Thunder is true estate coffee since it is grown and milled entirely on site by the Bateman family. This is very high altitude (well, relative to other Kona coffee farms) from the North Kona area of Koloko Mauka. This is traditional Kona cultivar Typica, which was brought to Kona between 1900 and 1920. You can learn more about Kona coffee farms and Kona cup quality by checking out my Hawaii travelogues: I have judged at the Kona Coffee Festival for the past couple years. In fact, that is where I met Trent Bateman. Trent has coordinated the competition, roasted all the samples at his facility, and milled quite a few of the top coffees. This is his own estate grown coffee, milled at his farm, meaning he (unlike 90% of Kona coffee farmers) has total control of the process. The preparation of the coffee is great, and the cup is outstanding. I find the dry fragrance to be potent and amazingly sweet; you know you are having a strong positive reaction to a coffee when it makes your mouth water as you grind it! The wet aromatic is very unique among Kona, with a clean aromatic woody quality. In the cup, the coffee is very balanced, creamy in it's mouthfeel, having a nice weight on the tongue. I would not call this an overly sweet cup, rather a classic, bittersweet island coffee profile. It reminds me of my favorite 68% cocoa content bittersweet chocolate in this repect, tangy and roasty in character even at the C+/FC roast I am evaluating. Floral hints are evident thoughout the cupping. The aftertaste is not that long (it is not with Konas) but pleasantly tangy and, once again, strikes a great balance between aromatic aspects and bittersweetness. After the roast has rested several days, I get a sweet Meyer lemon finish in the cup; very nice!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Good bittersweets and floral notes  
add 50 50 Roast: City+/FC is ideal for the cup I describe, see the description about darker roasts.
Score (Max. 100) 87.1 Compare to: Clean, bittersweet, tangy Kona with unique subtle aromas

Hawaiian Kona -Moki's Farm
Country: Hawaii, U.S. Grade: Estate Grade Mix Island: Big Island Mark:

Moki's Farm:
The Rittenhouse Family

Processing: Wet Process Crop: March 2005 Arrival Appearance: 1 d/300gr Varietal: Kona Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: Moki’s Farm is near the town of Captain Cook on the Kona coast of the island of Hawaii. At 2000 ft, is a “mauka farm”, located on the upper or mountain side of the highway that transects the Kona coffee belt. The elevation at Moki’s assures the ideal amount of rain to water the coffee and sun to ripen and later dry the coffee while volcanic soils nurtures the coffee trees and provide great drainage for the roots. It has been a small privately owned family operated coffee farm for over 100 years. Unfortunately the widower of the coffee farmer was not able to maintain the farm and during the late 1980s and 90s the farm suffered from neglect. In January of 2000, Vivian and Roger Rittenhouse purchased the farm realizing their dream to own property in Hawaii and become part of its diverse culture and economy. Because of the condition of the farm and trees at the time of purchase, the Rittenhouses made the difficult decision to remove most of the existing trees and replant. They were however, able to save approximately 50 trees that are 100 years old, to use as seedstock into the future. I became aware of this very small farm (just 2.1 acres) at the 2004 Kona Cupping Competition. It was a personal favorite, and upon returning to the mainland I contacted Roger to see if he was interested in offering us green coffee. We have been working together on shipping small lots of his coffee to California as they become "mature" (fully rested in parchment down to 12% moisture or less). It' s a bit pricey to deal with these small amounts, and ship a little at a time, but I cup each lot Roger sends and am really impressed with the consistent high quality. I guess that's why Moki's was the #2 coffee at the competition in 04, and has had honorable mentions previously, and why in each round of the competition I scored this coffee consistently high. Now, it's a Kona, it's an "island profile" coffee, it is mild; we are not talking Kenya here. But Roger's coffee is both extremely well prepared, showing care in harvest and milling of the coffee. The cup is mild, with soft, thick body and a very "round" mouthfeel. It's almost waxy in the way that walnut or macademia nut are waxy, and in fact the lipids in coffee contribute to this sensation as they do with nuts. There are spice hints in the cup, and, for a Kona, some bright sparkle of acidity here which indicates the higher elevation of the farm compared to many other Kona coffees.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: I like City+ roast, and a good 48 hour rest on this coffee. Many people like a heavier roast on Konas. Actually, a Vienna roast is a pretty neat cup and I am very impressed with the single-Estate espresso I get from a Full City+ roast of this coffee.
add 50 50 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium / Balance, subtlety
Score (Max. 100) 85.2 Compare to: Estate grade Kona from one of the higher elevation farms.

Hawaiian Kona -Purple Mountain Farm
Country: Hawaii, U.S. Grade: Extra Fancy
and Fancy
Island: Big Island Mark: Purple Mountain Farm;
The Stiles Family
Processing: Wet Process Crop: March 2005 Arrival Appearance: 1 d/300gr Varietal: Kona Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: This is a coffee that is uniquely Kona, distinct from any other coffee origin in the world. There are flavors very specific to Kona coffees grown on the handful of farms that actually have the right altitude and the right soils to grow coffee that demands the premium Kona price. The biggest problem with Hawaiian island coffee is not that these few small-farm Konas command a high price, it's that alot of poor quality coffees and non-Kona coffees are priced according to the reputation of the deserving ones. Some excellent Konas are sold directly by the mills in Kona and they can be quite good too, but they vary to a greater degree than actual farm-specific lots. Judging by the cup, Purple Mountain immediately struck me as the kind of coffee that is first tier Kona, where the coffee is clearly farmed for quality and not quantity, and the altitude is clearly there. In fact, at 2000 feet in the well-drained volcanic soils of Honaunau region of Kona, and the farm has certainly hit its stride in this their 25th year. The coffee is pesticide-free (not organic certified but all by all measures they practice organic farming), hand-picked and totally sun-dried. The farm is limited to 8 acres, and the Stiles family that own and farm it are active participants in the Kona cupping competitions. The coffee is expertly milled by the well-known Tom Greenwell of Greenwell Farms, but there can be an occasional broken bean, or partial defect bean in this coffee. Remove this before roasting for the best cup results. The cup ... The KPM has a sweet, soft flowery aroma with a hint of jasmine in some cups. The cup has nice body, a little creamy, and a clean sweet snap to the cup right off the bat. With the lighter roast (City) I prefer on this cup, the acidity is mildly tangerine, and the roast taste is malty-barley… that doesn’t sound like a great combo but it really comes off pleasant and sweet in the cup. But remember, Konas, even the best, are all low grown relative to other coffee origins, and have a very mild cup character. We offer the larger bean Extra Fancy grade (sold out as of 4/15/05) and the slightly smaller Fancy grade (but not the No.1 or Prime grades). The cup quality on the XF and F is indistiguishable! I tried to blind cup them several times and could not tell them apart, so the preference is really toward price and bean size.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: I like City+ roast, and a good 48 hour rest on this coffee. Many people like a heavier roast on this. Actually, a Vienna roast is a pretty neat cup! The larger XF grade needs a little more roast time. Its best to set the roaster at full time, then manually stop it at the degree of roast you want.
add 50 50 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium / Balance
Score (Max. 100) 84.7 Compare to: Classic, small farm Kona. This can make great single-origin espresso at a Full City roast or a bit darker!

Honduras 

Honduras Pacamara -Santa Marta Estate
Country: Honduras Grade: SHB Region:
Yoro,
Montana el Pijol Range  
Mark: Santa Marta Estate
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: August 2006 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 18-20 Screen Varietal: 100% Pacamara
(Pacas x Maragogype cross)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: I visited this farm in April this year to check out their coffee. It is run my Munir Hawat, Santa Marta was actually the winning coffee in the 2006 Honduras Cup of Excellence; it was their Pacamara that really impressed at the competition. This is not the CoE lot, and frankly it is not as well prepared as that prize winning lot, but it did originate with the same coffee. I found a small percentage of defects in the coffee, which is mostly due to the fact that the large Pacamara tends to get nicked up in the pulping machine when they take the skin off it, before wet-process fermentation. The defect count totals 2, but i found no need to cull the green coffee before roasting. This coffee really has unique Pacamara character, but it is not for those who want a more traditional, typcial "clean and sweet" Central American cup profile. The dry fragrance is unusual: there is sweetness there, herbal sweetness, and cinnamon stick, but also an alfalfa-like note (an aromatic that raises red flags when I cup some coffees). But knowing this is a Pacamara cultivar, I not only expect some unusual green herbal/vegetal aromatics, I would worry if there wasn't some oddball, exotic aromatic there. Initially the cup seems like most good Centrals: sweet, good brightness, medium body, clean finish. But as it cools you really taste the Pacamara difference; in fact this is one of the few cases in coffee where cultivar can be sensed so clearly (as with Gesha/Geisha in Panama). There are unusual herbal notes, those hinted at in the fragrance and wet aromatics. There is also a distinct roast nut flavor, creamy and a bit drying ( like good roasted peanut). The coffee has a more rustic sweetness than it does when the cup is blazing hot. And I get a very clear, sweet, clean tobacco note in the aftertaste of the cooled coffee ... not a Sumatra-like rustic tobacco, not an earthy tobacco. And yet there is something rustic about this cup as it cools; aromtaic bark, cedar, cinnamon stick, sassafras.
Like much of the coffee in Honduras, Finca Santa Marta has extensive natural shade trees over the coffee. You can see the Pacamara trees directly behind me (with some white flowers!) but you would never guess that the ridge in the background is completely planted in coffee too - it looks like natural shaded forest.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium Intensity / Crisp, clean fruits and floral elements.
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to Full City+; if your roaster has the ability to profile the roast, warm the coffee slowly and steadily to 1st crack, then slow the roast until FC, or FC+ (the verge of 2nd crack).
Score (Max. 100) 87.8 Compare to: A very refined Honduran cup profile; clean, clear, crisp.

