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Costa Rica  

Costa Rica Coop Libertad WP Decaf
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Central Valley Mark: CoopLibertad
Processing: Wet-Processed, then water process decaf Crop: Sept 2007 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: It used to be that water-process decafs were generic coffees; you really couldn't verify that the original source coffee was a good cup ... or even specialty coffee at all! It was possible for large roasters to send their own lots to Swiss Water for decaffeination, but that was impossible for everyone else. So often the source lot was bought by the decaffeinating facility, and their goal was to cut cost. Now we have been able to buy coffees that we cup as regular non-decaf lots and verify the quality, then re-cup after decaffeination to see the effect of the process. That's the case here with this lot from Coop Libertad in the Central Valley growing region. It really has appropriate Costa Rica cup character: This comes through very well after the Water Process decaf in this cup.The cup has bright aromatics, both dry fragrance and wet. There's a sweet roasty note, honeyed with a hint of light mollasses. The cup is bright, sweet and floral, suprisingly delicate for a decaf. It has honeysuckle floral notes, a small ampount of sweet citrus, and a very clean finish. Quite a classic Central cup profile, considering it has to endure the indignity of the decaf process, I am surprised at the elegance of this cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Outstanding clarity and brightness, crisp cup profile  
add 50 50 Roast: City to City + is ideal. See the notes above about brightness and acidity.
Score (Max. 100) 85.7 Compare to: Brighter than most decafs, aside from Kenya.

Costa Rica Tarrazú - La Minita
 
Country:
Costa Rica
Grade:
SHB
Region:
Tarrazú
Mark:
La Minita
Processing:
Washed
Crop:
August 2007 Arrival
Appearance:
0 d/300gr
16/17scr
Varietal:
Hibrido Typica, Catuaí, Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.7
Notes: La Minita is a pedigree coffee for sure. You can open countless coffee books (Kummer's Joy of Coffee and Knox's Coffee Basics to name two) and read endless praise of the Bill McAlprin's La Minita farm and their exacting standards. It is so well thought of that at SCAA seminars I heard it referred to by 3 separate speakers: " When you cup the finest coffees, like a La Minita for instance ..." and so on. What's neat is that La Minita really does stand up as tall as its reputation (unlike JBM's, some Hawaiians, etc.). And it does so not by conking you over the head with its power. It's actually milder in acidity compared to some other Costa Rican coffees from the Tarrazú region. What it has is a refined sweetness in the cup, balance. It's a very mild, bright coffee. For me, it has a fresh red apple fruitiness to it, and in a slightly darker roasts it turns to a winey-berry flavor. There's some spice, hints of cinnamon and anise, and in the lighter roasts an almondy roast taste with vanilla hints. The aromatics are sweet and clean. It's always an elegant, refined, clean cup (it has something we call "great transparency" in cupping), but keep the roast light if you can (see roast notes below). The farm itself is a model of perfection in terms of technical standards and beauty. The coffee is milled and prepared meticulously and is not brokered by an indifferent third party, but by Hacienda La Minita themselves. It's also a model for how quality can sustain super-premium prices in a very unstable coffee market. The La Minita model is so successful that they begin to apply the same exacting standards to other coffees, and yielding premium prices.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.7
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0
add 50 50.0
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Clean, delicate , sweet cup.
Roast: City to Full City+: My preference with the La Minita is for a light City roast beacuse there are more floral notes in the cup, but FC has a good sweet brightness too.
Score (Max. 100) 86
Compare to: The epitome of delicate, refined, clean Central American coffee.

Costa Rica Dota Peaberry Special
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Dota Tarrazu
(Santa Maria de Dota)
Mark: Coopedota
Processing: Wet - process Crop: Oct 2007 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 17-18 PB Screen Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: We have focused much on the small growing region of Santa Maria de Dota in the past few years, namely because it has some of the highest grown coffees in Costa Rica, and unique flavor characteristics particular to the region. This was a special lot that the coffee Co-op prepared for Sweet Maria's this year, and I went down in February to cup this and many other small micro-lots from the mill. It all worked out quite nice: our peaberry was this best lot of the 50 we evaluated! The dry fragrance has ripe fruit, a touch of amaretto, and chocolate character. Wet aromatics turn to a zesty, ripe orange fruit, syrupy, a bit winey. There is a dash of spice there, definitely clove in the FC roast. In the cup there is a crisp, white grape juice flavor in the City and the City+ roasts, turning to a white wine note , and then at FC+, masked by tangy chocolate roast taste. Fruited notes, with perhaps a wine suggestion, is exactly what we expect from a great high-grown Dota coffee, and perhaps the result of the tradition in this area to pick the red coffee cherry very ripe, when it turns nearly crimson. This coffee is very sweet. The body is rich and velvety, which contributes to this overall impression that Dota coffees offer a rounder, more substatinal cup character than more light-bodied Costa Rica growing regions. There's just more weight, more heft, to this cup. While the lighter roast has a malty, almost graham-cracker sweetness, this turns to bittersweet chocolate (laced with fruit) as you reach FC and FC+ roast stages. But even as the chocolate notes increase pleasant bittering notes, the sweetness in the cup still prevails in the aftertaste.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.7
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.7
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Delicate of sweetness, chocolate.  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ for maximum bright winey fruit, FC+ for chocolate with fruited hints lurking in the back.
Score (Max. 100) 86.4 Compare to: Balanced Central cup profile, more body and less brightness than other Costa Ricas.

Costa Rica La Horqueta "Top 50"
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Llano Bonito de Naranjo Mark: Finca La Horqueta, Top 50 meters.
Processing: Wet - process Crop: August 2007 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.7 Notes: This is another example of "cherry-picking. " Um, it's coffee cherry of course, that's not what I mean. What we have here is coffee skimmed from the highest 50 meters of the all the planted areas at the excellent farm La Horqueta. The farm is in a region known as Llano Bonito de Naranjo, at an altitude of 1500 meters. This lot is from the highest points, from up to 1600 meters. Naranjo coffees have been some of my favorites lately, with classic Costa Rica character; bright and delicate acidity, mild citrus and floral notes, a clean finish. These are classic Central American profile coffees, and reminds me of the Tres Rios La Magnolia in that respect. The fragrance from the dry grounds is very nutty at the City+ roast, with vanilla traces. The wet aroma has a strong nutty aspect, lemon and zesty spices, with unusual mineraly highlights (terroir, literally? no.) The cup is clean and bright, with zesty lemon rind, and sweet floral high notes. It's a nuanced and mild cup, in the tradition of delicate Central coffees. The aftertaste is short and sweet, cleanly fading. With a bit more roast, heading into 2nd crack, the cup changes quite a bit, with tangy roast notes and chocolate coming forward. Body remains bouyant and light in all roast ranges.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.7
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) .5 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Delicate balance of fine floraland fruit  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to FC+ - nutty roast tastes in the City range and milk chocolate at FC+(ie. the usual for classic Centrals)
Score (Max. 100) 86.3 Compare to: Bright, Lively Cup; classic clean Central


Costa Rica Naranjo Caracol Peaberry
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Naranjo District Mark: CooproNaranjo
Processing: Wet - process Crop: July 2007 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 PB Screen Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: This is another lot I found when I visited the Naranjo region this past February. Actually, in a way the lot found me ... the coffee Co-op in Naranjo set aside this peaberry lot thinking I might like it. They were right, in fact it was the best coffee I cupped in that region on the whole trip. If I am not completely disoriented by the Costa Rica apellation system, Naranjo area is considered a West Valley coffee, but the area around Naranjo is special in many ways. It has a highly organized coop (CooproNaranjo) for the mutual benefit of the coffee workers, it has a long history of high quality coffee production, and it has great altitude. The range tends to be 1500 meters to 1700 meters for the really nice Naranjo coffees, and it is necessary to give the coffee seed density, and impart that bright citric note in the cup. Caracol Peaberry is a bit redundant. In Spanish, peaberry is called "caracol", which is also the term for a snail! You can see the resemblence, in a way (not in taste, I hope.) The fragrance from the dry grounds is delicate, with tangerine-orange hints, and vanilla-toffee sweetness. That sweetness has the allure of ripe mandarin in the wet aromatics, with chocolate and toffee at FC roast. I get some spicey hints, white pepper and even a bit of cayenne in the cup. Speaking of ... the cup is so clean, with the addition of floral aromatic components, light syrup notes, pear juice, and citrus brightness (pink grapefruit in the City roast sample). The light roasts are very high-toned, perhaps too sour for some folks. I like that screaming alto high-note in the cup, and here it doesn't have the astringent tightness to the finish that makes brightness in coffee unpleasant. It just rings out, clear as a bell, and fades into the aftertaste, with a lemony trace. But I think the chocolate that develops at FC might be the better cup, more complex. The body is medium to light, depending a bit on roast and how long the coffee is rested between roasting and tasting. I find a nut fat waxyiness in the mouthfeel; I don't know if that description makes sense, but it is like the lipids that you sense after eating a walnut. I recommend C+ to FC. My City roast is awfully light and a bit grainy, like baked cereal, but still quite nice in the cup. If you get into 2nd crack, you lose track of what this coffee is about, bright, graceful high notes, clean fruited tastes.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 2.9
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.5 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Delicate balance of fine floral and fruit, good chocolate at FC roast  
add 50 50 Roast: See the description: C+ for the bright citrusy cup, FC to FC+ to add a dimension of chocolate to that.
Score (Max. 100) 86.5 Compare to: Bright, Lively , light-bodied cup, clean, classic Central character,

