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Tanzania 

Tanzania Mount Meru Nkoanekoli
Country: Tanzania Grade: Estate Region: Nkoanekoli, Northern Mark: Mount Meru Nkoanekoli
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: December 2006 Arrival Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 15-17 Screen Varietal: Unknown
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: It's good to have a little background information on Tanzanian coffees; A good Tanzanian coffee from the North can be a treat, but many lots that arrive in the U.S. never had a chance. The Northern coffees are grown near Kenya (Mt. Kilimanjaro) and bear that out in the cup: more acidity, lighter body. Southern district coffees from the mountains of the northeast rim of Lake Malawi are full bodied, have milder acidity, and extremely long in the aftertaste. The problem with Tanzanian Peaberry has less to do with where it is from and the original cup quality it possesses. Poor cup character is the result of poor transporation routes to port, and while at port the shipping container that is delayed from leaving the country can bake the coffee in the humid, blistering sun ...not good. So even a good Tanzanian coffee can go bad en route. The result are harsh, baggy flavors in the cup. This flatbean coffee shows none of that, and is a sweet coffee without much of the characteristic East African hidey character. There's just a tad of wildness in the finish, just enough to remind you where the coffee is from! The Meru Nkoanekoli is a northern coffee, and has that zingy bright character with lighter body. I get a lot of variability on these cups, but I find them all to be sweet, a husky light mollasses/ butterscotch sweetness. The wet aroma is where the coffee starts to come to life, with a zesty acidity, hints of pear fruit, and an interesting sweet carbony note in the finish, (it reminded me of honey barbeque!) As the cup cools, the perceived body increases, making this a very nice cup to linger upon and taste throughout the temerpature range. Again, there was some variability from cup-to-cup, and from roast-to-roast, but overall it's a very interesting cup profile, and very Tanzanian in this way.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.6
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.4
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium intensity / Interesting acidity  
add 50 50 Roast: City+
Score (Max. 100) 85.5 Compare to: East African brightness with slightly gamey "wild" note. Interesting sweetness and acidity.

Tanzania NgoroNgoro Convent
Country: Tanzania Grade: AA Region: NgoroNgoro Mark: NgoroNgoro Convent
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: June 2007 Arrival Appearance: .6 d/300gr, 17-18 Screen Varietal: Arusha, Bourbon
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.6 Notes: Yes, it is from a convent, as in nuns. The estate is owned and managed by the Nuns of the Ngorongoro Convent. The name of the group is the "Daughters of Mary Ngorongoro", with the coffee overseen by Sister Maggie and Sister Zenobia! It is not as unusual as you might think: monks and monasteries have often been tied to commercial endeavors as a means of support; Trappist ales, cheeses, etc. Cappucine monks served coffee sweetened with heavy cream, and in Yirgacheffe Ethiopia, coffee was grown by religious orders. The average altitude is of around 1,800 mts and is located in one of the most beautiful areas of Africa very close to the famous Ngorongoro Crater. The dry fragrance has sweetly fruited brightness, with suggestions of pear, apple, and a slight floral component. In the wet aroma you can detect a rustic note, like fresh alfalfa, with sweet fruits (apricot) and something I can only describe as "bread in the oven." When I break the crust on the cup (in cupping, where you use the spoon to release aroma from the floating grinds in the cup) there is a rush of sweetness which reminds me of peach Jolly Rancher candy! In the cup there are strong peach-apricot notes, with a nutty tone underneath. The acidity makes this cup very lively, with an almost champagne-like effervescence to it. There's an interesting interplay between straightforward sweetness and rustic aspects here, something expected in the "origin character" of a Tanzania coffee. (We used to just call it "that East Africa flavor.") This gives the cup an almost Harar-like dimension, like the hidey note in dry-processed Ethiopia, mixed with apricot brightness. But this coffee is more lively than any Harar.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.7
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.9
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.6
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.6
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium-Bold intensity / Fruited, effervescent brightness, slight rustic quality  
add 50 50 Roast: City+ to Full City+. The lighter end of this range is quite bright, the darker has more bittersweetness.
Score (Max. 100) 88.1 Compare to: East African brightness, Kenya-like, fruited and bubbly.