Honduras Cup of Excellence -Nueve Posas
Country: Honduras Grade: SHB Region: Santa Marta, San Marcos, Ocotepeque Mark: Finca Nueve Posas (also sp. Pozas)
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: October 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: 80% Typica, Bourbon and 20% Caturra, Catuaí
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Some background Information about this extraordinary farm: "Nueve Posas is an old farm, established originally in 1910. The farm was originally named "Finca Santa Marta", this gave the origin of the village's name (Santa Marta), but the farm was subdivided an sold to many families. The Espinoza family renamed the land which they kept, Finca Nueve Pozas. Many of the original plants remain from 1910 and In the first quarter of 20 century, "Finca Nueve Posas" was the only job source in the area and Lencas Indigenous communities in the region. The farm took its name from 9 Posas- the nine natural pools formed by nine waterfalls which fall in succession from the top of the mountain which bounds the farm on one side. Fernando as his father did takes great pride in the natural beauty of his land and cultivate their coffee in a sustainable way in order to protect preserve the land and the ecosystem. A wide variety of native and exotic trees are used to shade the coffee trees and provide additional sources of food including avocado, liquidambar, peach, oranges, limes, tangerine, blackberry, apples and several other natives trees. Besides coffee cultivation, Finca 9 Posas offers lodging for up to 12 people, visitors are welcome to explore the natural beauty of the farm and surrounding areas. Fernando enjoy giving tours of his finca while explaining coffee production, showing off his orchid collection, visiting nearby indigenous communities, and hiking to "9 posas". Fernando Espinoza was born in San Marcos de Ocotepeque in 1954. He has been cropping coffee since he was a young boy.He did his elementary school in this small town "San Marcos Ocotepeque" located in the west of Honduras, and then he went to the San Carlos University Guatemala, Where he graduated from Industrial engineering. Besides being an active coffee producer Mr Espinoza works at the "San Marcos Ocotepeque Ecological Association " (AESMO). which was founded by himself in 1992. From the beginning and from 7 years he managed this institutions which still serves providing his knowledge and experience. In the year 2000 the Natural Resources Secretariat awarded Fernando for his environmentally friendly management system he has in his farm. The producer and his wife Nolvia Fuentes offer the farm to be used as a "Teaching and Learning Center" (CEA). Where they have given many enabling about: How Graft citrics of heights, How prune and handle of the coffee's shade, organic agriculture, conservation of soils, control of watershed, needlework, manufacture of candies, manufacture of craftsmanship and many others, offer to producers Lencas of these communities: The Armco, Cipres, Magueyal, Peña Blanca, Santa Marta, Gualen and other communities." Okay - I know that is a lot of reading for someone who might just want to select a good cup of coffee, but that just shows how each farm has a unique story behind it, and admittedly Nueve Posas is a bit more unique than others. Note mentioned: the farm is above 1500 meters (very high altitude) and is 80% Typica and Bourbon, and 20% Caturra and Catuaí.The cup: This is overall a soft, subtle, mild cup with great balance and nuance. The fragrance is nutty, almondy, with aromatics of oak, and mild fruity hints. In the cup, it is red apple, caramel sweetness, and has nutty tones in the City+ roast range. I was really impressed with the body, not only it's creamy mouthfeel but the way that harmonized with nutty cup flavors. The finish is sweet, mild, and has that same apple suggestion to it. It is a classic Central cup profile, clean, mild, sweet, grown with classic cultivars of Typica and Bourbon on old-growth trees. It's a nice cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild to Medium intensity / Balance, Sweetness, Subtle complexity.  
Fernando Espinoza and familia
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City
Score (Max. 100) 86.4 Compare to: Mild, classic Central cup character with caramel sweetness.

Honduras Cup of Excellence -El Mirador
Country: Honduras Grade: SHB Region: Los Puercos Mtn, Jacaleapa, El Paraíso Mark: Finca El Mirador
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: October 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-19+ Screen Varietal: Catuaí, Lempira, Pacamara and IHCAFE 90
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: This was a unique lot in the 2005 competition, one that every judge did not appreciate but some really liked. We split this lot with several companies (as you can see, it was submitted to www.coffeereview.com by both Terroir Coffee and Stumptown and did really well, for what that's worth). I was attracted to this cup because it is essentially a balanced blend that includes that unique, large-bean cultivar Pacamara, and that comes through in unique aromatics and aftertaste attributes. Then again, it also has Catimor (IHCAFE 90), so don't let any coffee-know-it-all tell you you can't possibly get good results from Catimor (okay, I hate Catimor too and don't want to see it used by farmers, but it can be blended in and have good results like this). Some farm background from the marketing wizards: "The name "El Mirador" comes from the name of the farm in which this rich bean is produced. Cultivated at 1,300 meters, this land offers impressive views of mountains and valleys in its surroundings giving to all its visitors the sense that they are one step away from Heaven. Established in 1991 by Jorge Alberto Lanza Ordoñez it has been the home to a substantial quantity of workers that dedicate their everyday labor on taking care and preparing with optimal conditions and resources for the annual harvest which is between the months of january and march. Once the period of harvest comes, the number of workers grow and dedicate the whole season on carefully hand picking each mature coffee grain from the trees. Quality Practices: Mr. Ordoñez has a unique was for processing his coffee, at the wet mill he monitors the time and the way each step is done in order to get the best out of each coffee grain. His well trained people just picks the mature fruits. The pulping process is done with care and the washing in fermentation tanks. After, the coffee is passed through the selection canal in which high and medium quality grains are classified. The dry process is done by distributing the coffee over mesh grill infrastructure, cement platforms and other solar dryers. Storage conditions are optimal, temperature is constantly monitored and the packing bags are new and made of nylon." Okay, about 10% of that is relevant to the coffee. This is an interesting cup, unique from other Honduran coffees, but the coffeereview scores of 91 are , well ... you decide. Here's the scoop: this coffee is very sensitive to the roast treatment. A City + roast in an air roaster will be very lemony and a bit sourish, but quite bracing and crisp. I get better roast results in an air roast system at FC or FC+, where the cup character has considerable depth, winey fruit, berry, and in the long aftertaste, a lingering ripe peach note. I like the drum roasts at FC, which good complexity, black walnut in the roast taste, deep berry notes. In any case, I feel this coffee lacks mouthfeel - my cupping form was blank in the Body/Mouthfeel category. Still, the Cup of Excellence judges (I was not there this year) screwed up by placing this coffee at #30. It's certainly has character that ranks it at least #19, or maybe #21. I jest, a bit. Coffees with character, unusual coffees, don't do well with some of the CoE judges. But it's not them roasting and enjoying the cup, it is you - so the rank in a CoE competition is means very little. What is more significant is that here is a small farmers best effort to produce the best cup his little piece of land is capable of, and with the El Mirador, I think it's pretty damn good. Hopefully, you find some neat cup qualities here too, and if your first roast of this lot does not impress, try a different approach.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 2.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.0
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild body, Medium intensity / Unique atypical cup character, very "roast sensitive"  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City. See the notes above. This coffee is very sensitive to the degree of roast and the method of roast (air vs drum, etc)
Score (Max. 100) 86.9 Compare to: Atypical Honduran cup due primarily to unusual mix of cultivars

India 
India Organic Washed Robusta (Parchment Robusta)
Country: India Grade: Parchment Robusta Region: Mysore Mark: Poabs Exports, Skal Cert. Organic
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: October 2006 Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen Varietal: SL-274
Dry Fragrance (1-5) n/a Notes: I was very impressed with the appearance of this expertly prepped robusta when the sample arrived, but it is how it works in an espresso that sold me on it. Really high quality robusta is actually quite difficult to obtain. It is hard to get a processor to put the same care into a robusta as they do with top arabica coffees, because in most cases robusta is grown for the cheap commercial market. Why grow it with care? Why process it in a wet mill to exacting standards? Why hand-sort it like arabica coffees? Well, for one reason only: high quality traditional espresso blends. But that represents a very small amount of the demand for robusta, and a very small part of the coffee market. I tried this out in our blends, roasted at a variety of levels and roast times. What I get is the positive attributes of robusta (a volume increase in crema, a rich crema color, a good "bite" to the cup flavor, improved "resolution" of the coffee flavor in cappuccino) without the off flavors (rubber, medicine, etc) of bad robusta. In fact, it enhances a tangy chocolate quality in the cup. But it must be used with care, discretely at 15% or less, and requires a longer rest time after roasting. I like espresso rested for 48 hours or more, and find an unpleasant tingly baking powder effect in under-rested espresso. This is a fully wet-processed robusta, which in the India market is called "Parchment Robusta" as opposed to dry-process robusta which is called "Cherry Robusta". It also happens to be SKAL Organic certified, which is pretty cool since that guarantees it doesn't get fumigated with methyl bromide! (boo) By the way, "washed" is synonymous with "wet processed".
Wet Aroma (1-5) n/a
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) n/a
Flavor - Depth (1-10) n/a
Body - Movement (1-5) n/a
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) n/a
Cupper's Correction (1-5) n/a Roast: This depends on your blend, but I would say that robustas need a minimum of Full City ++ meaning the coffee has audibly reached 2nd crack, and I prefer 465 probed bean temperature (external) which is a Vienna stage. See notes on resting the coffee post roast, above.
add 50 n/a Compare to: Premium robustas that are picked and prepared to the same standards as high quality Arabicas, for use in espresso blends only! Not for straight roasts!
Score (Max. 100) n/a For Espresso - Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium / Clean taste attributes, crema Scoring Note: I don't score robusta by traditional point methods since I evaluate it only as a blend component.

India Dewan Estate Kohinoor AA
Country: India Grade: Kohinoor Plantation AA Region: Karnataka State Mark: Dewan Estate
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: Jan 2006 Arrival Appearance: .1 d/300gr, 18+ Screen Varietal:
not known  
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Dewan Estate is an estate we haven't worked with before, but since the Pearl Mountain Estate is scarce we started looking around. As soon asI cupped this coffee I knew it was the one for us. This coffee has such a soft, mild, balanced cup - the overall "flavor portrait" it paints is so pleasing. At a Full City roast the cup has a nutty (almond) and cocoa fragrance, and the wet aroma has slight fruit hints (cherry). In the cup it is the silky body, paired so well with mild milk chocolate and nut, very slight winey notes, as well as spice (mild pepper). It finishes with Dutch cocoa, and suggestions of the previously mentioned winey note, and pepper. It's a hushed coffee, a quiet coffee, with low acidity and no sharp edges to the cup. Oftentimes, this would just add up to a boring cup character, but with this lot of Dewan Estate it all works together, very harmoniously. I went for a lighter City roast and enjoyed some Mango-like fruited notes, but the cup did not taste "fully developed"; the roast-taste was sorta baked in flavor, grainy. The FC roast had this creamy-cocoa-nutty cup, and the winey tone reminded me of some really good chocolates that will have a muted winey fruitiness.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Balance, low-acidity  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to Full City +; see the review above
Score (Max. 100) 86.9 Compare to: Perhaps similar to wet-processed in mildness Java, but perhaps more balanced.

Indian Robusta AA - Sethuraman Estate
Country: India Grade: Sitara Grade, AA Region: Karnataka State Mark: Sethurman Estate
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: January 2006 arrival Appearance: .1 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: SL-274
Dry Fragrance (1-5) n/a

Notes: This lot of single-origin, wet-processed, Estate-grown is designated as Sitara AA: Sitara (meaning bright star) is the top level of the Robusta harvest, surpassing the Kaapi Royale. We didn't buy it for the grade, we bought it because it outcupped all the robustas on the table. In fact, it outcupped all the robusta samples I have seen in 8 months! I appreciate a note in this coffee that has an almost maple-syrup sweetness, and no off flavors associated with typical or even specialty grade robusta. For me, Robusta needs to do it's job in a blend, not detract from the arabicas, and actually add some positive flavor attribute. While the aromatics from this cup are low (as with all robustas) I still detect a definite sweetness there, very rare aromatic quality in canephora coffees!. The preparation is outstanding and the roast is very even. I would keep Robusta below 15% in an espresso blend but because of the quality of this robusta, you can go up to 25% before it starts to overtake to cup too much. Robustas have less aroma that arabicas, but this lot actually has a nice, dark, mildly sweet note to it. The aftertaste is extremely long and persistent, turning pungent in the finish as would a bittersweet chocolate.