Costa Rica Coop Dota Dry-Process
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Dota Tarrazu Mark: Coopedota
Processing: Natural sun-dry process Crop: June 2007 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: 100% Yellow Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: This is about as unusual as it gets; a full natural, sun-dried coffee from one of the highest altitude growing regions of Costa Rica, the Dota valley. What does this mean? Basically, that a traditional Ethiopia dry-process was performed at a traditionally wet-process origin. The ripe coffee cherry is picked from the tree (in this case, more exotic because it is 100% Yellow Catuai, where the fruit ripens to a yellow, not red color). Then, instead of beginning the wet-process by depulping (removing the skin) and fermenting the cherry for 12-24 hours, this ripe coffee cherry is simply laid out on the sunny patio to dry. With all the skin and fruit of the coffee fruit intact, it dries like a raisin, the mucilage turning to a sweet, chewy, dehydrated form, encoating the green seed protected by its parchment layer. Once fully dried, it is left to rest for some days, then in one step the skin, dried fruit flesh, parchment layer and all are torn from the green seed. The result is something between an Ethiopia coffee and a Costa Rica, quite strange but, in this case, quite excellent. And it might appeal to those who have found typical Costa Rica too thin, lacking power, or body. Then again, it might appall those who relish the sweet, clean, bright CR character. This is monstrous, from that perspective. For the professional cupper, tasting this requires a willful "forgetting" ... forget all standards for CR coffees, cup it as you would an earthy Indonesia lot, or a fruited natural Ethiopia coffee. You just ask yourself, with the right roast (dark, FC or more), is it good? Is it fruited, or fermented? Is it rustic, or is it foul and dirty. For me, it is certainly a great, exotic, rustic cup. The dry fragrance is fruited: coffee flower, pineapple, fruity bittersweet chocolate. The wet aroma similar, and the fruited notes have a ripe, winey aspect. In the cup the first thing to register in the light roast is wild, dried strawberry, with a winey aspect to it. As it fades, it suggests papaya, and concord grape (in the C+ roast). The body is very viscous and dense at both C+ and FC+ roast ... in fact this coffee is no less intense at the light roasts as it is dark. The difference is the level of chocolate, and the tonality of the fruited notes. The aftertaste is pleasant, with bittersweet chocolate as a backdrop, and dark raisin notes. Let me be clear; this coffee would be thrown out of a CoE competition before the water ever hit the cup. It's considered defective by conventional standards. But as you can tell by my effusive description, I endorse it heartily. This cup character isn't for those who love traditional Costa Rica coffees.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Heavy body, fruited notes,  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City+ has best cup for the full-body-plus-chocolate character, whereas City+ features the fruited notes.
Score (Max. 100) 86.1 Compare to: Fairly incomparable - similar to the pulp natural Centrals of the more rustic type.

Costa Rica La Candelilla Estate Gesha
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Tarrazu region Mark: La Candelilla Estate
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: August 2007 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Gesha Cultivar (Geisha)
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: La Candelilla has had Gesha for years; in fact this special cultivar from Ethiopia was first established in the Americas at a coffee research garden in Costa Rica. From there it spread to a few farms, including the well known Hacienda Esmeralda in Panama. Now be warned, this cups has a very subtle Gesha-like floral character. It is there for sure, but not as it is in the outrageous Esmeralda Especial Gesha. I would guess it is a blend of Gesha and another cultivar based on the cup, but it is pure Gesha ... the difference is that the cultivar expresses itself a bit differently in different climates, soild, altitudes. You can think of it as a more balanced cup too, with the floral aspect encompassing deeper, fruited coffee-flower notes. There's a supporting layer of flavor, good honeyed-sweetness with some more aggressive bittersweet components too. The fragrance is sweet, dominated by caramel, which turns to dark brown sugar in the wet aroma. There are fruited and floral hints in the aromatics (especially in the lighter roasts) but they are subdued and emerge as the cup cools much more. The cup flavors range from chocolate to sandalwood, still sweetly caramelly, with apple and tamarind emergent. It has a juicy impression on the palate, and Papaya starts to come through in the finish. As mentioned, this cup comes to life as it cools, with the trademark Gesha floral elements becoming more animated as the temperature decreases. Other Gesha coffees are more extreme than La Candelilla Gesha, some so extreme they taste more like flaoring has been added, or like a tea! This might not be the Gesha-cultivar coffee that konks you over the head with it's uniqueness, it's not going to score in the 90's with me, but it might be more "drinkable" than the others because at the end of the day, it really tastes like a great balanced, complex coffee.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity/balanced Gesha cup character  
add 50 50 Roast: City reveals more Gesha character, but the strength of THIS gesha coffee is it's balance, which is best at FC roast.
Score (Max. 100) 88.6 Compare to: More depth and complexity that most Costa Rica coffees, with the added layer of floral and fruit from unique Ethiopia Gesha cultivar.

Costa Rica Tarrazú - La Minita
 
Country:
Costa Rica
Grade:
SHB
Region:
Tarrazú
Mark:
La Minita
Processing:
Washed
Crop:
August 2007Arrival
Appearance:
0 d/300gr
16/17scr
Varietal:
Hibrido Typica, Catuaí, Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.7
Notes: La Minita is a pedigree coffee for sure. You can open countless coffee books (Kummer's Joy of Coffee and Knox's Coffee Basics to name two) and read endless praise of the Bill McAlprin's La Minita farm and their exacting standards. It is so well thought of that at SCAA seminars I heard it referred to by 3 separate speakers: " When you cup the finest coffees, like a La Minita for instance ..." and so on. What's neat is that La Minita really does stand up as tall as its reputation (unlike JBM's, some Hawaiians, etc.). And it does so not by conking you over the head with its power. It's actually milder in acidity compared to some other Costa Rican coffees from the Tarrazú region. What it has is a refined sweetness in the cup, balance. It's a very mild, bright coffee. For me, it has a fresh red apple fruitiness to it, and in a slightly darker roasts it turns to a winey-berry flavor. There's some spice, hints of cinnamon and anise, and in the lighter roasts an almondy roast taste with vanilla hints. The aromatics are sweet and clean. It's always an elegant, refined, clean cup (it has something we call "great transparency" in cupping), but keep the roast light if you can (see roast notes below). The farm itself is a model of perfection in terms of technical standards and beauty. The coffee is milled and prepared meticulously and is not brokered by an indifferent third party, but by Hacienda La Minita themselves. It's also a model for how quality can sustain super-premium prices in a very unstable coffee market. The La Minita model is so successful that they begin to apply the same exacting standards to other coffees, and yielding premium prices.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.7
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0
add 50 50.0
Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Clean, delicate , sweet cup.
Roast: City to Full City+: My preference with the La Minita is for a light City roast beacuse there are more floral notes in the cup, but FC has a good sweet brightness too.
Score (Max. 100) 86.3
Compare to: The epitome of delicate, refined, clean Central American coffee.