 


Timor 

Timor FTO Maubesse
Country: Timor Grade: 1 Region: Maubesse Mark: Fair Trade and SKAL organic certified co-op
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: November 2006 arrival Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Timor Varietal
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3 Notes:After gaining political independence from Indonesia, Timor-Leste (formerly called East Timor) still has a long way to go ... it's a rough place. Many institutions are not self-sufficient and the economy has few bright spots. And coffee is one of them. Timor has 2 major regions producing coffee: Maubesse is higher-altitude terrain than Aifu region. I like them both. Maubesse is a little brighter so most brokers / cuppers prefer it over the Aifu, but if you selectively buy from the best lots the Aifu can be every bit as good. Early in the crop cycle the Aifu cups best, and later on the Maubesse is a little better. And of course that's why you will see us stock Aifu early in the new crop and the Maubesse later. Quality is def initely up this year in milling and preparation; the beautiful jade-colored green coffee is evidence of this. The cooperative mills that are the source for our Organic coffee have invested in new facilities, new wet-processing equipment, and improved standards of receiving and sorting only red, ripe cherry. This lot is FTO too- fair trade and organic certified. As far as the cup, Timor is not a funky, earthy coffee like Sumatra and Sulawesi; it has a cleaner cup profile more like a Java, and is something I would call a "quintessential crowd-pleasing coffee". When I ran cafes it would be a "good house coffee" ... everyone will enjoy it. The cup definitely has an initial hint of its Indonesian roots, just a touch of pleasant woody forest flavor and a more pronounced sweet herbal note in the aromatics. It doesn't spike in scoring at any point; it is a balanced cup. Body is key here: viscous, oily body. While it is a striking coffee at City+ roast (and has a lot of body for a lighter roast treatment), I prefer the roast character at FC+, a few snaps into 2nd crack. I also made some oustanding SO espresso (Single Origin) with straight Timor at FC+ with 2 days rest.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Movement (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute:Mild/ Clean, refined cup   cfa
add 50 50 Roast:City+ to FC+ : I liked the darker roast treatment on this lot, and felt the body holds up really well.
Score (Max. 100) 84.9 Compare to: A wet-processed Indonesia cup profile, like Java, with heavy body and hints of Indonesia rustic, "foresty" flavors

Timor FTO Maubesse
Country: Timor-Leste (East Timor ) Grade: One Region: Maubesse Mark: Fair Trade and SKAL organic certified co-op
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: November
2006 arrival
Appearance: .8 d/300gr, 18 screen Varietal: Timor Varietal
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.0 Notes: After gaining political independence from Indonesia, Timor-Leste (formerly called East Timor) still has a long way to go ... it's a rough place. Many institutions are not self-sufficient and the economy has few bright spots. And coffee is one of them. Timor has 2 major regions producing coffee: Maubesse is higher-altitude terrain than Aifu region. I like them both. Maubesse is a little brighter so most brokers / cuppers prefer it over the Aifu, but if you selectively buy from the best lots the Aifu can be every bit as good. Early in the crop cycle the Aifu cups best, and later on the Maubesse is a little better. And of course that's why you will see us stock Aifu early in the new crop and the Maubesse later. Quality is def
initely up this year in milling and preparation; the beautiful jade-colored green coffee is evidence of this. The cooperative mills that are the source for our Organic coffee have invested in new facilities, new wet-processing equipment, and improved standards of receiving and sorting only red, ripe cherry. This lot is FTO too- fair trade and organic certified. As far as the cup, Timor is not a funky, earthy coffee like Sumatra and Sulawesi; it has a cleaner cup profile more like a Java, and is something I would call a "quintessential crowd-pleasing coffee". When I ran cafes it would be a "good house coffee" ... everyone will enjoy it. The cup definitely has an initial hint of its Indonesian roots, just a touch of pleasant woody forest flavor and a more pronounced sweet herbal note in the aromatics. It doesn't spike in scoring at any point; it is a balanced cup. Body is key here: viscous, oily body. While it is a striking coffee at City+ roast (and has a lot of body for a lighter roast treatment), I prefer the roast character at FC+, a few snaps into 2nd crack. I also made some oustanding SO espresso (Single Origin) with straight Timor at FC+ with 2 days rest.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.0
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.0
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.4
Body - Movement (1-5) 4.0
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.5
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Mild/ Clean, refined cup
Add 50 50 Roast: City+ to FC+ : I liked the darker roast treatment on this lot, and felt the body holds up really well.
Score (Max. 100) 84.9 Compare to: A wet-processed Indonesia cup profile, like Java, with heavy body and hints of Indonesia rustic, "foresty" flavors