Wet Aroma (1-5) n/a
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) n/a
Flavor - Depth (1-10) n/a
Body - Movement (1-5) n/a
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) n/a
Cupper's Correction (1-5) n/a Roast: This depends on your blend, but I would say that robustas need a minimum of Full City ++ meaning the coffee has audibly reached 2nd crack, and I prefer 460 probed bean temperature (external) which is a Vienna stage. See notes on resting the coffee post roast, above.
add 50 n/a Compare to: Premium robustas that are picked and prepared to the same standards as high quality Arabicas, for use in espresso blends only! Not for straight roasts! SCORING NOTE: I don't score robusta coffees (the scoring system is made for arabicas)
Score (Max. 100) n/a For Espresso - Intensity/Prime Attribute: BOLD / Crema, bittersweet pungent flavors

India Matadakad Estate Peaberry
Country: India Grade: Matadakad Plantation PB Region: Karnataka State Mark: Matadakad Estate
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: Jan 2006 Arrival Appearance: .1 d/300gr, 18+ Screen Varietal:
not known  
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: I admit, I have trouble with this name - I just can't read it correctly … ironically even the importer was writing Mattakad on all the samples. What's wrong with me? Matadakad. Matadakad. Matadakad. Oh well, I felt the same way trying to remember the names of beaches and bays in Kona. The cup is mild, balanced, low acid, but not at all dull. It has some very interesting nuances in it, starting with a sweetly nutty dry fragrance, and a wet aromatic I can only describe as miso! The cup has a strong dry-roasted almond. I was trying to ask myself whether this was a "sweet coffee" or not, and oddly it seems not to be in the aromatics, then it is in the cup, then in the long aftertaste it has a very unusual unsweet herbal quality. In fact, herbal flavots of sage and rosemary are all over this cup. Although the acidity is low, there is a spiciness in the cup that gives it some punctuation. This adds up to a mild cup, but one that is funky too, perhaps more Indonesian in cup character than other Indian coffees.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Low-acidity, unusual cup flavors  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to Full City +; I roasted it light (City) and enjoyed a dry-peanut quality but preferred the FC or FC + roasts. At FC + it becomes an interesting single origin espresso too with toffee and cherry notes, and great aroma.
Score (Max. 100) 85.1 Compare to: Indian character leaning toward Indonesian funkiness though.

Indian Robusta -Belmany Devaracadoo Estate
Country: India Grade: Kaapi Royale Robusta Region: Coorg Mark: Tata Exports, Belmany Devaracadoo Estate
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: January 2005 arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: SL-274
Dry Fragrance (1-5) n/a

Notes: This lot of single-origin, wet-processed, Estate-grown robusta is the result of a new initiative by the India Coffee Board to identify and promote great coffee estates. Coffee author Ken David's did a lot of the work to travel and cup these lots, but they were already distibuished by winning top places in the 2004 Flavor of India Fine Cup competition. An estate robusta like this is totally unlike a comodity-grade robusta: they are hand-picked, wet-processed and sun-dried, like many good arabica coffees. They are also carefully prepared to remove defective beans and grown at high altitudes and in sustainable environments, usually intercropped with fruit, pepper and other spices.

This lot is from the Belmany Devaracadoo Estate in the Coorg state of southern India. The average growing altitude is 3000 feet, and it is the product of heirloom 60 year old trees! This is the highest robusta grade for screen size and preparation: Kaapi Royale. In addition to the typical wet-processing and sun-drying, this lot uses the newer demucilage instead of pulping the skin off the coffee, followed by traditional fermentation. In your espresso blend, used between 10-25%, this coffee adds volumes to the crema, and an aggressive, pungent dark chocolate note. Usually I would keep Robusta below 15% in an espresso blend but because of the quality of this robusta, you can go up to 25% before it starts to overtake to cup too much. Robustas have less aroma that arabicas, but this lot actually has a ncie, dark, mildly sweet note to it. The aftertaste is extremely long and persistent

Wet Aroma (1-5) n/a
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) n/a
Flavor - Depth (1-10) n/a
Body - Movement (1-5) n/a
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) n/a
Cupper's Correction (1-5) n/a Roast: This depends on your blend, but I would say that robustas need a minimum of Full City ++ meaning the coffee has audibly reached 2nd crack, and I prefer 460 probed bean temperature (external) which is a Vienna stage. See notes on resting the coffee post roast, above.
add 50 n/a Compare to: Premium robustas that are picked and prepared to the same standards as high quality Arabicas, for use in espresso blends only! Not for straight roasts! SCORING NOTE: While I don't score robusta coffees (the scoring system is made for arabicas), Ken Davids scored this as 90 on the his modified Robusta Scale form.
Score (Max. 100) n/a For Espresso - Intensity/Prime Attribute: BOLD / Crema, bittersweet pungent flavors

Indian Robusta -Cannoncadoo Estate
Country: India Grade: Parchment Robusta Region: Coorg Mark: Tata Exports, Cannoncadoo Estate
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: January 2005 arrival Appearance: .3 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen Varietal: SL-274
Dry Fragrance (1-5) n/a

Notes: This lot of single-origin, wet-processed, Estate-grown robusta is the result of a new initiative by the India Coffee Board to identify and promote great coffee estates. Coffee author Ken David's did a lot of the work to travel and cup these lots, but they were already distibuished by winning top places in the 2004 Flavor of India Fine Cup competition. An estate robusta like this is totally unlike a comodity-grade robusta: they are hand-picked, wet-processed and sun-dried, like many good arabica coffees. They are also carefully prepared to remove defective beans and grown at high altitudes and in sustainable environments, usually intercropped with fruit, pepper and other spices.

This lot is from the Cannoncadoo Estate and was judged the Best Robusta from the Coorg State in the India Fine Cup competition in 2004. The farm is situated at 3,770 feet and processed using the traditional wet-process methods used on many arabica coffees. I would use this in an espresso blend between 10-25% (more than I would normally put, but this is an exceptional robusta). This coffee, like other robusta, adds rich-colored crema to the espresso cup, but also has great flavor attributes that you will not find in common arabicas; it actually has a very sharp chocolate aroma with sweet hints, and a dark-roasted nut character that reflects the level of roast you choose (I prefered 455-460 probed bean temp, a light Vienna roast of Full City ++). The aftertaste is extremely long and very attractive, with jsut the slightest bittering at the end. It has a very thick, full mouthfeel and the aroma has a maple wood suggestion in it.

Wet Aroma (1-5) n/a
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) n/a
Flavor - Depth (1-10) n/a
Body - Movement (1-5) n/a
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) n/a
Cupper's Correction (1-5) n/a Roast: This depends on your blend, but I would say that robustas need a minimum of Full City ++ meaning the coffee has audibly reached 2nd crack, and I prefer 455-460 probed bean temperature (external) which is a Vienna stage roughly. See notes on resting the coffee post roast, above.
add 50 n/a Compare to: Premium robustas that are picked and prepared to the same standards as high quality Arabicas, for use in espresso blends only! Not for straight roasts! SCORING NOTE: While I don't score robusta coffees (the scoring system is made for arabicas), Ken Davids scored this as 91 on the his modified Robusta Scale form.
Score (Max. 100) n/a For Espresso - Intensity/Prime Attribute: BOLD / Crema, chocolate and dark-roasted nuttiness

Indian AA Monsooned Malabar
Country:
India
Grade:
AA
Region:
Malabar
Mark:
Monsooned, Coehlo's Gold, Silver Cloud Estate
Processing:
Wet-processed and Monsooned
Crop:
January 2005 Arrival
Appearance:
1d/300gr
18-20 scr
Varietal:
arabica Kents


Plantation House
at Silver Cloud Farm

Frag/Aroma:
82/83
Notes: Monsooned coffees are stored in special warehouses until the Monsoon season comes around. The sides of the structure are opened and moist monsoon winds circulate around the coffee making it swell in size and take on a mellowed but aggressive, musty flavor. Our source for Monsooned Malabar is the Coehlo's Gold brand from the Silver Cloud Estate. Silver Cloud Estate was founded in 1950 by Gregory Joseph Coelho, the scion of an illustrious family of planters - whose coffee growing traditions, date back to the early part of the 20th century. In thier monsooning process, arabica coffee is spread on the floor of the special monsooning warehouse in Mangalore, raked and turned around by hand to enable them to soak in moisture of the humid winds. The monsooning process takes around 12 to 16 months of duration, where in the beans swell to twice their original size and turn into pale golden colour.Then there are additional hand-sortings to remove any coffee that did not expand properly, and the coffee is prepared for export. This is an extremely earthy, musty, pungent cup with a unique combination of caramelly finish and potent flavors. It is not for those who like a "clean" cup, or sweet coffees! It has some use in espresso blending with a preparation of longer drum roasting and resting (after roasting) of 3+ days. There are Italian espresso roasting companies that use this coffee in their "exotic" blend offering, along with 2-3 other non-monsooned arabicas to even out the cup and provide aroma and some sweetness ... for example Cafes Trottet. Even as a drip/infusion brew, the coffee mellows after 2 days and the cup is more balanced so resting is key to best cup results. A note: I cupped a lot of Monsooned coffees (and in fact, quite a few different lots of Coehlo's Gold) to find this particular lot. There are some VERY nasty lots of Monsooned Indian Malabar out there - I really think this represents the true cup, what it really should be... -Tom
Acidity:
78
Body:
87
Flavor:
85
Aftertaste:
86
Roast: City if you dare, Full City for maximum drinkability, and no darker or you lose the funk.
Overall:
83.5
Compare to: Liquor of the gods or sewer water, depending on who you ask. I love it, and think everyone should try it!.
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold / musty, pungency, body

Indian Organic Washed Robusta (Parchment Robusta)
Country: India Grade: Parchment Robusta Region: Mysore Mark: Poabs Exports, Skal Cert. Organic
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: Late 2003 arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen Varietal: SL-274
Dry Fragrance (1-5) n/a Notes: I was very impressed with the appearance of this expertly prepped robusta when the sample arrived, but it is how it works in an espresso that sold me on it. Really high quality robusta is actually quite difficult to obtain. It is hard to get a processor to put the same care into a robusta as they do with top arabica coffees, because in most cases robusta is grown for the cheap commercial market. Why grow it with care? Why process it in a wet mill to exacting standards? Why hand-sort it like arabica coffees? Well, for one reason only: high quality traditional espresso blends. But that represents a very small amount of the demand for robusta, and a very small part of the coffee market. I tried this out in our blends, roasted at a variety of levels and roast times. What I get is the positive attributes of robusta (a volume increase in crema, a rich crema color, a good "bite" to the cup flavor, improved "resolution" of the coffee flavor in cappuccino) without the off flavors (rubber, medicine, etc) of bad robusta. In fact, it enhances a tangy chocolate quality in the cup. But it must be used with care, discretely at 15% or less, and requires a longer rest time after roasting. I like espresso rested for 48 hours or more, and find an unpleasant tingly baking powder effect in under-rested espresso. This is a fully wet-processed robusta, which in the India market is called "Parchment Robusta" as opposed to dry-process robusta which is called "Cherry Robusta". It also happens to be SKAL Organic certified, which is pretty cool.
Wet Aroma (1-5) n/a
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) n/a
Flavor - Depth (1-10) n/a
Body - Movement (1-5) n/a
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) n/a
Cupper's Correction (1-5) n/a Roast: This depends on your blend, but I would say that robustas need a minimum of Full City ++ meaning the coffee has audibly reached 2nd crack, and I prefer 465 probed bean temperature (external) which is a Vienna stage. See notes on resting the coffee post roast, above.
add 50 n/a Compare to: Premium robustas that are picked and prepared to the same standards as high quality Arabicas, for use in espresso blends only! Not for straight roasts!
Score (Max. 100) n/a For Espresso - Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium / Clean taste attributes, crema

Indonesia (for each specific island, see that section e.g. Sumatra, Sulawesi, Timor, etc.)   