Costa Rica Cup of Excellence "SLGLA" (Santa Lucia, Génesis, Los Anonos)
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Naranjo and Zarcero, Alajuela Region Mark: 2007 Costa Rica Auction Lot #16
Processing: Wet process, sun-dried with covers Crop: September 2007 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Caturra, Catuai, Villalobos
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.9 Notes: This lot was my hands down favorite auction lot in the first ever 2007 Costa Rica Cup of Excellence Competition. I couldn't believe that it wasn't at least a top 10 coffee, if not top 5. But that’s how competitions go … it's a group consensus of judges who may or may not share your opinions ... in other words, a democracy! That's a good thing, but as in politics, sometimes things end up a bit inverted and senseless. SLGLA??? Let me explain. Here we have a small lot from 3 small farms who pulled together to enter a coffee in the competition. While a "blend" of the farms might sound improper to some purists, they all share a common cup character, and the results are (as I have said) outstanding. They are all from close proximity in the Naranjo- region. The farms are quite little: Ricardo Pérez Barrantes' Santa Lucia is 12 hectares, Oscar Méndez Acuña's Finca Genesis is 16 and , Marvin Rodriguez' Villalobos Los Anonos farm is 9. (Many C.R. farms are 150-250 hectares.) SLGLA ; I admit it is such a sloppy apellation for such a clean, beautiful, dynamic coffee ... but what else can I do with all those farm names tossed in togehter? Anyway, while this lot is not certified, all three farmers are using organic methods. And all have amazing altitude, averaging 1775 meters! The result is this very lively, bright, bubbly flavor profile. I recommend a light roast here, City to City +, and my comments are based on that degree, but if the cup is too citric for you, it works as an outstanding darker roast too. The dry grounds are very nutty, laced with Dutch Cocoa and some spice (anise) hints. The wet aroma is so sweet and citric, full of lemon blossom, with honeysuckle flower and light malted sweetness. The cup follows suit: a very clean, bright coffee. There is a sweet lemon quality, floral-citric, with a dynamic "alto" range tonality to the cup overall. It's not a big, rounded, expansive type of cup; rather it is structured, well defined, and articulate. The coffee fades from the palate with a pinpoint sweetness. Interestingly, it is quite mild in other categories, with an appropriate, but not excessive body. What a classic cup though, everything in such proportion, as if someone had balanced and measured the flavor "ingredients" to result in this exact cup profile. It's for those who like bright and dynamic coffees, not necessarily overpowering, but also very approachable. (For great results, try a vacuum brewer with this coffee. We brewed this in a Yama with a Cona filter rod, had outstanding results).
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Incredibly clean, bright, citric and floral  
add 50 50 Roast: City to City+ for the bright, intense cup I describe. But this coffee makes an outstanding FC+ roast too. It's an especially roast-sensitive coffee so expect to see flavor shifts with each batch.
Score (Max. 100) 89.1 Compare to: Classic bright Central American coffee with excellent structure. It's an easy coffee to "drink" rather than "taste". Slow down and pay attention to it's subtle charm!

Costa Rica Vino de Arabia
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Central Valley, San Isidro de Heredia Mark: Brumas del Zurqui Estate
Processing: Pulp natural process, screen dried Crop: May 2007 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Caturra, Catuai
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: This coffee is a micro lot that originates at a larger farm, Brumas del Zurqui, located in the area of San Isidro de Heredia, Central Valley. Instead of their wet-process/fermentation method, this is a pulp natural coffee where the mucilage is mechanically removed (not totally) and then the parchment coffee is allowed to sun dry. The results of this method allow for some subtle changes based on the technique used, and how much fruity mucilage is allowed to remain on the parchment-coated green bean. It also requires effective, rapid sun-drying, and to this end the farm uses raised beds in the African style, so air can circulate all around the coffee. While we have offered some pulp natural coffees that are very rustic and fruited in the cup (perhaps due to larger amounts of fruit left on the parchment seed, and longer dry times) here we have a different cup result. The Vino de Arabia is quite elegant, with a rounded full body and distinct winey notes (hence the name!) The dry fragrance has both wine and chocolate hints with the wet aromatic having chocolate-nut balance and good intensity. Right away there is a clear sense that this is not the simple, clean, thin, bright Costa Rican cup type. Instead, this is incredibly rounded in terms of mouthfeel, with silky chocolate body, accented by red wine notes. It has a great sweet-bittersweet balance (like a nice chocolate like Vahlrona). The finish has ripe fruit, and as it cools the well-defined winey aspect comes to the foreground. This has a more moderate acidity than other Costa Rica coffees, but this rounded, balanced cup, lush wine-laced fruit and chocolate result in a very appealing cup profile.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Delicate balance of fine floral and fruit  
add 50 50 Roast: City+, seriously … the bright notes are buried at FC+
Score (Max. 100) 87.1 Compare to: Winey, rounded Central America coffees: this is neither like a typical Costa Rica nor is it like a Pulp Natural, although it is!

Costa Rican Tres Rios - La Magnolia
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Tres Rios Mark: La Magnolia
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: April 2007 arrival  Appearance:
0 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen
Varietal: Catuai and Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5

Notes: This is going to sound ridiculous, but this coffee has a lot of "coffee flavor". I just don’t know how else to describe the clean, balanced charm of this cup profile, and it has been like this for years. We have been stocking the La Magnolia, a coffee milled to exacting standards, for quite a few years now. The coffee comes from a small beneficio, and used to be sold exclusively in Europe. And year after year this mill is producing a consistently excellent cup under the classic La Magnolia trade name. Each year I put it up against all the other Costa samples in a blind cupping, and it simply shimmers. By now it's no surprise when I turn over the I.D. card for the sample and see it's the La Magnolia. There are both mid-range floral and hazelnut hints in the dry fragrance, along with a mild secondary aroma of caraway seed. The wet aromatics turn much more lively and dynamic, with citrus-flower blooms and the smell of sweet bread baking. The cup has a light body and a mild intensity to match, a beautifully delicate and refined cup. It has nippy tangerine-citrus flavors with just a twist of rind, a crystalline sugar sweetness, and a beautifully sweet finish. Roasted to a City+, this is one of the most beautiful and delicate coffees my palate has had the pleasure of enjoying (note that FC is a great roast this year - see below). It is especially true with the La Magnolia that any dirtiness in your brewing system will show up very clearly in this cup, about as desirable as stepping on a thorn ... so keep your stuff clean and enjoy this sweet nuanced cup! I think it's a more complex cup than previous years, but still has the top end of the flavor spectrum, that crystal clear brightness that defines the really good Costa Rican coffees. I was joking with someone that this coffee has such a clean, delicate cup, you could use it to test the quality/cleanliness of coffeemakers. If you pick up any bitter, acrid note, clean your coffeemaker, because it definitely isn't the La Magnolia causing it!





Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.2
Body - Movement (1-5) 2.9
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild intensity / Delicate acidity, floral and citric, pristine clean cup
Add 50 50.0 Roast: City Roast is my usual recommendation for La Magnolia- but I think this year I am enjoying FC more.
Score (Max. 100) 85.9 Compare to: More complex than the usual Tres Rios coffees, a bright, clean cup with good spice and fruit.

Costa Rica Tres Rios WP Decaf
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: West Valley, Tres Rios Region Mark: Tres Rios SHB Lot
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: December 2006 arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Catuai, Caturra, Costa Rica 95
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: It used to be that water decafs were generic coffees; you really couldn't verify that the source coffee was a good cup, or even specialty coffee at all! It was possible for large roasters to send their own lots to Swiss Water for decaffeination, but that was impossible for everyone else. Now we have been able to buy coffees that we cup as regular coffees and verify the quality, then re-cup after decaffeination to see the effect of the process. This is from the West Valley area, Tres Rios region (where Magnolia comes from) and is from the La Laguna mill. It really has appropriate Costa Rica cup character: This comes through very well after the Water Process decaf in this cup. It is medium-bodied with a bright snap to it and good sweetness. I get sweet pepper hints too, like red bell pepper and even a touch of cayenne in the finish. The body is light, but seems totally appropriate for the snappy, lively cup character. What is most distinct about this cup is the nutty roast character that emerges at a City+ roast stage and is the dominant theme through the Full City+ stage. And Vienna roast of this lot is very nice too ... It also makes a good addition to a decaf blend to add a higher note to the cup, for example, a blend of 50% Sulawesi or Sumatra for the bass notes and 50% CR Decaf for the brighter notes.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.3
Body - Movement (1-5) 2.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Roast: City + is ideal to maintain the brightness in the cup - Nuttiness persists from City+ to Full City+
add 50 50 Compare to: Bright, clean, nutty decafs like the Panama decafs
Score (Max. 100) 84.4 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild / Nutty

Costa Rica Dota Tarrazu -Hermosa
Country: Costa Rica Grade: SHB Region: Dota, Tarrazu Mark: Coopedota RL, Hermosa
Processing: Wet-Process Crop: August 2006 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: Dota is a sub-region of Tarrazu, a valley that is, well, sort of bowl-like. Not only is the altitude exceptionally high (5,000 to 6,000 feet) but the physical shape of the valley also contributes to a unique cup character that (if you follow our track record buying Dota coffees) is extraordinary. Caturra culitivar may contribute to the fruited note in the cup, and altitude makes this bright, snappy acidity possible, so the winey notes we might attribute to the special weather and soil of the Dota microregion. The dry grounds have a very chocolate bittersweet to them, but there are toasted almond accents too. When the hot water hits the grounds, I get a pleasantly surprising black tea aroma laced with floral notes. The City+ roast I did of this coffee is outstanding: I get blackberry tea flavors, floral elements, and that unique winey fruit found in great Dota coffees. It's sweet from start to finish, with fairly light body. I get some mint herbal hints in the finish, fading to red grape. This is an excellent Dota coffee, with true origin character (or terroir, if you prefer the wine language). The long aftertaste has this pesistent clean berry-to-grape sweetness, a cleanly disappearing cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.7
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 2.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-to-medium intensity/winey fruited notes, berry, tea  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ is recommended for the delicate cup I describe, but FC has great chocolate bittersweetness.
Score (Max. 100) 87.5 Compare to: Very Dota-like in character, bright, berry like winey notes.