See the 2003-2004 Archive too

Uganda 

Uganda Organic Bugisu
Country: Uganda Grade: HB Region: Mt. Elgon region, Mbale Mark: Organic Bugisu
Processing: Wet-Processed Crop: March 2006 Arrival Appearance: 1.8 d/300gr, 16-18 screen Varietal: not known
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes:Mount Elgon lies in the Eastern reaches of the country, straddling the Uganda/Kenya border. Judging by its enormous base it is thought that Mt Elgon was once the tallest mountain in Africa. The coffee shambas extend up and down the cliff faces, making use of natural water gullies and forest cover to extract moisture from the soil. The Sipi Falls is one of the great natural features of the Elgon region where this coffee originates, with small holder farms between 1,600 and 1,900 meters. It is a steep and difficult terrain to traverse in the rainy seasons; often there are no roads, only dirt tracks which are washed away by the rains. But the Bagisu tribesmen who live on the mountain have become expert coffee farmers and have developed their own transportation methods: Donkeys! It is also woth noting that this is the only certified organic coffee from Uganda at this time, and is also Utz Kapeh certified (this is what we call "fair trade lite." For more information visit www.utzkapeh.org). This cup is so different from other East African coffees, with a full body lower acidity than neighboring coffee origins; low acidty, heavy body, rustic aspects. It is more reminicent of Indonesian cup character than citric acidic coffees from Kenya and others. It took time for us to find a lot we really liked, something with some positive secondary characteristics. Here we have the deep tone range (lack of bright acidity), heavy body that reminds me almost of the oily Java mouthfeel, and mild rustic notes. But there is a unique raw Papaya flavor here too, giving added dimension to the cup.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.4
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.5
Body - Movement (1-5) 4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.1
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute:Medium intensity / Heavy body, rustic and fruited character.
add 50 50 Roast:I had very good roasts at Full City and Full City+
Score (Max. 100) 85.2 Compare to: A unique E African coffee with an almost Indonesian character

see the 2005-2006 archive

Vietnam 

see our ThumbsDown/UGH! coffee or see the 2001-2002 Archive


Yemen 

Yemen Mokha Haimi
Country: Yemen Grade: n/a Region: Haimi Mark: Haimi Mokha
Processing: Natural Dry Processed Crop: April 2007 Arrival Appearance: 1.4 d/300gr, 15-16 Screen Varietal: Heirloom Yemen Seedstock
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.4 Notes: Haimi is a distinct regional coffee, but has often been sold as Sana'ani since it is geographically contiguous with the area around the capital, Sana'a. Many moons ago, I found a Yemeni exporter willing to separate the Haimi (he refers to it as Haimah: Haimi simply means "of Haimah). I found it's unique cup character appealing. Now we are working with another group, and they are finally able to separate Haimi from the Sana'ani coffee. The light roasts are a great contrast from the dark roast treatment here, but both are excellent on their own merits. The dry fragrance of the City+ roast has an earthy sweetness to the cup, at once caramelly and fruited. There are cardamom spice notes and fresh ginger. The Full City+ roast aromatics are much more pungent, black-peppery, with a dark, tarry molasses sweetness, and humus-laced intense roastiness. There is a slightly hidey, fresh-leather quality in the light roast ... I know that sounds a bit unappealing but it is actually quite exotic and attractive in this cup (and quite "true" to Yemeni origin character). Darker roasts have a rooty, tangy roast note, and waxy, dense body. The light roast is much less intensely "brooding" in the cup, with chamomile tea character, but funky, rustic, tea (we're not talking milquetoast tea character here). Haimi delivers on several levels: it offers the right Yemeni cup experience (a taste-equivalent of an Arabic street bazaar, perhaps), and as a complex, unique cup that is as far from clean, uniform Centrals as you can get.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.8
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.2
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 9
Body - Mouthfeel (1-5) 3.8
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 9
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Medium- Bold intensity / Spice notes, darkly sweet, tangy dk roast  
add 50 50 Roast: C+ to FC+ … there's a very different cup character for these two roasts (see review), and I also recommend a 50-50 blend of the two roast levels - very interesting! HotTop users, be aware of small bean size. All roasters: Yemen produces a large amount of chaff.
Score (Max. 100) 87.2 Compare to: Intense, complex and wild cup. It is very interesting to cup this directly against Sana'ani; both uniquely excellent.