Indonesia Flores -Bajawa Highlands
Country: Indonesia Grade: Estate Island: Flores, Bajawa region Mark: None
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: Late January 2006 Arrival Appearance: 1.6 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Sumatra Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: Flores is a small island (360 km from tip to tip) in the Indonesian archipelago around 200 nautical miles East of Bali. Flores was known as Pulau Nipa (Snake Island) before the Portuguese arrived and they renamed it Flores (Flower Island). A very long thin Mountainous land with incredibly diverse terrain, and numerous active and inactive volcanic peaks. The Bajawa Highlands are one of the most traditional areas of Flores. Bajawa is a small town nestled in the hills and is the centre for the Ngada people of this high, fertile plateau. The coffee is grown between 1150 and 1400 meters, which is actually quite respectable altitude for Indonesian coffee farming. This is not the first time I have cupped coffee from Flores, but it is the first time I found it so (appropriately) floral, clean in the cup, and pleasantly akin to a good Timor or Papua New Guinea wet-processed coffee. It's not easy to get smallholder farms in remote areas to process coffee carefully; the results from these hinterland growing regions usually reflect this. But here we can really taste the character of the area without defect. The dry fragrance is mildly floral and has a foresty note to it, suggesting it's Indonesian origin. There are pleasant fresh woody notes wet aroma, and that comes through in the cup, but more like a good East Timor than like a funky, earthy Sumatra. The body seemed light after 24 hours rest but was much heavier after an additional 24. Both in the body and aftertaste, this coffee has a syrupy sweetness. It is not overly complex, which is why Timor and Java come to mind ... but much more balanced than the later with a good range from bass to treble in the cup. I am warming up the espresso machine to try shots on an FC+ roast, which I think are going to be outstanding unblended with other coffees ...
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Balance, body  
add 50 50 Roast: My review notes are based on a City+ and Full City roast, and yes, the FC+ single-origin espresso worked out great; very floral and aromatic!
Score (Max. 100) 85.7 Compare to: A cross between other wet-processed Indonesian, with hints of Timor, Java and PNG.

Java 

Java WP Decaf
Country: Indonesia Grade: One Region: East Java Mark: Private Estate: Prince
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: March 2006 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Typica (Sumatra), Catuai, Catimor
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 2.8 Notes: This is the Water Process Decaf lot of the same coffee we carry in "regular" non-decaf, that is, the Java Prince. Private Estate Java farms are supposed to be inferior to the 4 Government Estate plantations. They are supposedly lower-grown, not processed or prepared as well, for those who want to save a few pennies. But I received this sample and was impressed with the beautiful appearance of the green (I know, "eye-cupping" is not encouraged) and later by the cup. First thing to note here is it is still NOT an Indonesian ala Sumatra or Sulawesi, AND it is also distinct from the Governemnet Estate (Djampit, Blawan ....) coffees. The cup starts with a dry fragrance of raw bittersweet chocolate. Raw? I mean to say that it is more like cocoa nibs, raw chocolate ingredient, than a fancy bar of Vahlrona or Sharfen-berger chocolate. There is some sweetness there too, but this coffee is all about bitter, brooding, intense bass-note flavors ... not sweetness. As a decaf this is a little milder than the non-decaf we stock, but still very chocolate in the FC+ roast range. There is an absence of brightness in the cup; it drops off the map of acidity (7 is the lowest positive/non-defective score I can bear to give), straight into the abyss of body and chocolate-like alkaloid bitters. (I mean good coffee bitters, not dirty nasty bitterness from Grandpa's Bunnomatic that he never cleaned once in 20 years). And no floral hints, no fruited aspects, this is a simple cup. The body is very silky in texture. There is a caramelly undertone to the cup, so it's not all bitterness here. But what I like, why I would venture away from a Government Estate Java, is the incredible body in the cup, and it's more Indonesian-like rustic tones. Sure, it lacks dimension, it lacks a top end to the cup, it lacks brightness. But it has an abundance of character, and if you find it too flat, a small percentage of floral Harar will will make a great.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.2
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 7.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Low acidity, heavy body  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to Full City + to Vienna. Roast it to develop the maximum chocolate bitterness without making it ashy or carbony. FC+ is best, I feel.
Score (Max. 100) 83.9 Compare to: A silky, heavy body cup with extremely low acidity. Blend with a Ethiopia Decaf 50-50 to make a balanced Moka Java type blend.

Java Government Estate -Pancoer
Country: Indonesia Grade: One Region: East Java, Ijen Plateau Mark: Government Estate Pancoer
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: May 2006 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 screen Varietal: Typica (Sumatra), Catuai, Catimor
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: Javas can be hit or miss; there was a time when I wouldn't buy Java coffees based on outrageous prices and extremely poor, no ... absolutely crappy ... cup quality. For me, not stocking a Java came to symbolize the fact that I wouldn't bow to pressures to offer a major origin if I didn't think it was good; quality would reign supreme! That was a few years back and despite a lot of competition to buy the really good Java coffees from the 6 Government estates, we have been able to stock some outstanding lots from this origin. There are 3 names you will see here; Djampit (Jampit), Blawan and Kayumas. In any given season, one is better than another and I cup them all regularily to determine which is the real winner. Djampit and Blawan lie along the road from Bondowoso to the volcano of Kawa Ijen (also spelled Kawah Ijen). It is on these volcanic slopes of the Ijen plateau that the coffee prospers from the required coffee altitudes and well-draining soil. The IJen Plateau lies in the centre of a large forest reserve, which extends over much of the mountainous region to the west of Banyuwangi. A luminous blue/green crater lake lies at the far eastern end of the plateau and is without doubt one of the most impressive of East Java's natural wonders. The Kawa Ijen summit is 2,300 metres above sea-level. The enormous lake, which is 200 metres deep, contains approximately 36,000,000 cubic metres of steaming, acid water ... needless to say this is an active volcanic cone! Okay, back to coffee ... there is "Government Estate" Java, from the 6 old farms in East Java that date back to Dutch colonialism, and "Private Estate" Java. Government Estate is invariably preferred, and Kayumas, Djampit, Pancoer and Blawan are all Gov't Estate. In the cup Java is largely about thick, oily body, and very low acidity. A really good Java will be deep, with a touch of spice in the cup, and when the roast is right it will have subtle bittersweet chocolate tastes. When roasted dark, the low acidity can make the cup taste flat. You can roast a good Java to a City roast, and achieve a measure of balance in the cup; City is my preference for straight roast. But often you get this great chocolate roast note, bitter chocolate, at FC+ or light Vienna. Of course, you can take it darker to accentuate depth and body, and you can add mid-range and brighter note qualities through blending with a Java; hence the historical Mokha Java blend using either a Yemeni coffee or a good floral Harar. This lot is a bit of a surprise, coming late in the Java crop cycle, and from the one Government Estate I had never before offered, Pancoer. But I hold no preconceptions when it comes to cupping, and everything is tasted blind and randomized. This was a stellar Java cup. I noted fresh tobacco in the dry fragrance and the wet aroma, and it lingers throughout the cup into the aftertaste. There was a "good earthiness", fresh humus, combined with herbal flavors; sage in particular. It has that oily body, and very low acidity, as is the neotypical java cup profile.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / fresh tobacco, humus, herbs, thick body.
add 50 50 Roast: Commercialy you will see this offered as a Full City coffee, but try it lighter and be amazed! Allow proper resting period for full body to develop.
Score (Max. 100) 86.1 Compare to: Java differs from the semi-washed Indonesians, Sulawesi (Celebes) and Sumatra. It is more similar to Timor, and Papua New Guinea … but those both tend to have more acidity.

Java Private Estate - Type: Prince
Country: Indonesia Grade: One Region: East Java Mark: Private Estate: Prince
Processing: Wet Processed Crop: November 2005 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Typica (Sumatra), Catuai, Catimor
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 2.8 Notes: Private Estate Java farms are supposed to be inferior to the 4 Government Estate plantations. They are supposedly lower-grown, not processed or prepared as well, for those who want to save a few pennies. But I received this sample and was impressed with the beautiful appearance of the green (I know, "eye-cupping" is not encouraged) and later by the cup. First thing to note here is it is still NOT an Indonesian ala Sumatra or Sulawesi, AND it is also distinct from the Government Estate (Djampit, Blawan ....) coffees. The cup starts with a dry fragrance of raw bittersweet chocolate. Raw? I mean to say that it is more like cocoa nibs, raw chocolate ingredient, than a fancy bar of Vahlrona or Sharfen-berger chocolate. There is some sweetness there too, but this coffee is all about bitter, brooding, intense bass-note flavors ... not sweetness. The wet aromatics are baker's chocolate with a tobacco hint. There is an amazing absence of brightness in the cup; it drops off the map of acidity (7 is the lowest positive/non-defective score I can bear to give), straight into the abyss of body and chocolate-like alkaloid bitters. And by bitter I mean good coffee bitters, not dirty nasty bitterness from Grandpa's Bunnomatic that he never cleaned once in 20 years. And no floral hints, no fruited aspects, this is a simple cup. The body is very oily in texture and the tobaccoy note emerges in the aftertaste. There is a caramelly undertone to the cup, so it's not all bitterness here. But what I like, why I would venture away from a Government Estate Java, is the incredible body in the cup, and it's more Indonesian-like rustic tones. Sure, it lacks dimension, it lacks a top end to the cup, it lacks brightness. But it has an abundance of character, and if you find it too flat, a small percentage of floral Harar will will make a great Moka Java Blend.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Body, bitterness  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to Full City + to Vienna. Roast it to develop the maximum chocolate bitterness without making it ashy or carbony. FC+ is best, I feel.
Score (Max. 100) 84.4 Compare to: A rustic Java cup, still not like other Indonesians, nor like Java Djampit or Blawan. Actually, it is most like some Ugandas.