Dominican Republic  

Dominican Republic -Montana Verde Estate
Country: Dominican Republic Grade: HB Region: Bani Mark: Montana Verde Estate
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: 2000 Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 16/18scr Varietal:
Dry Fragrance (1-5) NA Notes:Overall the coffee is mild and soft. It is clear it is an island coffee and not from a super high altitude. That said, there is a lot going on in this cup ...even without a huge aftertaste I get a lot of different flavors here. The main flavor is linked to the acidity: grapes and apples , not fully fermented or fresh --somewhere in between. That may bug some people; I like it. Typical Central Am. acidity is judged for clarity, like ringing a bell: here the bell is rung but with your other hand on it the sound is muted. (Sounds corny, but this analogy really describes the taste in this coffee for me). Theres also hints of vanilla and spice (allspice) that lurk behind the fruit. Haitian coffee is the original new world coffee, I imagine this Dominican is what the folks woke up to in the Americas circa 1700!
Wet Aroma (1-5) NA
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) NA
Flavor - Depth (1-10) NA
Body - Movement (1-5) NA
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) NA
Cupper's Correction (1-5) NA Intensity/Prime Attribute:
add 50 50 Roast:Full City - Vienna -French . I like the caramel-apple flavors I get from the lighter roast of this coffee, but there is a sourness in the acidity that some might not like. It turns to a very nice sharp pungency in the darker roasts though, which makes this a popular choice for those with Vienna / French Roast tendencies.
Score (Max. 100) NA Compare to: Fruity like some Central Americans, mild and simple like Island coffees

See the 2001-2002 Review Archive


Ecuador 
Ecuador EScafe Co-op (Transitional Organic)
Country: Ecuador Grade: SHG Region: Central Highland: Charguarpamba, Loja Province Mark: ESCafe Co-op
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: Jan 2004 arrival Appearance: 1 d/300gr, 17 Screen Varietal: Bourbon, Caturra
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes:This is the first sample I have seen of Ecuadorian coffee that rises above average, decent cup quality. It has a character to it that is unique, and a bit rustic. This makes sense because this coffee is the result of 15 combined Co-ops and over 800 small farms ... very small, often less than 2 acres. The farms are promised prices between 25-45% more than they get on the local market, mostly resulting from a second payment made to them when the coffee sells in the US at an above average price to companies like Sweet Maria's. The Co-op has offered the coffee directly as a consignment lot, because it is difficult to get the established coffee brokers to take a risk on Ecuadorian coffee. That's a shame because the cup is excellent as are the Co-ops aims. Much of the price premium is reinvested in education and equipment improvements. In this way they can further improve consistency and cup-quality, and the Co-op can break the low-price cycle that has kept Ecuador from being recognized in the Specialty Coffee market. The cup has moderate acidity, fairly light body, and a fairly short aftertaste. But the dry fragrance of the cup is very sweet, caramelly and with spice hints. It drops a bit of that in the wet aromatics, but the sweetness and spice reemerge as cup flavors. As the cup cools the spice becomes more distinctly cardamom in character, and this pairs well with roasts tastes that are milk chocolate in tone. There is very slight husky note (and not unpleasant!) in some cups that reminds me this is a cooperative/organic coffee, but sweetness prevails... This coffee is "transitional organic", meaning it is grown organically but the 3 year certification is not complete: they receive true Organic status in June this year. We bought this coffee with the false impression it was organic, and we don't call ANYTHING organic unless it is certified. But we decided to not reneg on the purchase because the cup is really so good...
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute:Mild / Balance
add 50 50 Roast:Full City: This coffee has a good range but retains the most sweetness right at Full City.
Score (Max. 100) 85 Compare to: My first thought was that this reminds me of wet-processed Indonesian like Timor.

See the 2003-2004 Archive


El Salvador  is filed under S for Salvador
Ethiopia 

Ethiopia Organic Dry-Process Golocha
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 3 Region: Golocha Mark: IPS Project, Golocha
Processing: Dry-Processed Crop: October 2007 Arrival Appearance: 1.8 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: Gololcha is one of IPS coffee development projects found in Arsi zone, Oromia Region, 310 km east of Ethiopia's capital of Addis Ababa. (Factoid: Arsi is a place where the best athletes of the world in mid-distance run come from, including Haile Gebreselasie). The area is not far from the ancinet city of Harar, and is a heavily forested zone. Modern coffee farming has been introduced in Gololcha 15 years ago by two Belgium expats, but like many areas in Ethiopia, coffee can be found growing wild in the forest forever. This coffee is the result of a quality-improvement project (called IPS Golocha Sole) to aid farmers in getting the best price for coffee. It's a unique situation: IPS built the coffee mill and the road to it (there were no roads previously to Golocha), but the farmers still must use horses and mules to transport the coffee from the communities to the mill via trails. The Golocha farmers are usually intercropping coffee with other food plants, and maintaining a balance between forest shade and allowing enough sun for the coffee to thrive. The altitiude is very high in this area, 1800-2000 meters. The cup has strongly fruited notes, with outstanding body. The aromatics have apricot fruited highlights with herbal hints. At darker FC+ roast level, the coffee has complex chocolate notes laced with winey fruit, while at City+ there is a dried apricot fruit to it. At all roast levels the body/mouthfeel is impressive: viscous, thick, heavy. The cup has strong rustic chocolate and fruit, and finishes with good bittersweet notes. While Golocha is near Harar, it resembles a cross between traditional longberry Harar and the apricot-peach laced fruits of a dry-process Sidamo. The acidity is relatively low.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Movement (1-5) 4.4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Rustic, spiced, fruited  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to FC + roast is best: I like a more developed roast taste and a dense, almost creamy body.
Score (Max. 100) 86.8 Compare to: A rustic and raw dry-processed coffee, not for those who want cleanliness and uniformity in their roasting and tasting.

Ethiopia Org. Sidamo DP -Special Selection (Fero Cooperative)
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 4 Region: Fero, Sidamo Mark: Trabocca Special Selection, Fero Cooperative, Certified Organic
Processing: Dry-Processed Crop: September 2007 Arrival Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry Mokka cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.2 Notes: This dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region has often out-cupped the more famous natural coffees of Harar. We have been obtaining a Special Selection lot from a Holland-based source for a few years, and it has come in as the best dry-process (DP) Sidamo of the season. This lot is from a particular coop in the Sidamo region, Fero Cooperative. The process for this special selection involves harvesting ripe cherry, promptly scree-drying on raised beds, and extra steps in sorting the coffee after it is hulled. This differs from other dry-process Ethiopia coffees, which are often picked at the tail-ends of the crop, indiscrimiately picked, and consolidated later (mixing good coffee with bad). It's also the same process used with the Idido Misty Valley coffee, and the results of this careful and coordinated processing really show in the cup. This lot has both berry fruit and dried apricot. It has less distractions in terms of earthy and leathery flavors too, common in DP Sidamo coffees. There's everything else in here too; exotic spice, fresh tobacco, herbs. And oddly enough when we started to brew our test roasts (in this case, the Technivorm), we had ton of blueberry syrup flavors in the cup, something that was not very pronounced on the cupping table. It's intense stuff. As far as variable cups goes, this is true with all dry-processed coffees, and always true with the Ethiopian dry-processed. It's just part of the sun-dried coffee process where whole cherry is patio-dried, then the whole husk and parchment is removed in one step, and all defective coffee seeds are removed by visual sorting. That means a few decent-looking seeds will make it through the process that are indeed a bit over-ripe or under-ripe. You can cull out any really, really light-colored seeds after roasting, or leave them in. As a fun experiment, you can try to grind and brew the light ones, or simple munch on them to get a sense of what they contibute or detract from the cup. In a strict sense (that we grade wet processed coffees) they are defective: underripes. But they are a part of the coffee culture, and the cup, with Ethiopian coffees, where there is no wet-mill equipment to sort coffee; it is all done with the hand and eye.