Yemen Mokha Sana'ani
Country: Yemen Grade: n/a Region: Sana'a
(mountains directly around the capital of Sana)
Mark: None
Processing: Natural Dry Process Crop: March 2007 arrival Appearance:

2.2 d/300gr,
14 -16 Screen

Varietal: Heirloom Yemeni arabica seedstock
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.3 Notes: Sana'ani refers to any coffee grown in the high altitudes around the Yemeni capital of Sana'a (also Sana). These are perhaps lower in intensity than other Yemeni origins but have a bright, light cup profile with more fruited notes. In general, a Sana'ani coffee roasted lighter yields a unique cup compared to the brooding Mattari and prized Hirazi coffees. I cup them Sanani-type coffees regularly but don't buy often because they vary in quality. Our favorite was Yemen Sana'ani Saihi-type and the excellent Haimi-type, but these have has been unavailable for some time. This Sana'ani sample and it cups like the Haimi, and that's what itched my buy bone; bright fruitiness at the light roasts (City) , a winey depth to the acidity, a touch of tobacco in the cup, and strong flavors of "fresh leather". I love the way this coffee passes through your senses while drinking it: it begins with a burst of pungent, spice flavor; as the curtain lifts on the first wave of flavor a light, delicate peach-apricot fruitiness is revealed, and in the end a bit of cinnamon spiciness. The coffee has a good tannic edge and dried fruit character but it will depend on your roast treatment of the coffee: At City+ in an air roaster, you get the maximum bright, fruited, light body cup. Slow down the roast and put it in a drum and the body is more accented (remember to rest the roast 48 hours for increased body) and a bit is taken off the top end. It has great fragrance as a dry coffee and great wet aromatics, becoming more intensely tobaccoy and leathery in the later. In the long aftertaste, as the heat dissipates, an herbal sweetness emerges, with a clear nutmeg accent. I especially enjoyed light Vienna roast here also, where a dark caramelized sugar sweetness was still present, the fruit had turned broodingly winey, and the overall cup intensity made me want to play bongos and recite beatnik poetry. Okay, maybe not, but this lot is very nice! It also underscores the fact that leathery rustic flavors can be a very positive attribute.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 4.0
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.4
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.7
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.4
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 1 Intensity/Prime Attribute: Bold / natural-leathery-spicey-fruity-tobaccoy!
add 50 50 Roast: Full City Roast or darker. It certainly is outstanding and powerful in the darker stages. A light Vienna roast of this lot is delicious! You need to rest Yemens 2 days to allow the body to develop. Then again, cup aromas are best with a short 12-24 hour rest. HotTop users, be aware of small bean size. All roasters: Yemen produces a large amount of chaff.
Score (Max. 100) 87.6 Compare to: A brighter Yemen than the Mattari or Hirazi, more fruited and winey, perhaps thinner in body but still with good intensity and quality of mouthfeel. An interesting cross-cup comparison to the Ismaili. Small bean, expertly prepared coffee (but a natural coffee so occasional suprises - a small rock -- are possible.)

Zambia 

Zambia AA+ Lupili Estate
Country: Zambia Grade: AA+ Region: Northern - Muchinga Mark: Lupili Estate
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: April 2006 arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18-19 Screen Varietal: Tanzanian+Kenya Bourbon-derived Varietals
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes:Zambian coffees recent to the Specialty trade and perhaps yet to emerge from the long shadow cast by the East African powerhouse, Kenya. But like their cousins from Zimbabwe they can be uniquely endowed with both balance, sweetness and interesting wild notes emerging in the aromatics and aftertaste. It takes some searching and patience to find a good single-Estate Zambian though. There were some generic lots in the U.S. last year, peaberry in particular, where off flavors dominated to cup, and there was no sweetness to provide balance. The Lupili has a range of flavors within the cup, and can produce a range of cups: it can take a wide altitude of roasts and produce interesting cup character as a result. Roasted to a lighter City Roast stage (through first crack completely, stopping before any hint of 2nd Crack) the cup is lively, zested with a bit of tangerine acidity (with a bit of rind), caramelly, and having that distinct East African wild note (sage/goldenseal herbiness, a little leathery-?-) emerge in the aftertaste. And on the subject of aftertaste, it is extremely long given the balance of the cup. Candy-malty caramelly roast taste shift to bittersweet tones as you go from a City Roast to a Full City+, a few snaps into 2nd crack. The coffee is excellent in an case and invites your interpretation in terms of "degree of roast". The drum roaster create nice roasts of this coffee too. Espresso: I made incredible straight roast espresso with this, roasted to a light Vienna and rested 2 days.
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.6
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.5
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.8
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute:Mild to Medium / balance, wild accent notes   cfa
add 50 50 Roast:This can take darker roasts and the wild note in the coffee will turn into a bittersweet pungency, but I like it at the lighter City stage and rested for 24 hours, where the aftertaste comes as a surprise in a balanced and somewhat sweet caramelly cup. But there is more balance and softness as the coffee nears 2nd crack.
Score (Max. 100) 86.4 Compare to: Really nice Zimbabwe: balanced cup with unique "wild" note.