Java Government Estate -Djampit
Country: Indonesia Grade: One Region: East Java, Ijen Plateau Mark: Government Estate Djampit
(also spelled Jampit)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: Late September 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 screen Varietal: Typica (Sumatra), Catuai, Catimor
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: Javas can be hit or miss; there was a time when I wouldn't buy Java coffees based on outrageous prices and extremely poor, no ... absolutely crappy ... cup quality. For me, not stocking a Java came to symbolize the fact that I wouldn't bow to pressures to offer a major origin if I didn't think it was good; quality would reign supreme! That was a few years back and despite a lot of competition to buy the really good Java coffees from the 6 Government estates, we have been able to stock some outstanding lots from this origin. There are 3 names you will see here; Djampit (Jampit), Blawan and Kayumas. In any given season, one is better than another and I cup them all regularily to determine which is the real winner. Djampit and Blawan lie along the road from Bondowoso to the volcano of Kawa Ijen (also spelled Kawah Ijen). It is on these volcanic slopes of the Ijen plateau that the coffee prospers from the required coffee altitudes and well-draining soil. The IJen Plateau lies in the centre of a large forest reserve, which extends over much of the mountainous region to the west of Banyuwangi. A luminous blue/green crater lake lies at the far eastern end of the plateau and is without doubt one of the most impressive of East Java's natural wonders. The Kawa Ijen summit is 2,300 metres above sea-level. The enormous lake, which is 200 metres deep, contains approximately 36,000,000 cubic metres of steaming, acid water ... needless to say this is an active volcanic cone! Okay, back to coffee ... there is "Government Estate" Java, from the 6 old farms in East Java that date back to Dutch colonialism, and "Private Estate" Java. Government Estate is invariably preferred, and Kayumas, Djampit and Blawan are all Gov't Estate. In the cup Java is largely about thick, oily body, and very low acidity. A really good Java will be deep, with a touch of spice in the cup, and when the roast is right it will have subtle bittersweet chocolate tastes. When roasted dark, the low acidity can make the cup taste flat. You can roast a good Java to a City roast, and achieve a measure of balance in the cup; City is my preference for straight roast. But often you get this great chocolate roast note, bitter chocolate, at FC+ or light Vienna. Of course, you can take it darker to accentuate depth and body, and you can add mid-range and brighter note qualities through blending with a Java; hence the historical Mokha Java blend using either a Yemeni coffee or a good floral Harar. This Java Djampit (Jampit) lot is a Spet 30th 2005 arrival and has that mild character, balance, and (after proper 24-36 hour rest) very thick oily body. At a City roast, rested , the coffee has that buttery thickness to the mouthfeel, low acidity (misses the front of the palate) and a neat, floral hint that is between incense and a nice herbal shampoo - I mean that in a good way! This has a very refined and distinct Java character at this lighter roast range. But I really like the dark bitter chocolate that develops at FC+ roast. So it's up to you which way you want the character for the cup to go.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / mild floral note, chcolate in the darker roasts, oily body
add 50 50 Roast: Commercialy you will see this offered as a Full City coffee, but try it lighter and be amazed! Allow proper resting period for full body to develop.
Score (Max. 100) 85.3 Compare to: Java differs from the semi-washed Indonesians, Sulawesi (Celebes) and Sumatra. It is more similar to Timor, and Papua New Guinea … but those both tend to have more acidity.

Java Government Estate -Blawan
Country: Indonesia Grade: One Region: East Java, Ijen Plateau Mark: Government Estate Blawan
Processing: Wet Process Crop: May 2005 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 screen Varietal: Typica (Sumatra), Catuai, Catimor
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: Javas can be hit or miss; there was a time when I wouldn't buy Java coffees based on outrageous prices and extremely poor, no ... absolutely crappy ... cup quality. For me, not stocking a Java came to symbolize the fact that I wouldn't bow to pressures to offer a major origin if I didn't think it was good; quality would reign supreme! That was a few years back and despite a lot of competition to buy the really good Java coffees from the 6 Government estates, we have been able to stock some outstanding lots from this origin. There are 3 names you will see here; Djampit (Jampit), Blawan and Kayumas. In any given season, one is better than another and I cup them all regularily to determine which is the real winner. Djampit and Blawan lie along the road from Bondowoso to the volcano of Kawa Ijen (also spelled Kawah Ijen). It is on these volcanic slopes of the Ijen plateau that the coffee prospers from the required coffee altitudes and well-draining soil. The IJen Plateau lies in the centre of a large forest reserve, which extends over much of the mountainous region to the west of Banyuwangi. A luminous blue/green crater lake lies at the far eastern end of the plateau and is without doubt one of the most impressive of East Java's natural wonders. The Kawa Ijen summit is 2,300 metres above sea-level. The enormous lake, which is 200 metres deep, contains approximately 36,000,000 cubic metres of steaming, acid water ... needless to say this is an active volcanic cone! Okay, back to coffee ... there is "Government Estate" Java, from the 6 old farms in East Java that date back to Dutch colonialism, and "Private Estate" Java. Government Estate is invariably preferred, and Kayumas, Djampit and Blawan are all Gov't Estate. In the cup Java is largely about thick, oily body, and very low acidity. A really good Java will be deep, with a touch of spice in the cup, and when the roast is right it will have subtle bittersweet chocolate tastes. When roasted dark, the low acidity can make the cup taste flat. You can roast a good Java to a City roast, and achieve a measure of balance in the cup; City is my preference for straight roast. Of course, you can take it darker to accentuate depth and body, and you can add mid-range and brighter note qualities through blending with a Java; hence the historical Mokha Java blend using either a Yemeni coffee or a good floral Harar. This Blawan lot is a January 2005 arrival and has that mild character, balance, and (after proper 24-36 hour rest) very thick oily body. At a City roast, rested , the coffee has that buttery thickness to the mouthfeel, low acidity (misses the front of the palate) and a neat, floral hint that is between incense and a nice herbal shampoo - I mean that in a good way! This has a very refined and distinct Java character at this lighter roast range.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 7.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4.7
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / darkly sweet cup with oily body
add 50 50 Roast: Commercialy you will see this offered as a Full City coffee, but try it lighter and be amazed! Allow proper resting period for full body to develop.
Score (Max. 100) 85.4 Compare to: Java differs from the semi-washed Indonesians, Sulawesi (Celebes) and Sumatra. It is more similar to Timor, and Papua New Guinea … but those both tend to have more acidity.

Kenya AA Auction Lot 438 - Hiriga
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Region: Karurumo, Ngorano, Nyeri District Mark: Hiriga Coffee Factory
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: July 2006 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: Hiriga is a cooperative "coffee society" for small farmers located on the plateau around Mount Kenya, between the towns of Nyeri and Karatina. The region is on the leeward side of Mount Kenya and despite the forests, it suffers occasional drought during the dry season. In fact, coffee needs a dry season as much as it needs good altitude, temperate climate and well-draining soil. This area, and Nyeri in particular, is the locus of some distinct Kenya coffees, in particular, bright citrus/floral cup character. In this regard, Hiriga has plenty! The cup has an amazing balance between the sweetness of citrus fruit and the sourness. It starts with some very unique fragrances from the dry grounds: white cake and sweet honeyed ham. I know the later doesn't seem like it fits, but this is an aromatic component and not literally the flavor of ham! Adding water, the wet aromatics began to reveal the sweet citric balance. There is bright lemon aroma, and then grapefruit rind - very lively and nippy aromas. What strikes me first in the cup is a very clean thyme herbal quality, but I don't get that as much as the coffee cools. Overwhelmingly, the flavor alternates between tangerine, and a sweet lemon (I wrote lemon custard actually). The body is juicy and light. In the finish, it remains lively, and has a refined, elegant sweetness to the final note. It is a classic Nyeri coffee through and through, but not one of those mouth-puckering, lemon peel types ... it is more polished than that. In any case, this is a very bright and lively cup, especially in the lighter roast range I prefer (City to City Plus), which has a more malty, grainy sweetness than the darker Full City roast I tried. It can take an FC+ roast or darker, but you end up with a Peets style of Kenya, a bit sweaty tasting.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity/bright and citric  
add 50 50 Roast: A City+ roast has the most lively cup, but see my notes above. I did not enjoy the sweaty sweetness of the FC+ roast.
Score (Max. 100) 90.1 Compare to: Bright, citrus Nyeri-region Kenyas, but this one is refined and quite sweet too. +2 correction for refined cup qualities.

Kenya AA Auction Lot 434 -Kithungururu
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Region: Embu District Mark: Kithungururu Society,
Lot 434 2006 main crop auction
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: August 2006 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.5 Notes: With the sheer power of the Kenya cup, incredibly bright and lively, it seems like you can roast it any which way and have a fantastic cup. In fact, I over-roasted the pre-ship sample of Kithungururu and thought I might have reject this lot. It was good, but seemed sorta average to me. What was I thinking!?! The importer told me to get my head checked. I went back to my bidding log from the Kenya Auctions (there is a lag of about 6-8 weeks between the auction and the arrival of the lot, plenty of time for me to forget my impressions). My notes screamed at me "buy this lot at any cost." Okay, so I re-roasted, and kept it light. I did a City roast, where the coffee still has a wrinkley surface and a bit patchy in color and surface texture, and a City+, with a little more smoothness. And there it was ... an incredible cup. In particular, the aromatics here were simply incomparable, but there are unique cup flavors too. In the dry fragrance, I had dynamic, volatile smells of currant, grape skins, sweet flower blossom, and sweet rye. In the wet aroma, I got similar floral notes, sweet chocolate/lemon, and a kind of sweet-sour savory/saucy aspect too. I was intrigued and a little confused, I guess. The cup started with concord grape, a bit winey, and had starfruit hints. But as it cooled it turned to white grape juiciness, and had red apple. Then there was this spiciness in the finish/aftertaste, reminding me of a composite flavor of cloved apple. This cup flashed a lot of flavors at me, but they keywords here are "complex fruits". I evaluated a couple lighter roasts (City) and allowed them to rest 4 days: with this cupping the fruits were there, but the citrus had a distinct dried bitter orange peel character (ala Curacao). It also had some facinating sweet hickory/cedary woodiness to it, unlike the woody character one might find in natural dry processed coffees. A cup with this many turns and twists deserves a +2 addition for complexity and uniqueness.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium to Bold intensity/Complex, nuanced  
add 50 50 Roast: The review reflects a City+ roast. When I roasted to FC or FC + I felt that the roast taste flattened out the cup, and pungent flavors took over.
Score (Max. 100) 91.2 Compare to: At the right roast level, this is simply one of the most complex (aromatically) Kenyas of the year.

Kenya AA Auction Lot 503 -Rui Ruiru
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Region: Nyeri District Mark: Rui Ruiru Society
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: July 2006 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: Coffees from the Nyeri District of Kenya are quite often distinguished from other Kenyas: intense bright citric acidity is often found among complex and lively cup flavors. Of course, that is not always the case with Nyeri coffees, but in the blind cupping process (standard cupping process were sample ID cards turned away from the cupper so you have no idea what is what) I can pick out the Nyeri coffees fairly easily, at least the really excellent ones. We actually had Ruiruiru in a previous season (we spelled it as one word which is not correct, it is correct as Rui Ruiru, "Ruiru River"). It was the top rated Kenya offering we had in '03! Really good Kenya coffees have an overload of character, and offer a complexity not found in many coffees. For me, complex means that a coffee lends itself to a lot of interpretation, that adjectives pour out as a coffee passes through the stages of sensing it: from aroma to the palate, as it disappears from the palate, as you breath and it lingers in the aftertaste. Through these stages, the more the coffee flavors transmutate, even in contradictory ways, the higher I rate the complexity of the cup. And for me the Rui Ruiru is a very complex coffee precisely because I don't get the same readings each time I evaluate it. From sip to sip, from cup to cup and from roast to roast it seems to reinvent itself. With the Ruiruiru there's an interesting way that these flavors reveal themselves in layers, passing from sweetness to bittersweetness, and secondary tastes emerge. I prefer a true Full City roast, right at the verge of 2nd crack, perhaps a few audible snaps, but no more. The dry fragrance is intense and sweet, with berry, honey, sweet bread/cake. The lighter roast had strong wet aroma of malted grain sugars (maltose), very floral aspects and ... believe it or not ... I get a "donut aroma" here. Yes, sweet cake donut, not kidding. What a crisp cup, bright and snappy, with pink grapefruit and apple acidity in the lighter roast, turning more toward spice in the darker roast (FC+). Again, that malty, syrupy sweetness is a backdrop for the bright fruited accents, and in the finish there is some citrus skin zestiness. I roasted this coffee in several different ways (C to FC+) and evaluated it over several days with various brew methods. What impresses me is not its uniformity (which some consider to be a quality in coffee, not me). I loved its complexity, that it showed me something different each time I roasted it/ brewed it. To me, this is the hallmark of a great coffee.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity/bright, citric, complex  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City, near 2nd crack. Lighter City roasts were too bright for me, almost harsh. C+ was excellent but still quite sharp. One test roast went a bit into 2nd, and while it was quite spicey and nice, it lacked the lively citric fruits.
Score (Max. 100) 90.4 Compare to: Intense, complex, bright, citric Kenya. By the way, Richie who works here says the name Rui Ruiru sounds like a Scooby Doo exclaimation. He's right ... unfortunately...