Fresh red cofffee cherry sun-drying at Fero Coop


Natural coffee after several days of drying at Fero Coop

 

Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity/Heavy body and strong "natural" character - dry fruit, apricot, berry.
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City + roast is best: I like a more developed roast taste which aids some bittersweetness to the cup and compliments the fruit notes.
Score (Max. 100) 89 Compare to: Classic Dry-process coffees of Ethiopia and Yemen.

Ethiopia Organic Limu (Indonesia-Process)
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 3 Region: Gera, Limu (also sp. Limmu) Mark: Gera, Organic, Trabocca
Processing: Semi-wet-Processed Crop: October 2007 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.8 Notes: Limu is a region in the Oromia growing zone located in Southern Ethiopia. Gera is the name of a small cooperative farmers group in the Limu zone. The coffees in this area are processed using the traditional wet fermentation method, and result in a very "Yirgacheffe-like" cup. What does that mean? Bright citrusy notes, floral qualities, effervescence, light body. But here we have a twist on tradition. Our Ethiopia Organic Limu has been processed as some coffees from Sulawesi or Sumatra would be, a hybrid of wet-process and dry-process. In this method, the coffee cherry is de-pulped (meaning the seed is removed from the skin) with the green bean still inside the parchment shell and surrounded by the fruity, sticky mucilage. It is washed through the channels and into a fermentation tank, just as a wet process coffee is ... but the difference is that it is removed after about 10 hours, whereas a wet process coffee would be left for 24 hours. So the fruity mucilage is not fully broken down, and remains on the parchment. Without any further steps, it is immediately dried on raised beds. The result is a bit uncanny, and not at all like a wet-process Limu, not anything like a Sulawesi or Sumatra. It's bright, with punctuated fruit notes, and yet has great body and chocolate roast character. The fragrance of the grounds has semi-sweet chocolate tones with kumquat citrus and an aroma that reminds me of lemon pastry. The wet aroma is odd: at first I get this delightful floral waft, then a husky fruited note that is a result of this Indonesia-style processing. As a cupper evaluating coffee "blind", it is unexpected and my first reaction is to think that a Yirgacheffe was tainted. But there is intention behind this unusual aromatic combination. In the cup there is a strong lemon character, with an herbal dimension to it, reminding me of lemon grass tea. Later, it reminds me of fresh, unfiltered, pulpy lemonade. Lemon doesn't mean sour or unsweet; in fact the coffee is very sweet, with just the slightest rustic edge to it. That's what makes it so different than the ultra-clean (almost artificial) citrus of some Yirgacheffes. It also gives the fruit a slight winey dimension, and that imbues the cup with some Kenya-like character. The finish is slightly rindy and dry in the mouthfeel. I get a generous aftertaste of Rose Hip tea too. It's a great cup for those who like bright coffees, but might come off too bright for those who like the super-low-acid Indonesias.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.1
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Unusual bright citrus flavors, funky sweetness  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ roast is my favorite, but I found FC+ and Vienna to be intriguing too, whereas a Yirg. Falls apart at the darker roasts.
Score (Max. 100) 88.8 Compare to: The bright soaring notes of a Yirgacheffe, with some complex and rustic aspects.

Ethiopia Organic Idido Misty Valley DP
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 1 Region: Idido, Gedio Area, Yirga-Cheffe Mark: Idido town, "Misty Valley" mark
Processing: Screen Dry-Processed Crop: October 2007 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: This is a special lot of dry-processed (DP) coffee from an area within Yirgacheffe: Idido town in the Gedio area of Yirgacheffe. This is quite different from the Natural Yirgacheffe lot we had earlier this season, a much better preparation of the green coffee, uniform roasting, and unique in its flavor profile. As you know, the tradition in Yirgacheffe is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removeing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surrounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult because the milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting ou under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. (You probably know from experience with Harar and the like that the dry-processed green bean is in fact yellow, mostly because it has more of the silverskin, the chaff, still attached to it). The problem in Ethiopia is this: traditional dry-processed coffee is NOT pre-sorted to include only ripe red coffee cherry and it is sun-dried in a rather haphazard fashion. The difference with this lot is night and day (as an experienced eye can see when you look at the unroasted coffee), this originates with ripe cherry, is uniformaly screen-dried in the sun, and has been dry-milled using the same screen and density-sorting techniques as wet-processed lots. And the result is amazing: it is both a traditional "moka" type coffee flavor (chocolate and fruit) with Yigacheffe accents (floral, citrus) and no distracting, overly-earthy notes. Given that, the darker roasts (FC+, Vienna) are surprisingly pungent, with a intense tobacco aromatic, dark chocolate roast taste, and tannic grape skin notes in the background. But it is the City+ roast where the cup has intense sweetness, and liveliness. The dry fragrance is honeyed, with strawberry and cherry fruit notes, and vanilla. Add water and the sweetness becomes sharper, and sweet mango fruit aromas emerge, with floral and citric hints. Cup flavors are like fruit candy, like marmalade. There are tropical fruits, and sweet orange, dried strawberry and citrus flowers. Unlike light roasts of other dry-processed Ethiopias, there is a noticeable refinement and clarity to the finish of the Idido Misty Valley cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.2
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Clean, bright, floral and fruited cup  
add 50 50 Roast: City + is where you will experience the most here, FC+ to Vienna is nice and bittersweet too. … see the comments above
Score (Max. 100) 90.8 Compare to: A fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia without remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, and laced with bright floral notes a la Yirga-Cheffe.

Ethiopia Organic Yirgacheffe
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 2 Region: Yirgacheffe (Yirga-Chefe) Mark: Oromia, Organic Certified
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: October 2007 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: Yirgacheffe coffees are a reknowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. What makes this lot special has a lot to do with logistics. In late Summer and Fall, the Yirgacheffes that arrived early in the season (that being February to April), start to show their age. A Yirgacheffe with a baggy note lurking behind the super-clean citrus and floral brightness is a lot like a showroom condition '56 Thunderbird with a bashed in front end. It's not a total loss, but it's not something you want to drive in the next Shriner Parade either. Cute analogies aside, here we have an excellent organic lot that came in very late in the season, meaning it is going to maintain it's integrity well until early new crop starts to arrive in 2008. The aromatics are so sweet, with rose petal floral notes and citrus blossom dry fragrance. The wet aroma has a winey note, like a dry white, with honeysuckle and pink jasmine floral hints. The cup has the same winey fruited note, with accents of kumquat citrus. As it cools it also has a honey-wine (mead) like tinge in the cup, and aftertaste of maple syrup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Bright citric sweetness  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ roast. Yirgs roasted too dark are just a crying shame!
Score (Max. 100) 88.2 Compare to: A fantastic wet-processed Ethiopia with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, and laced with bright floral-citrus notes key to Yirga-Cheffe.

Ethiopia FTO Harar - Trabocca Oromia
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 3 Region: Hararghe Mark: Oromia Coop, Fair Trade and Organic, Trabocca Export
Processing: Dry-Processed Crop: October 2007 Arrival Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry heirloom cultivars
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: I was so happy to cup this Fair Trade, Organic Harar lot because, admittedly, it's a rough year for Harars. Unseasonable rains damaged the cup quality of many lots during the time they were sun drying. The result has been musty, super unclean cup flavors. Here we have a lot that, while not having the blueberry fruited notes we love so much, has some great cup character. The dry fragrance has strong "dried banana" notes, and tending toward mango (along with good dose of macademia nut). Add hot water and a rustic sweetness comes out, along with winey ripe fruit. There's something I would call "rural" to this aroma; a bit husky, a bit animal, toss in some agriculture ... I guess that's what I mean by rustic, a quaint term for "a little rough and unclean". But hey, that's a major feature of Harars and people who trend this way find it a positive attribute, as do I. My City to City+ roast has a strong apricot note with cinnamon and other mulling spices. FC roast has more woody spice character and loses the apricot tea. The body is fairly light compared to Harar of years past, but I don't find this detrimental to the overall impression. And perhaps as important as what this cup is, I might add what it is NOT: musty and dank ... which put's it ahead of most every Harar I have cupped this season, and that is a lot of them!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.2
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.5 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Rustic sweetness, spice  
add 50 50 Roast: I prefered my City and City+ roasts because of the apricot and tea notes, but FC has
Score (Max. 100) 87 Compare to: One of the best lots of '07 Harar, which is like a pretty fine lot from last season, or a "good average" Harar from 2 years ago. That should put things in perpective!