see our 2003-3004 archive

Zimbabwe 

Zimbabwe AA -Dandoni Estate
Country: Zimbabwe Grade: AA Region: Chipinge Mark: Dandoni Farm, Ethridge Trading Co.
Processing: Wet-processed Crop: May 2007 arrival Appearance: 0 d/300gr, 18 Screen Varietal: Typica "Blue Mountain", SL-28. Agaaro
Dry Fragrance (1-5) 3.2 Notes: The best estate Zimbabwe coffees are prized for their balance in the cup ...which might sound like it is mild, but that is not the case. Balanced coffees are a "complete cup." They have all the desirable qualities. A really good Zimbabwe has moderate acidity, rich flavors, good body and aftertaste. The problem is, there are many coffee lots sold as generic Zimbabwe which theoretically can be good but in reality are often not. (part of this is the difficulty with shipping coffee from this land-locked nation. Coffee steaming in 100 degree weather in a metal shipping container for 6 weeks while waiting for pickup is not good for cup quality!) So simply being a Zimbabwe coffee is by no means enough. That said, there are the uncertain political environment affecting agriculture and commerce now, and so good coffee from Zimbabwe is hard to come by. To be honest, I don't know much about the Dandoni Estate, except that it has been owned by the Fennell family for some time. This is from a green coffee broker who (like me) has had trouble finding a really good reliable source from a single Estate. But without the "provenance" I found the sample to have an exemplary Zimbabwe flavor profile - balanced, complex, with that East African "gamey" hint in the cup. This can come across a bit vegetal in nature, but (and I can't believe I am writing this) it is a good vegetal flavor, not bad. It leans toward herby, sagey, not ...uh ...cabbage, broccolli and the like; definitely not flavors you want in a coffee. It also has a zest of Daikon (white) radish. Oh lord, is anyone going to buy this coffee! Well, who cares - it's a great cup with a few flavors from the garden itn it. Is that so bad? Okay, moving along ... It has a low-toned, mildly citric quality (not a biting grapefruit-like acidity), and rooty/spicey interjections that, for me, come off like sasparilla. I did my usual City, City+ and Full City roasts but I really found a cup with deep flavors reverberating throught it at the Full City + stage, with just a hint of 2nd crack. This cup is sweetly tarry, still has ripe citrus notes, and spicey suggestions - a very good balance between body and overall cup intensity at this level of roast. The situation in Zimbabwe is very difficult, but I understand (from a relative's email) that the Dandoni Farm owners are staying, and will not be forced to cede their property. We wish them luck. So rumors of their departure were incorrect, and we hope to see this coffee offered again next season!
Wet Aroma (1-5) 3.5
Brightness - Acidity (1-10) 8.5
Flavor - Depth (1-10) 8.8
Body - Movement (1-5) 3.3
Finish - Aftertaste (1-10) 8.7
Cupper's Correction (1-5) 0 Intensity/Prime Attribute:Medium / balance and unique East African gamey flavors.   cfa
add 50 50 Roast:City to Full City+: (wide range, depending on your taste). Note the above comments about FC+ roast level.
Score (Max. 100) 86 Compare to: Excellent complexity/depth and a unique origin flavors that shift greatly depending on roast... Very much an East African cup profile...

Misc. 
 

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2005-2006 | 2004 -2003 | 2001-2002 | Pre-2000
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