Kenya Auction Lot 405 -Mchana Peaberry
Country: Kenya Grade: PB 1 Region: Ruiru District Mark: Mchana Estate
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: April 2006 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, Peaberry 17 screen Varietal: Not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: Many of the Kenya auction lots we compete for are cooperative lots (called "coffee societies" in Kenya), and it is not often we buy Estate lots. Estates are larger single-owner plots usually, and while they can exert a greater control over the uniform quality of their coffee production, there is not necessarily any cup quality gap between estates and societies in Kenya. Mchana Estate is an example of a medium sized Ruiru district estate, totalling 442 hectares according to my records. Interestingly, they are also certified with Utz Kapeh, the "fair trade lite" organization as I have referred to it elsewhere. I cupped several lots of Mchana this year in the auctions (along with countless other untold small lots) and what impressed me was how distinct this coffee was from the rip-your-toungue-out acidic, citric Kenyas. I rated the Mchana lots from 85-87, not stunningly high, but the problem with scoring Kenya auction lots is that too often it becomes a race toward the highest acidity on the table. That's not a good method to judge Kenyas, and by those rules I might score another lot higher, but THIS is the one I am going to want to drink for my own personal pleasure. After all, it is not very day you want your tongue ripped out. Mchana is toned down, balanced, and totally delightful. It has a ripe, sweet quality from start to finish; the dry fragrance hints at it, but it is in the wet aromatics that the coffee comes to life. Sweet plum, raisin-currant, grape, cocoa, sweet black tea; those are the descriptors I list for wet aroma! Thes follow through in the cup, in particular the sweet black tea, the plum and raisin. Mild cocoa is there too, with a dark honey sweetness. The body is medium, but comes off a bit heavier than it really is because of a really pleasant silky quality. This is an approachable, relaxed Kenya, and a vivid contrast to the bolder, brighter, more citric lots we will have this year.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity/balanced, sweet, riped fruit  
add 50 50 Roast: The review reflects a City+ roast - completely through 1st crack, still far from entering 2nd crack. At this roast, the coffee has a ruddy, non-smooth surface texture still.
Score (Max. 100) 87.5 Compare to: In relation to Kenyas, this is a "relaxed" version, a layed back, So-Cal Kenya, a … okay, it’s a joke. But it is a fine contrast to intensly bright Kenya lots. (Note: we roasted this 7/5 for our Roastmaster coffee in the Probat and it was INCREDIBLE!)

Kenya AA WP Decaf
Country: Kenya Grade: AA/PB Region: Mount Kenya Plateau Mark: AA + PB, Euro-Prep
Processing: Wet processed Crop: May 2006 Arrival Appearance: .3 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: (not known)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: The secret of really good decafs is a properly processed coffee that begins with a really good, high quality green coffee lot. This is a Kenya AA EP (euro-preparation ...that means it has gone through colormetric and several passes of hand sorting, along with the usual machine sorting size and density methods) lot ...not an auction lot but a coffee that was cupped for quality, then sent to the decaffeinator. I cupped all these Kenya lots and this was one of the that out-cupped a lot of the discrete farm-specific auction coffees this year. (Yes, there were great auction lots, but there was an undue amount of really mediocre ones too.) This lot has really good acidity that you would anticipate in a Kenya and a caramelly roast taste in the City roast setting. That is what matters in a decaf - good origin character. This is aromatic, lightly bodied and spry, with a good top-end brightness to the cup, and malty-caramelly-mollasses mid-tones that develop in the roast. If you don't overroast stop it right at or right before 2nd crack) it's really a zippy cup, although I admit it does not have a heavy mouthfeel. But I really liked this coffee because, given the flavor character, it would taste quite wrong if it DID have a ton of body! If you like the aromatic and vividly flavored Ethiopian decafs we have (and you really should try those) then this coffee will also be up your alley. This is a remarkably crisp cup for a decaf, with an almost marmalade fruitiness to it. The lack of body is not to be taken as a negative here...
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 2.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: See the notes above. This coffee caramelizes nicely right at 2nd crack, and I don't like it roasted much more than that … but that's me!
add 50 50 Compare to: Bright, lively, light-boded and spry coffees - this is like a Kenya without too much muscle (which can sometimes be overwhelming…)
Score (Max. 100) 86.3 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium / Clean and Bright

Kenya Auction Lot 705 -Gaturine Peaberry
Country: Kenya Grade: PB Auction Lot Region: Meru, Mt Kenya plateau Mark: Gaturine Society
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: April 2006 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16+ PB Screen Varietal: Not known, probably SL-28 Bourbon hybrid
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes: I don't have much background on the Gaturine lot, except that it is a co-op society, not an estate. This is a well-prepped, peaberry lot, and our first main 2006 crop arrival from our extensive Kenya cupping sessions. Folks, I will be frank; I hope subsequent Kenya lots this year (and I already have won 6 lots in the auctions) can be as wonderful as this Gaturine Peaberry. It is not often I tell people what to buy; after all, YOU need to read the reviews and decide what you like. But unless you have an intense dislike of brightness/acidity in coffee, I highly recommend you sample this Gaturine. And even if you think "acidity" sounds bad, try just 1 pound anyway. Do a City + roast. Be ready to be amazed. This is not a coffee to be missed. There, I said it. The dry fragrance is a bit odd; slightly citric, a little like soy sauce! Wet aroma is where you start to get a hint of the wonders to come … bright, floral, lemon; this coffee is intensely aromatic. When the cup is hot you might immediately notice the brightness, the rindy citrus notes that range between lemon and tangerine. As the cup cools, it actually becomes more intense; fruited notes emerge (peach, mango), the lemon zest lingers, and vanilla comes out. The finish has a pungent twist; a bit of citrus rind, and spicey bittersweetness. What a truly amazing cup! The City + roast is the most outrageously fruited and bright, with darker roasts taking on a more pungent and bittersweet aspect. I highly recommend a lighter roast treatment, even if you eventually deceide you prefer the roasty, darker levels. At a City+ the fruit and citrus are screaming at full volume; they are what makes this coffee so remarkable, and unmistakabley Kenyan. These are cup characteristics I expect a bit later in the season, and usually from the Nyeri region. But this is from the earlier part of the '06 main crop, and from the Meru district. Well, as is usually the case in coffee, as soon as I think I have a handle on something, I get re-schooled on it! Note: this coffee MUST score over 90. The dry fragrance is not that impressive, the body is fairly light. But when I taste this coffee at it's best roast (City+) there is simply no way I can score this overall cup at less than 90. It is too good. Hence I must fudge the score with a +3 cuppers correction. But that is why the correction is there: to correct for numbers that are deceiving. It would be a sin to score this cup under 90 points!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.4
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 3 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity/ brightly fruited and citric cup  
add 50 50 Roast: Give City + a try; this is by far the most dynamic roast level for this incredible coffee. If that is too screaming bright, you can tone it down with an FC treatment, but you lose some of the alto notes, and that is a shame. For me, the FC roast here turns it into a "good" Kenya, but not a GREAT 90 pt. Kenya.
Score (Max. 100) 90.9 Compare to: Stellar, bright Kenya coffees, with a Nyeri-like citric quality. This is a great one, folks. (Despite the fact that the name has been a source of some yucks around here; change the G to a C and you see what I mean)!

Kenya Auction Lot 622 Peaberry
Country: Kenya Grade: Auction Lot 622 Region: Thika District Mark: Co-op unknown!
Processing: Wet Process Crop: October 2005 Arrival Appearance: 3 d/300gr, Peaberry 17+ screen Varietal: SL-34 / SL-28
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: All we have is a number, 622. I don't know how this happened, but since I can't directly access the Kenya Coffee Board auction logs, I can't go back and track the source of this coffee. But we cup coffees blind ... and this is an awesome lot that was really impressive among the waning late season lots! It is possible that this is blended at the mill from several farms, since Peaberry lots tend to be very small, and oftentimes you can't even get a 100% peaberry lot from a single co-op or estate due to restricted amounts. But for now, it is 622 Peaberry, and all I know for sure it is a Thika Coffee Mill. You can tell the origin (and the cultivar) by the cup profile. This is one of those citric, bright, piquant Kenya cups, with complex undertones. The cup starts with citrus floral aromatics, and finishes with unique , lingering spice notes (coriander seed, anise). In between is a real orange-peel citrus burst. I find nuances of strawberry, and a little taste of parchment too, probably just from residual chaff in my cupping samples (sloppy, sloppy). There is also a very nice tea-like finish to the cup, which reminds me of some very fine Taiwanese tea I enjoyed several years ago, but cannot name the exact type. In the aromatics I felt is was an Earl Gray tea. It's a brisk cup, and ends with a bittersweet spice note - very interesting! It's remarkable how good these Peaberry lots have been this year ... well, actually I panned about 30 PBs to find these so it's not a shoe-in, but it seems some cuppers simply aren't interested in the Peaberry Kenyas, and on the other hand they are googie-eyed about buying defective Tanzania peaberry. Go figure.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Bright acidity and many nuances.  
add 50 50 Roast: I did 3 roasts on the arrival sample of this coffee, and would recommend something around Full City to Full City+. This can go a few snaps into 2nd too and definitely stand up to the roast. At this stage, the coffee is actually more fruity-winey than at lighter roast stages.
Score (Max. 100) 89.4 Compare to: A bright, citric Kenya, with great complexity when you target the right roast range (see above). Special Note: there are a few defective seeds here: don't remove flat beans etc, but if you see one broken in half, or with a tan or dark spot on it, you might want to yank it out. When I did, it removed a distracting note from the cup, a sort of hay-like note. This would be about 3-5 beans per Lb.