Ethiopia Kochere District Yirgacheffe
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 2 Region: Kochere, Yirgacheffe Mark: Kochere
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: May 2007 Arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.2 Notes: Yirgacheffe coffees are a reknowned wet-processed type with effervescent brightness in the cup. As a sub-region of Sidamo, Yirgacheffe seemed like quite a specific designation several years ago, but times are changing in the coffee world. As small buyers of micro-lots start to travel to coffee origins more, our ability to designate the source of our coffees becomes more specific. And now we have started to find, within the Yirgacheffe area, special regions with particular cup character. That is the case with this lot, from the are known as Kochere, centered around the village of Chelelektou. And what we have is an extraordary, neon-bright coffee, with soaring floral and citrus high notes. From the dry grounds through the aromatics as the coffee brews, from the tasting to the finish, this coffee has a constantly ascending pitch. There are jasmine and honeysuckle floral aromatics, vivid citrus notes of lime and kumquat in the cup, dashes of cardomom and nutmeg spice, and a remarkable clarity and resolution of these flavors in the aftertaste. It's not a lot for those unsure about bright, dynamic acidity in coffee. But if you like great Kenyas, and the puncuated and piquant highest-grown Centrals than you might have the palate for this Yirgacheffe. I might be getting beside myself here, but I almost recommend buying this lot just to enjoy the smell of grinding it, even if you do not like bright coffees ... that is how intoxicatingly aromatic it is.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.2
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Bright citric sweetness  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ roast. Yirgs roasted too dark are just a crying shame.
Score (Max. 100) 90.8 Compare to: A fantastic wet-processed Ethiopia with remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, and laced with bright floral-citrus notes key to Yirga-Cheffe.

Ethiopia Harar Horse Lot 14659
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 4 Region: Hararghe Mark: M.A.O. Horse
Processing: Dry-Processed Crop: May 2007 Arrival Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen Varietal: Longberry and Shortberry heirloom cultivars
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: I honestly thought we would stock no Harar this year. It's not a rare coffee, there are tons of lots available from the usual coffee brokers. But the samples have been dismal for the new '07 crop; musty, dirty, moldy, fungusy, or just plain flat. The weather betrayed Harar coffee this year, rain during the drying time, drought during the wet time. So you can imagine that I was surprised to cup a small lot of Harar at random and find it was not only free from those defective "dirt and rot" flavors, but was a really nice cup. It was sweet, lively, spicey, silky-bodied, and was marked by candied fruit flavors and sweet spice notes. And equally surprising is that it came from our old supplier Mohammed Ogsadey under his Horse mark, a source that has, in recent times, tasted a bit more like a horse than anything. It was this one lot, with the charming designation of 14659 that was so sweet and delicious, because even it's sister-lot that came with it had weird gamey notes, and a distinct mustiness. Well, I know when I am facing a small miracle, so I bought every bag that remained. This is a different type of coffee than the apricot to blueberry-toned lots of 2+ years ago. The fruited notes are a bit deeper, and in general this lot is not as acidic as those historic ago. It's a very balanced cup between the body, spice notes, fruits and acidity. When I first cupped this I feared I might be experiencing a little "irrational exhuberance," given the miserable quality of all the DP coffees I had cupped this season to date. But I checked and rechecked my cup results and continue to get sweet spice and low-toned jammy fruit notes. In fact, on the second day of rest after roasting, I did find moderate blueberry tones in the FC roast. The City+ roast was my favorite for the herbal tea and fruited notes, where the character was more mango-like. (Note: It is necessary, as with all Ethiopia Dry Process coffees, to cull out 1-2 light beans per batch - these can throw off the cup). In general, this lot makes me more optimistic that there might be another Harar "find" this season. I certainly will keep looking. I am not sure we will see a Harar that can be rated above 90, or in the higher 80s than this lot. So keep your fingers crossed, but in the meantime you might find a lot to enjoy in 14659.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.5 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Sweet candy fruit notes, body, spice.  
add 50 50 Roast: The sweet spot here is at Full City, near 2nd crack but without entering it. The fruited notes are muted a bit at this roast stage, but they behave a nice jammy sweetness. Remember, this is dry-processed natural Harar, so expect some unevenness in roast color, and 1-2 beans that "resist the roast" and should be culled out.
Score (Max. 100) 87.9 Compare to: A nice dry-processed Harar cup, with solid fruited sweet notes, occasional blueberry note, jammy. Note that, because this is a "deeper-toned", lower acid Harar, it has GREAT espresso potential, as straight single-origin shots or in a blend to give a fruited, spicy accent to the cup.

Ethiopia Organic Sidamo DP - Moredocofe
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 4 Region: Sidamo Mark: Moredocofe Cooperative
Processing: Dry-Processed Crop: July 2007 Arrival Appearance: 2 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopia cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.7 Notes: This dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region has a husky character, more of the typical flavors that are inherent to natural dry-processed coffees: earthy, a little hidey, pungent, fruity, and with a very long aftertaste. Only in the past few years have Organic and Fair Trade coffees come from Ethiopia, and all are from a single huge cooperative called the moredocofe co-op. They represent small farmers from a particular Southern region with a slightly higher growing altitude than you find in most of Sidamo. Much of the moredocofe coffee is planted in the wild, under the canopy of native forest. It takes cupping to sort through all the offerings, and this year I found few lots that were really nice ... there is a lot of nasty dry-process Ethiopia out there this season, the reason being that there was rain during the drying time when the coffee is out on the patios/ on the raised beds. That creates musty and moldy flavors in the cup. This is a rustic cup. but not over that edge. All cups are heavily fruited, like dried natural peach There's everything else in here too; exotic spice (cardamom allspice). As far as variable cups goes, this is true with all dry-processed coffees, and always true with the Ethiopian dry-processed. It's just part of the sun-dried coffee process where whole cherry is sun-dried, then the whole husk and parchment is removed in one step, and all defective coffee seeds are removed by visual sorting. That means a few decent-looking seeds will make it through the process that are indeed a bit over-ripe or under-ripe. Cull out any really, really light-colored seeds after roasting. I had to score this coffee lower for flavor and aftertaste and then add points back in a cupper's correction ... this because some cuppers will hate this (ones who like clean, polite coffees) and me, I love it for its bold earthiness and heavyweight character. It has spice and fruit from start to finish, with intense rustic chocolate notes. Acidty is low, and body is big! Note: I recommend removing the extremely light beans after roasting, before brewing. I am not talking about ones just a little lighter than the norm. It is expected for roasted color variation in this coffee! I am talking about the very, very light tan ones, and there might be 4-8 of them in a batch (note the defect count for this coffee). These are underripe cherries, "quakers" as they are called in the trade (why?). You can also do a neat experiment and grind these up separately and brew a cup from them - interesting!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.3
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8
Body - Movement (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity / Rustic, spiced, fruited  
add 50 50 Roast: Full City to FC + roast is best: I like a more developed roast taste and a dense, almost creamy body.
Score (Max. 100) 86.9 Compare to: A rustic and raw dry-processed coffee, not for those who want cleanliness and uniformity in their roasting and tasting.

Ethiopian FTO Yirgacheffe Oromia
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 2 Region: Yirgacheffe (in Sidamo) Mark: Oromia Co-op, Fair Trade, Organic
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: March 2007 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16-17 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Ethiopian Cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.0 Notes: Dang it if this isn't a wonderful early crop Yirgacheffe; think jasmine flowers. Only in the past few years have Organic and Fair Trade coffees come from Ethiopia, and all are from a single huge cooperative called the Oromia co-op. They represent many small farms in many regions, and while the regions are certainly kept distinct (Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Etc) the individual farms are too small to sell each coffee as discrete lots. So some of these pooled co-op lots can be average, some pretty good, and a few are excellent. It takes cupping to sort through all the offerings, and this year I found 3 lots that were really nice last year, one dry-processed coffee from Sidamo, one Harar (perhaps the best of the past season) and one wet-processed coffee from Yirgacheffe (although both are totally different in the cup). And this year I I found this FTO - Fair Trade and Organic Certified - Yirgacheffe lot from Oromia that is really outstanding. This Yirgacheffe is bright but not the most tart acidity we see in Yirgacheffe. I guess that is why when describing the citrus (and all good Yirgacheffe has citrus) I think of lemon custard, a toned down, sweet, balanced citric quality. The brightness here is not that biting or sour type; it is quite well integrated with the other cup flavors. Look for a flavor that is almost like honey-sweetened lemonade at City+, and do not mind that appearance of the coffee in the lighter roast, a bit uneven and the beans with wrinkled surface texture. Another cupper thought there was a roast/origin taste in here that was "graham cracker"; I think it actually has a more nutty (hazelnut) quality, and the finish turns to a tangy bittersweetness. I like this coffee roasted at City or City +, which highlights the strongest quality of a great Yirgacheffe, the brightness, even though the coffee lacks some body and depth at this roast level. It is how Ethiopians roast coffee in some parts of the country: quite light ... in fact they roast it so light that I don't think it passes through first crack! I am not recommending that, but it would be interesting to add the term "Ethiopian Roast" to our lexicon to describe utlra-light roasting. Anyway, darker roasts still have citric quality but it becomes eclipsed by "roast taste" to the detriment of the "origin flavors". FC+ is passable but Vienna roast I cannot abide.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.2
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 9.0
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.0
Body-Mouthfeel (1-5) 2.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.0
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium to bold/ citric brightness
add 50 50.0 Roast: Keep this out of 2nd crack as much as you can - I think Yirgs get weird if roasted into 2nd crack too much, although others like that. It's delicate notes are at their prime just before the coffee has any indication of 2nd crack.
Score (Max. 100) 88.0 Compare to: Remember, Washed Ethiopians have a much different cup character than Dry-Processed Ethiopians… this is a high-toned coffee, clean coffee, more like wet-processed Central Americans and certain Kenyas.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe WP Decaf
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 2 Region: Yirgacheffe Mark: Horse, WP Decaf
Processing: Wet-processed, then water process decaf Crop: Feb 2007 arrival Appearance: 1 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Ethiopia heirloom seedstock
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.7 Notes: Yirgacheffe is the queen of African coffee in many ways; go to Ethiopia and every farmer compares their coffee (often falsely) to Yirgacheffe. They know how it is prized, how the bright citrus notes, the floral nose, the lively sweet cup, is truly incomparable. In fact Yirgacheffe is a sub-section of the greater Sidamo region, and the only place where coffee was originally cultivated by monasteries, in the spirit of Belgian Abbey Ales and the like. But now it is widely grown by private and cooperative farmers that sell it through the Ethiopia coffee board, as required by law. While we have different Yirgacheffe offerings through the year, it is only once that we obtain a lot of Yirgacheffe decaf. Decaffeination, nomatter how good (and we think this Water Process is the best) is the luck of the draw. Good coffees are often flattened out, neutralized, in the process. It used to be that bright coffees, such as this, would ALWAYS suffer the worst damage, losing all their zippy high notes. And even with the new method we use here, I have cupped lots of Yirgacheffe decaf that just tasted weird, unpleasant. So it makes a lot like this all the more special. I can honestly say that, in a blind cupping, I would never suspect this coffee was a decaf: I would think it was an excellent Yirgacheffe. It is: tangerine bright notes, sweet lemon hints, malty-caramelly roast notes, light body, sweet lingering finish, floral aroma. This seems by all appearances to be a fine Yirgacheffe sans the decaffeination.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.5 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity/ Citrus and fruit. Brightness  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ roast for maximum citric accent, and malty-caramelly roast taste
Score (Max. 100) 87.3 Compare to: Cups like a very good non-decaf Yirgacheffe!

Ethiopia FTO Dry-Process Sidamo
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 5 Region: Sidamo Mark: Oromia Co-op,
Certified Organic and Fair Trade
Processing: Dry-processed Crop: December 2006 arrival Appearance: 1.6 d/300gr,
17-18 Screen
Varietal: Heirloom Moka Longberry seedstock
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.5 Notes: This dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region has a husky character, more of the typical flavors that are inherent to natural dry-processed coffees: earthy, a little hidey, pungent, fruity, and with a very long aftertaste. Only in the past few years have Organic and Fair Trade coffees come from Ethiopia, and all are from a single huge cooperative called the Oromia co-op. They represent many small farms in many regions, and while the regions are certainly kept distinct (Sidamo, Yirgacheffe, Etc) the individual farms are too small to sell each coffee as discrete lots. So some of these pooled co-op lots can be pretty good, and a few are excellent. It takes cupping to sort through all the offerings, and this year I found 2 lots that were really nice, one dry-processed coffee from Sidamo and one wet-processed coffee from Yirgacheffe (although both are totally different in the cup). My warning about this Sidamo, some cups are a little too funky for me, earthy, hidey and a touch musty. Others cups are pleasurably potent, with that touch of wildness but not too much. It is not at all unexpected to have variation batch to batch, bag to bag, and cup to cup with a natural dry-processed coffee like this. For me, it is not a drawback - I like to taste the differences between the batches I roast! All cups are heavily fruited, like dried unsulphered natural apricot. ( In terms of fruit, the majority of my roasts had that wild, dried blueberry note ... but not every roast, nor every cup, so it is worth mentioning but not dwelling upon too much). There's everything else in here too; exotic spice (cardamom allspice). It's intense stuff... As far as variable cups goes, this is true with all dry-processed coffees, and always true with the Ethiopian dry-processed. It's just part of the sun-dried coffee process where whole cherry is patio-dried, then the whole husk and parchment is removed in one step, and all defective coffee seeds are removed by visual sorting. That means a few decent-looking seeds will make it through the process that are indeed a bit over-ripe or under-ripe. Cull out any really, really light-colored seeds after roasting. Some cuppers will hate this (ones who like only clean, polite coffees) and me, I love it for its bold earthiness and heavyweight character. There were many disappointing Ghimbi and Sidamo dry-processed lots I cupped this year, and this particular "chop" was the exception!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel  (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.3
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold intensity/Heavy body and strong "natural" character (earth, fruit)
add 50 50 Roast: Full City + roast is best: I like a more developed roast taste which aids some bittersweetness to the cup and compliments the fruit notes
Score (Max. 100) 85.7 Compare to: Classic Dry-process coffees of Ethiopia and Yemen. Please note: This coffee does have a high defect count. It is not a "poster child" of good dry processed preparation. Nonetheless, the cup can be very good: I recommend removing the extremely light beans after roasting, before brewing. I am not talking about ones just a little lighter than the norm. It is expected for roasted color variation in this coffee! I am talking about the very, very light tan ones, and there might be 4-8 of them in a batch (note the defect count for this coffee). These are underripe cherries, "quakers" as they are called in the trade (why?). You can also do a neat experiment and grind these up separately and brew a cup from them - interesting!

Ethiopia Organic Idido Misty Valley DP
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 1 (!) Region: Idido, Gedio Area, Yirga-Cheffe Mark: Idido town, "Misty Valley" mark
Processing: Screen Dry-Processed Crop: January 2007 Arrival Appearance: .2 d/300gr, 16-18 Screen Varietal: Longberry and shortberry Ethiopia cultivars
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4 Notes: This is a special lot of dry-processed (DP) coffee from an area within Yirgacheffe: Idido town in the Gedio area of Yirgacheffe. This is quite different from the Natural Yirgacheffe lot we had earlier this season, a much better preparation of the green coffee, uniform roasting, and unique in its flavor profile. As you know, the tradition in Yirgacheffe is wet-processing, whereas Harar has a dry-processing tradition. Wet-processing is the method used in Central America and the like, resulting in a green seed with a cleaner cup profile, and less earthy or rustic cup flavors. Dry-processing involves drying the entire coffee cherry in the sun, and later removeing the skin, fruity mucilage layer and protective parchment shell that surranounds the green seed ... all in one fell swoop. Excellent dry-processed coffees are difficult because the milling method for wet-processing allows for separation of ripe and unripe coffee cherry (and other defective seeds) using water and machines. But in dry-processing, sorting ou under-ripes is done visually, either by sorting the ripe cherry, or later, sorting the "green" bean. (You probably know from experience with Harar and the like that the dry-processed green bean is in fact yellow, mostly because it has more of the silverskin, the chaff, still attached to it). The problem in Ethiopia is this: traditional dry-processed coffee is NOT pre-sorted to include only ripe red coffee cherry and it is sun-dried in a rather haphazard fashion. The difference with this lot is night and day (as an experienced eye can see when you look at the unroasted coffee), this originates with ripe cherry, is uniformaly screen-dried in the sun, and has been dry-milled using the same screen and density-sorting techniques as wet-processed lots. And the result is amazing: it is both a traditional "moka" type coffee flavor (chocolate and fruit) with Yigacheffe accents (floral, citrus) and no distracting, overly-earthy notes. Given that, the darker roasts (FC+, Vienna) are surprisingly pungent, with a intense tobacco aromatic, dark chocolate roast taste, and tannic grape skin notes in the background. But it is the City+ roast where the cup has intense sweetness, and liveliness. The dry fragrance is honeyed, with cherry fruit notes, and vanilla. Add water and the sweetness becomes sharper, and sweet mango fruit aromas emerge, with floral and citric hints. Cup flavors are like fruit candy, like marmalade. There are tropical fruits, and sweet orange and citrus flowers. Unlike light roasts of other dry-processed Ethiopias, there is a noticeable refinement and clarity to the finish of the Idido Misty Valley cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.2
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 2 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Clean, bright, floral and fruited cup  
add 50 50 Roast: City + is where you will experience the most here, FC+ to Vienna is nice and bittersweet too. … see the comments above
Score (Max. 100) 91.4 Compare to: A fantastic dry-processed Ethiopia without remarkable clarity in the cup flavors, and laced with bright floral notes a la Yirga-Cheffe.