Kenya Auction Lot #54 Peaberry
Country: Kenya Grade: Auction Lot Region: Nairobi blend Mark: Lot 54, Marks 11738, Peaberry
Processing: Wet Process Crop: December 2005 Arrival Appearance: Peaberry Varietal: SL-34 / -28
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: Ever roast up a blend of odds and ends, and it turns out to be one of the best cups you have ever had ... then you realize it is totally unrepeatable. Well, here is the Kenya Auction Lot equivalent. Ironically, it is the mystery coffee, the "Area 54" late arrival with unexpilicably wonderful character. There are some explainations that are not so otherworldly. The issue is this: peaberry is a very small percentage of the total coffee harvested; I am not sure of the exact amount and it varies with cultivar and region, but I would estimate 5%. Peaberry is the rounded bean that forms when one of the 2 seeds in the coffee cherry fails to develop. The remaining bean forms the rounded shape of two, in a sense. It is a mutation but not a defect, it is a sound coffee seed that can reproduce. Peaberry has some physical qualities that are different that flat beans (higher cell density) but are not necessarily different or taste different because of their shape. But they do have a slightly different roast dynamic. Anyway, the issue here is that the smallholder farms of Kenya are so tiny that one might produce a total of 6 bags of coffee, another 10 or 15. That means between the 3 they have about 1 bag of post-process Grade 1 Peaberry. So only big farms produce distinct lots of Peaberry, and small farms pool their Peaberry to for a salable lot. That's what we have here, a lot that was not poooled at the mill, but rather at the coffee warehouse in Nairobi. The true origin is untraceable, but it just so happens that the results are awesome. Berry, berry, berry. This is one of the most profund examples of a Kenya fruited with berry I have ever tasted. As the cup cools the fruits have a more citric quality, but especially when it is hot it has an unmistakable blackberry note that pairs very well with a black tea quality. It makes the finish less of a sweet "cleanly disapperring" one, and , more of a tea-like tightness: almost tannic. This works well with the other cup flavors, with lingering herbal notes in the finish. Up front, there are sweet notes in the aromatics. (The wet aroma has an almost candy-like, caramelized quality - it reminded me of dark-caramelized See's candy suckers). Now, after this coffee has rested, and with varying degress of roasts, there are (as there always are) shifts in the cup character. In fact, after several days rest I found much sweeter cup from start to finish, from wet aroma through long aftertaste. But one thing for sure, a dark roast will kill the fruited, berry aspect of this cup. While I can't say I will have a lot like this next year, I suggest you just enjoy this here and now, because (for me) this is a very memorable flavor experience.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Berry, black tea
add 50 50 Roast: City+ You don't want to lose the fruited notes here. This coffee can turn downright flat at a FC or FC+ roast. Keep it light!
Score (Max. 100) 91.2 Compare to: Mild in it's acidity, this has very fine berry notes in the flavor and aftertaste. It's delicious and it justifies a +2 score correction.

Kenya Auction Lot AA - Gethumbwini
Country: Kenya Grade: Auction Lot Region: Thika District Mark: Gethumbwini
Processing: Wet Process Crop: Jan 2006 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 18-19 screen Varietal: SL-28/-34
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.5 Notes: Here's a name I was looking for in the auctions. I have cupped Gethumbwini coffees in the past, and usually been a day late or dollar short in obtaining them. This time I was lucky, sort of. I got the lot, but it is a very small amount. This is not from the main crop harvest, but rather the small off season flowering/fruiting, oddly called the "fly crop." (I have no idea why!) But who cares, it's all about the cup and this lot is amazing. It is a ripe, deeply-fruited Kenya, not the Nyeri type coffees that have screaming citrus brightness. The cup has an almost candylike sweetness in the wet aromatics, lushly fruited with a winey accent. The City+ roast has a toasty caramelly quality in the aroma that comes right through in the cup flavor, with ripe red grape. Juicy is a descriptor that makes a lot of sense in characterizing the cup. My Full City roast seemed to have more body than lighter roast levels, and had more moderate, more winey acidity. Frankly, it seems like a coffee that is going to let itself be heard through any level of roast (well, *bucks excepted). The finish is sweet, with ripe fruit (I am repeating myself here), blackberry, black cherry, red grape. Unfortunately, this lot was very small so Gethumbwini may come and go in a very short time. I will be cupping other main crop Gethumbwini lots as they are entered in the auction, so there's a chance it could reappear. I have to give this a +3 cuppers score just because... because ... I can't stop drinking it. This is a small lot, so there's a 5 Lb limit. Please respect it, so your fellow roasters have the chance to try this coffee too!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.8
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 3 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Ripe fruit with winey accents
add 50 50 Roast: City+ or Full City. I enjoyed both but Full City (the verge of 2nd crack without going into it) had a very deeply sweet aspect - the total package!
Score (Max. 100) 93.8 Compare to: One of those fruit-bomb Kenyas, lower-toned than citric type Kenyas.

Kenya AA Auction Lot 293 -Gicherori
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Auction Lot #293 Region: Embu District Mark: Gicherori Society (Cooperative)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: July 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: SL-34 / -28
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: Here is yet another fantastic Kenya Auction lot. I know, read a few Kenya reviews here and you would think I praise everything and anything. But you are seeing just the tip of the proverbial iceberg here. These few coffees represent several hundred that did not deserve praise, recognition, or my bid in the Auction. And of all origins, the cup deserves, inspires ... no ... it demands this sort of praise. A great Kenya is unequaled, and in green form it is simply a great raw material waiting to be "sculpted" into a great cup by you or I, people who roast coffee. Okay, so I get carried away, but here I sit drinking my 3 roasts (City+, FC, FC+) of Gicherori and it's got my blood running a bit hot. This lot is a mutable coffee, with the light roasts being a bit thin, but having that pin-prick acidity, that dynamic brightness, that no other origin can match. The City roast of Gicherori (pronounced geek-ee-ror -ee) is very bright, very citric, and very floral. It's almost too much, too much alto and not enough in the mid-tones. But it will definitely grab your attention! The really light roasts are a bit thin too, and the finish a little more "lemon peel" than that pin-prick acidity of a fully ripe, lemony brightness. Take the roast a bit further to City+ (to the end of1st, a bit into the pause between 1st and 2nd crack), and you get a riper citrus flower brightness. For me, #293 gets really good a bit darker, before 2nd crack, at Full City. Push it right up to the verge, and you get a real range of notes from bass to treble. The aromas at wet fragrance in brewing are sweetly pungent. The cup has an initial sweetness that pleasantly bitters on the palate, with a dash of pepper and smoke in the aftertaste. The citrus notes have turned to ripe, red grapefruit, the roast tastes are browned sugar, and the fruit has plum/prune aromatic but the cup flavors are not so dark. This coffee might be too lively for some, for others it will provide the zingy-zesty cup that hits you right. If you tire of Indonesian coffees that pass up the front of your palate and just squat down in the rear of your mouth, then Gicherori 293 is the one that is going to hit all the buttons on your tongue as it goes by ...and THEN hang out in the back of your mouth for an hour or two.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / bright, citric, dynamic Kenya
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City (expect dark surface bean color for corresponding degree of roast). City+ is a very bright cup, and if you want to moderate the acidity a bit, you need to reach Full City. This certainly works going a few snaps into 2nd crack too.
Score (Max. 100) 88.9 Compare to: A bright, citric Kenya, especially in the lighter roasts.

Kenya AA Auction Lot 661 -Mbaranga
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Auction Lot #661 Region: Meru District Mark: Mbaranga Society (Cooperative)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: May 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: SL-28, SL-34
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: We are really proud of our Kenyas, mainly because the ones we stock represent over 150-200 true Auction Lot Kenyas we cupped this year. But some of our Kenyas are really too potent, too over the top, for some people's palates. I definitely won’t apologize for stocking potent coffees ... but there are times in cupping Kenyas when you wonder if you have started cupping more for potency than for subtler cup qualities. The brash Kenyas can overshadow a real gem than may not broadcast its cup quality to an impatient cupper, but will emerge over time as a charming, seductive cup. It would be funny if I followed this speel up with saying the Mbaranga is just an obnoxious over-the-top Kenya cup profile. But actually it is the perfect example of a low-toned Kenya, one that does not have the bracing acidity, but has all the sweet aromas, fruit, mild acidity, depth and balance. At a City+/Full City roast I had an initial impression of sweet blueberry that was unmistakably clear on the palate. This is strikingly different than the earthy-tinged blueberry found in a great Harar - it's more like the essence of blueberry; clean, clear and sweet. There are mild citrus aromas too, and as the cup cools a distinct clove and anise flavor emerges in the finish. This is accessible Kenya, good drinkin' Kenya, a cup with spine, but not too assertive in the top end of the flavor profile to alienate those who dislike the acidic bite. It's a very dense seed too and takes a wider range of roasts than other lots we have this year, without falling off in flavor. Another interesting aspect of Mbaranga: straight, single-origin Mbaranga espresso. Yes, this intensifies the brighter, acidic parts of the cup (and would be impossible with a really citric espresso) but try a Full City Mbaranga shot. Amazing aromatics, sweet tarry liquor-like body, and dry, bracing brightness like a twist of orange peel and cranberry. It's amazing. (BTW: I prefer a quicker extraction time, 18-20 secs ...this is not good over-extracted).
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.2
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.7
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / sweet blueberry essence, spicy finish
add 50 50 Roast: Full City (expect dark surface bean color for corresponding degree of roast)if you ant the more aggressive cup. This has a softer, more lush orangey character at the City + stage than you might expect too. See notes above.
Score (Max. 100) 88.5 Compare to: A Kenya with a rounded cup - not overly acidic… (the acidity rating of 9 is for quality of acidity, not quantity.)

Kenya Auction Lot 668 -Kiaguthu Peaberry
Country: Kenya Grade: Auction Lot 668 Region: Nyeri District Mark: Kiaguthu Society (Cooperative)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: September 2005 Arrival Appearance: Peaberry (note: some flatbeans) Varietal: SL-34 / -28
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.9 Notes: Kiaguthu is our second coffee this season from the Nyeri district (on the south-facing slopes of Mount Kenya), known for bright citric coffees. NYeri boasts high altitudes and Out first, Thiriku, was a very small lot and sold out in days. Kiaguthu is also a peaberry and luckily we have a little bit more of it. It has other aspects in common with the Lot 660 Thiriku. It is bright, very bright, with the aromatics, flavor and finish of grapefruit. These citric qualities are backed up by floral rose aromatics and rose hips in the cup flavors, and there is a lingering jasmine floral hint too. All these are present in abundance - this is a potent, bright, lively coffee that does a tap dance on the palate! Part of the character of these Nyeri region coffees is the very high altitude: Kiaguthu is located at 5600 feet (1705 meters). Another note on this lot is that there are some flatbeans in there - let's call it between 90-95% peaberry. This has little affect on roast and not affect on cup quality. I can explain why Nyeri coffees are so nice - they are small-holder farms that are cooperatively milled and a lot of care goes into the growing and preparation. They are also farther up the mountain than other regions, or than the estate coffees of Kiambu, for example. I can't explain why we have had such good results with our peaberry auction lots except that, for no reason I can imagine, there are some bidders who turn their noses up at peaberry Kenyas (at the same time paying a lot for baggy, nasty Tanzania Peaberries!) Whatever the case, we are able to win these auctions and I am not complaining! But (as I have written many times) the peaberry shape in itself does not add to or take away from cup quality. In any case, Kiaguthu Peaberry is a a bright coffee (maybe even too bright for some). After proper 24 hour resting, the citrus flower/grapefruit tones are balanced out by increased body. I usually keep Kenyas at about City+ to maximize dynamic fruit and floral notes but Kiaguthu shimmers at Full City+, a few snaps into 2nd crack. It becomes sharply pungent, yet still bright like there is a twist of lemon rind added. The darker roasts actually has a thicker body, seemingly, with dark berry notes and a black walnut roast taste that emerges.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.2
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Bright grapefruit acidity and flavor.  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City+ (expect dark surface bean color for corresponding degree of roast). City+ is a very bright cup, and if you want to moderate the acidity a bit, you need to reach Full City. This certainly works going a few snaps into 2nd crack too.
Score (Max. 100) 90 Compare to: A bright, citric Kenya, especially in the lighter roasts.