Ethiopia Late Harvest Yirgacheffe
Country: Ethiopia Grade: 2 Region: Yirga'Cheffe Mark: n/a
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: December 2006 Arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 16 Screen Varietal: Ethiopian Cultivar
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 4.0 Notes: Yirgacheffe will beat you with a flower. It is truly a seductive coffee! Yirgacheffe is a town in Sidamo region, a high plateau north of Harar. Yirgacheffe (also spelled Yergacheffe and Yirga Cheffe) should mean (as an apellation, "highest quality, most fruity acidity" compared to washed Limmu and washed Sidamo, or else the name doesn't mean anything at all! I cupped Yirgacheffe hard this year, and there were a lot of interesting samples with strikingly different cup character, from tart citrus to overly mild samples. All-in-all, there are great Ethiopian Yirgs this year, while a nice Harar was just a pipedream. But you have to do a lot of cupping of individual lots to find them, and it's a lot of work. I think, to be self-critical, I can get to focused on quantity of certiain cup qualities , such as acidity. If cupping Yirgs becomes only an "acidity contest" then palate fatigue will ensue quickly: there is enough acidity in some Yirgs to etch glass and de-plate silverware. Okay, that's not true, but my point is the the logic of quantity over the aestheic of total cup quality makes little sense except when you look at numbers. At a time of year when we run out of Yirgacheffe, it looks like we will ahve some stock on this exquisite coffee for a while. Why? There happened to be some 2006 Late Harvest coffee that had great character, whereas usually the tail end of the crop is a mere shadow of the middle-crop pickings. Here we have that sweet, citric quality that is expected from a great, traditional, wet-process Yirg. Look for a flavor that is almost like honey-sweetened tangerine and lemon at City+ . Another cupper thought there was a roast/origin taste in here that was "honey graham cracker" and I could not agree more ... but only in the lighter roast. I like this coffee roasted at City or City +, which highlights the strongest quality of a great Yirgacheffe, the brightness, even though the coffee lacks some body and depth at this roast level. It is how Ethiopians roast coffee, quite light ... in fact they roast it so light that I don't think it passes through first crack! I am not recommending that, but it would be interesting to add the term "Ethiopian Roast" to our lexicon to describe utlra-light roasting. Anyway, darker roasts still have citric quality but it becomes eclipsed by "roast taste" to the detriment of the "origin flavors". FC+ is passable but Vienna roast I cannot abide.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9.0
Body-Mouthfeel (1-5) 2.9
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9.1
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium to bold/ sweet tangerine/lemon citrus
add 50 50.0 Roast: Keep this out of 2nd crack as much as you can - I think Yirgs get weird if roasted into 2nd crack too much, although others like that. It's delicate notes are at their prime just before the coffee has any indication of 2nd crack.
Score (Max. 100) 88.2 Compare to: Traditional Wet-process Yirgacheffe. Remember, Washed Ethiopians have a much different cup character than Dry-Processed Ethiopians… this is a high-toned coffee, clean coffee, more like wet-processed Central Americans and certain Kenyas.

Ethiopia MC Decaf - Dry-Process Sidamo
Country: Ethiopia Grade: Four Region: Sidamo Mark: Coffein MC Decaf
Processing: Dry-Processed, then WP Decaf Crop: June 2007 arrival Appearance: .4 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Longberry types
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: It seems inevitable that a name we put on a coffee is going to be this complicated; why not just make up fanciful names like Abyssinia Delight or African Trader or ... well, I would rather just stick to the facts, and in this case the facts are: Dry-processed coffee from the Sidamo region, processed for decaf using the MC method. Now that's confusing. This is still very much a Sidamo and that's the beauty of this coffee. MC decaf is the traditional decaf process, and at one time there was only that and Swiss Water available for specialty grade coffees. The MC process has improved (done best by KVW and Coffein companies in Germany ... this lot is done by Coffein). But the secret is the coffee sent to the decaffeination plant is really, really good lots of green coffee, and not whatever doesn't sell, or whatever the plant has laying around. That's the old way of thinking in decafs: they have usually been the lowest priced green lots, or the overstock. So here we started with an exceptional lot of Ogsaddey Dry-process Sidamo, a bright, fruited cup, highly aromatic. And we end up with something that can be described exactly the same way. This decaf Sidamo has all the top-end bright notes and floral-fruit flavors endemic to a really good Sidamo. I has medium body, nice aromatics of fruit, wild-honeyed roast tastes, with a long finish. There are orangey citric notes, and a bit of syrup in the finish. If I cupped this blind I would not suspect it was decaffeinated.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.6
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0.5 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild-Medium intensity / Great aromatics, fruited notes  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City+: works best as a lighter roast for brewed coffee. Note that this coffee seems to roast rather quickly adn produce more surface oils, and seems to pass from 1st to 2nd crack more rapidly than other decaf lots. Why? I dunno. It's great decaf, period
Score (Max. 100) 86.3 Compare to: Highly aromatic, fruited decaf cup. For more info on the MC process, see my article: http://www.sweetmarias.com/health.eco.html

 


French Chicory

See the Chicory Page


(Indonesia) Flores

Indonesia Flores -Bajawa Highlands
Country: Flores Grade: Estate Region: Flores, Bajawa region Mark: None
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: Late January 2007 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 - Movement (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute:Mild intensity / Balance, body   cfa
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.

Indonesia Flores -Bajawa Highlands
Country: Indonesia Grade: Estate Island: Flores, Bajawa region Mark: None
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: Late January 200Arrival 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.

Indonesia Flores Sasandu Dry-Process
Country: Indonesia Grade: Estate Island: Flores, Sasandu/Bajawa Mark: Sasandu Dry Process
Processing: Dry-Processed Crop: December 2006 Arrival Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Sumatra Typica
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 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 a really good Sulawesi-style dry-process lot. 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. This is different in appearance and in the cup than the wet-process lot we stocked in early '06. That was more of a cross between other wet-processed Indonesian, with hints of Timor, Java and PNG. This is very much a full-body, low-acid coffee in the tradition of Sulawesi dry process lots. I get good clean foresty notes, with piney hints, in the lighter roast. City roast also has mild tea (Earl Grey) in the fragrance and aroma. Full City develops a good chocolate character, with a bit of root beer and aromatic wood in the finish. I would tend toward the darker roasts here, since the cup lends itself to that tenor/bass note character overall; dense, dark bittersweet, and heavy body.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 4.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium 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 (SO) espresso.
Score (Max. 100) 85.5 Compare to: Sulawesi- type cup with dry process character, good body, low acidity. Works well as S.O. espresso or in espresso blend too.

Central America: Costa Rica | Guatemala | Honduras | Mexico | Nicaragua | Panama | El Salvador
South America: Bolivia | Brazil | Colombia | Ecuador | Peru
Africa/Arabia: Burundi | Congo | Ethiopia | Kenya | Rwanda | Tanzania | Uganda | Zambia | Zimbabwe | Yemen
Indonesia/Asia: Bali | Flores | India | Java | Papua New Guinea | Sumatra | Sulawesi | Timor
Islands/Blends/Others: Australia | Hawaii | Puerto Rico | Jamaica | Dominican | Chicory | Sweet Maria's Blends
Decafs: Water Process, Natural Decafs, MC Decafs, C0-2 Decafs Robustas: India Archives: 2008-Current | 2007
2005-2006 | 2004 -2003 | 2001-2002 | Pre-2000
Tom's Sample Cupping Log | Moisture Content Readings

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