Kenya EAFCA Winner - Githiru Coop
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Region: Nyeri District Mark: #1 Coffee at the EAFCA Competition!
Processing: Wet Process Crop: Late July 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18+ screen Varietal: SL-34 / -28
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.3 Notes: The Kenya Auction system isn't like a Cup of Excellence auction, or other competitive system. Kenya Auctions are indeed about the quality of the cup, but it is really an auction on the price of quality. If two or more roasters/brokers have the same taste in Kenya coffees, and go after the same lot, then the price goes up. It's like any auction, except that it is held on a global basis. During each week of the Kenya auction, there is always a "highest price coffee" but there is no "auction winner" because it's not as if a panel of 30 cuppers sat around at the same table and scored blind lots to find the best cup. Well, here is something different. Each year, the association that covers all African coffee producing nations has a big conference, attended by folks in the coffee trade from all over. It's sorta a big ticket event (it will set you back about 5 grand per person to go, since air fare is so high). So the international attendees tend to be the bigger (richer) fish in Specialty Coffee. Junior cuppers, stay home and tend the store. (That includes me!) Anyway, part of the East African Fine Coffee Association (EAFCA) conference is a cupping competition, and as you can see, this coffee was the winning Kenya lot. So here we have a coffee that can indeed be called a "Winning Lot" because it went through the rigors of the blind cupping/competition process (head cupper was the respected Mane Alvez of Coffee Lab International). This coffee is from a medium sized co-op in the Nyeri district (perhaps my favorite peak-of-the-season Kenya lots are from here). It is a large bean size, and screens more like a 19 screen than an 18, the AA standard. Well, who cares about that ... it's the cup quality that matters. Overall, this is a very bright cup when roasted to the lighter stages. I found the City roast to be sourish, tart ... but definitely worth a try, if for no other reason than to define the intensity of the bright acidity on my palate. But to target a roast that maximized the "origin character" of this special lot, while bringing the acidity into better perspective with the other cup qualities, I tried for roasts in the Full City to Full City + range (to the verge of 2nd crack, and just a few snaps of 2nd crack). The dry fragrance is has the suggestion of caramel and hazelnut, but a sweetly floral character dominates, with distinct passion fruit aspect. The wet aroma is like a cornucopia of tropical fruit. The cup flavors were still bright but in no way shrill, with the acidity having a raspberry tone to it, and an undercurrent of both spice (not too pungent) and winey, rounded mid-range flavors. In the aftertaste, zesty blackberry hints emerged and lingered, with vanilla coming afterward. Roast will draw out varying cup character here, but there is no arguing the overall potency here, even if the nuances shift. For me, for that little blackberry finish is like the pot of gold at the end of a Kenyan rainbow, and performing some slight variations on the degree of roast will yield that amazing cup. Let it rest 2-3 days of the cup flavors don't seem well-knit after a shorter rest period.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.1
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.5
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 10
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / bright, powerful Kenya, with unique secondary flavor hints
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to Full City+. City and City+ is a very bright cup, perhaps too bright. Allowing the lighter roasts to rest longer will make the overall character less shrill, but this coffee strikes a marvelous balance at the Full City stages.
Score (Max. 100) 91.2 Compare to: A bright, Kenya with award winning pedigree … deservedly so! The only other place you can get this coffee is from my favorite Australian coffee seller -read Alan's comments at Coffee for Connoisseurs

The award - the "factory" means the cooperative wet-mill for the Githiru farmers

The presentation of the award to the Githiru Coop.


Kenya Auction Lot 660-Thiriku Peaberry
Country: Kenya Grade: Auction Lot 660 Region: Nyeri District Mark: Thiriku Society (Cooperative)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: August 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, Peaberry 17 scr Varietal: SL-34 / -28
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: I don't have much specific information about this cooperative society, except that their lots have turned up in previous years in the offering lists of some very fine roasters. This lot, which was the smallest Kenya auction lot I have ever seen listed, just knocked me back a few feet from the cupping table when I hit the cup. From the get-go, it was heads above the rest. The Thiriku starts with a wet aromatic that is very unusual, in my experience, especially for a Kenya: it is nutty. To be specific, it has a lively pralined almond/pecan. I anticipate citrus, floral aromas from Kenyas. The aromas, rather than a hint at what's to come, are a bit of a smokescreen in the twisty "flavor tale" this coffee tells. The cup flavors are not nutty. This coffee is exhilarating, bright, inscrutably clean (meaning that it is both straightforward in one respect -brightness, citrus, and a complex, showy coffee in others. Immediately I notice the good intensity and rounded mouthfeel - this Kenyas has some impressive body. There are floral aspects to the flavor, along with a very melon-like fruitiness. It has a winy finish, with a slight rindy/bittering aspect to it. Wow, what a nice cup. As it cools it has more red grape, wine, grapefruit, lime (not sour though), and has a silky body. A heads up: This is our first peaberry lot of the year, and not our last ... but it is an unusually small Kenya lot so I don't think it will last long at all. It is also the first arrival from the Nyeri district. Man, this just has to be over a 90 in the cup, hence the +1 correction, just proving that the numbers cannot always represent the fantastic cup qualities of a coffee like this.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Complex, fruited, rounded cup profile.
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City (expect dark surface bean color for corresponding degree of roast). City+ is a very bright cup, and if you want to moderate the acidity a bit, you need to reach Full City. This certainly works going a few snaps into 2nd crack too.
Score (Max. 100) 90.5 Compare to: A bright, citric Kenya, especially in the lighter roasts.

Kenya AA Auction Lot 707 -Ithima
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Auction Lot, #707 Region: Laare-Meru District Mark: Ithima Society (Cooperative)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: Late March 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: SL-28, SL-34
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: The Ithima auction lot is our first Kenya arrival of the new main crop harvest, the first of about 6 that will come through the season. It is a cooperative coffee (they call it a Society in Kenya, a group of smallholder farms that share a milling station). Ithima is in the Meru growing district, to the north and the west of Mt. Kenya. This region has a average growing altitude of 5300 feet, and characterized by rolling hills (as opposed to the flat plains of other areas on the Mount Kenya plateau. Meru is also the name of the people, who are related to the larger Kikuyu tribe, and most of the coffee in Meru is grown by societies as opposed to the relatively few single-owner farms / estates. This cup should be perfect for those who don't like the high citric acidity of some of the heavyweight Kenyas. It has a moderate acidity, balancing out a rather silky body, and a very rounded mouthfeel overall. The list of aromas and flavors I get from this coffee is a bit over-the-top, I know. But the character seems to have different faces it shows each time I cup it (and all are good!) One time I get rose aromatics and rose hips in the cup, hints of peach, and a sweet finish with a bit of corriander. Another time I get cedar aromatics, plum and red apple in the cup, and black walnut in the finish. Hey, I don't mind ... a good coffee, a complex coffee, is going to reveal different flavors at different temperatures, as the cups cool.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / mild acidity with balance and floral/fruit notes
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City+ : The lighter roasts have more of a "rose hips" fruit/floral character, whereas the Full City roasts turn to a more winey fruit character.
Score (Max. 100) 87.8 Compare to: Ithima is a softer, more balanced cup profile, not a prickly, citric Kenya.

Kenya AA Auction Lot - Mbwinjeru
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Auction Lot #673* Region: Meru District Mark: Mbwinjeru Society
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: May 2005 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: SL-28, SL-34
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: We cup a LOT of Kenyas in the process of selecting the auction lots we bid on, and after a few years of this I start to wonder (sometimes cynically) about all these crazy names on these coffees. Kenyas are named for either small private estates or co-operative milling stations, called "societies". You see so many unpronounceable names, and you wonder if some fiend isn't just making these up using scrabble letters (mostly consonants too) in a back room in Nairobi. And each year it seems to be different names, different co-ops, that have the really great coffees. Coffee is the result of many factors, and the idea that the same piece of land produces the same coffee from year to year is way too simplistic. Well, despite that I thought it would be fun to request very specific samples from coffees we have cupped and bought in past years. The results were mostly this: I could see traces of the good cup qualities I remember for the lots we bought, but these new crop samples were largely NOT the excellent, exemplary Kenyas I had been taken by in the past. For example, remember Kora Peaberry and Tegu Peaberry from last year? Well, forget about them this year. Remember Gaturiri? Remember Kiugu. No way pal, they were all very average. And that's after cupping 150-200 lots over the season, all blind. But here is the exception. Mbwinjeru is a Meru coffee we loved in 2003, and here it is again, as good or better than that 2003 lot, with very much the same deep, complex, seductive cup character. The Mbwinjeru tastes like somebody distilled the essence of sweet ripe blackberry, laced it with red currant, added the slightest touch of Meyer lemon, and infused into a clean, classic Kenya cup profile. It's awesome, not like those grab-your-tongue-and-rip-it-out citric Kenyas. This is a deep, sly, plush, aromatic cup. and ... heh, heh ... we bought the whole darn lot!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.1
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.5
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Primary Attribute: Mild-Medium / Sweet and bright
add 50 50 Roast: My favorite: a lighter City roast stopped before 2nd crack, but at a point where the roast has fully developed and there is no "wrinkly" surface to the seed. REmember that Kenyas tend to show a darker surface color than other coffees at a comparable degree of roast.
Score (Max. 100) 88.9 Compare to: Bright, balanced, abundantly sweet -better and better as the cup cools.
(* We didn't use the lot number in the name of the coffee for internal reasons - having 2 Kenya lots that begin with M and lot numbers so similar can create errors when we pull together customer orders! -Tom)

Kenya AA Auction Lot Kangocho
Country: Kenya Grade: AA Auction Lot Region: Kangocho, Nyeri District Mark: Kangocho Society (Cooperative)
Processing: Wet Process Crop: December 2004 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Unknown cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: I thought we had gone through all our Kenya lots and the Karatina was our last (it has sold quicker than others but it was a much larger lot than the others so that's why it outlasted the other Auction coffees). Anyway, the auctions are over so that's that ... and although there is "fly crop" Kenya, lots from the smaller flowering and harvest that occurs in the offseason, we usually don't buy from those offerings. But it turns out that a coffee from the main auction crop, one I had cupped, liked and basically been outbid on, was available from another source. Did they buy too much and couldn't use it? Why would they be selling it. I don't know and don't care - I bought it all! So, unexpectedly, we have a late, late Kenya offering of a coffee I really like. This lot is a deep-toned Kenya that is not one of those "makes-you-want-to-pucker" Kenyas of the citrus/grapefruit variety. With a darker roast treatment it has an almost brutish character, a coffee with swagger and a bittersweet pungency. The character lends itself to heavier, darker roasting than other more floral Kenyas. But at a City + roast it has this very rounded, orange-peel character ... both in the aromatics and the cup flavors. It finishes with a rindy nip, but is overall fairly mellow when you think of those really, really acidic Kenyas that want to twist your tongue out and fling it across the room. This coffee is grown at a very high altitude on the Mt. Kenya Plateau, 5013 feet, which explains the bean density and bright lively character. Kangocho is about 3 miles from Gaturiri, which explains the similarities in character between that coffee and this, especially with the darker roast intensity, aggressive cup character, and long aftertaste.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / dark bittersweet pungency in the darker roast levels
add 50 50 Roast: Full City (expect dark surface bean color for corresponding degree of roast)if youw ant the more aggressive cup. This has a softer, more lush orangey character at the City + stage than you might expect too. See notes above.
Score (Max. 100) 87.7 Compare to: A Kenya with a rounded cup - not overly acidic… (the acidity rating of 9 is for quality of acidity, not quantity.)

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