Funny or Not, Here I Come...

So I made a send-up coffee travel video that was supposed to parody the potential silliness of a coffee travel video, and the responses to it range a wide gamut. I am sure many people get a small chuckle from something in it and move on. A few think it is hilarious, others don't realize it's an attempt at humor, and a handful are a bit offended. Because some comments were a little "out there", a couple downright mean, I actually turned on "moderate comments" for the first time ever, and I culled a few.

Video: Coffee Processing in El Salvador

From a couple weeks ago, I shot some video with my SLR. It's not heavy on information, more of an atmospheric thing. I recommend watching it in HD on youtube.

Coffee Research - What is next?

I reported before on our involvement in the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative. This is a project funded primarily by coffee roasters to advance research into improving coffee quality, and improving the volume of quality coffee produced in the world. It's not as if there is a lack of great coffee out there, but we are definitely on the threshold of seeing production of really good arabica drop, given greater consumption and agricultural issues with pernicious pest and disease.

I can't taste.

Well, today I can't taste. I have had a bad cold, not that intense but just deep-seated, with sinus headaches and such. I normally don't get that, and I wouldn't write about it unless it lead to some thoughts about taste. (Note to self: Next time maybe I should NOT go surfing in the rainstorm on a 49 degree f day). Anyway, I don't feel that bad, and have continued to work. Yesterday I cupped just fine but today I was quite frankly shocked when I set up a mixed table of Kenya, Brazil and Ethiopia coffees, 12 in all. The dry fragrance from the Kenyas seemed so flat.

Pay Up, Coffee Guy.

... I would write Gal to be fair, but I am referring to myself, because that is what's happening as I travel to origin countries right now. With the NYBOT coffee market at historic highs, things have become very difficult when sourcing coffee at origin. We are paying at least $1.00 more at origin than last year, in some places as much as $2-$3 more for a pound of export coffee.

Updates on the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative

I had posted before about my great interest in this thing called the  Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative: GCQRI. (It's a rare case where the full name is actually easier than the acronym!)  Basically this Initiative is trying to pull together coffee roasters, importers, and anyone else in the coffee trade who cares about the future of quality.

Everybody's Doing It (Worrying About the Coffee Market)

The New York "C" market has risen above $2.00 for the first time since 1997, and that's something worth commemorating here at Sweet Maria's. We started in late 1997, and I remember that market well, and the long, slow, dramatic, depressing slide from that 1997 high down into the dark pit of the Coffee Crisis, which averaged around .50 cents. The driving forces in this great market instability now is different than previous peaks and valleys.

Getting Close to a Coffee Cherry (Video)

I was shooting cross-section macro images of a coffee cherry from my yard, and thought I would shoot some video too, and explain the coffee cherry parts as best I could:

Unfancy Chemex Brewing Video

Another poor quality brewing video, with a few good tips. The only revelation here is to use the new Bonmac "pointy tip style" filters with the Chemex. The are made for the Hario type brewer and are a little short in the Chemex, but they leave much less "paper taste" in the cup.

Aeropress Coffee Brewer: Looks Awful. Works Well

A 10 minute video about using the Aeropress medical device uh, coffee brewer. It looks a bit better in HD and a larger video area on youtube. Again, a quick and boring video with no production value, but some decent information.

Espresso as excuse...

I was posting on a "blog" (has no better term come up yet?) about the idea of Single Origin espresso, and thought I would make my points here... The question James Hoffman posed was roughly, "Do we think less of a coffee if it does not work both as brewed and as SO espresso." Or something like that... and I don't really have any response to the original post because I think it's a miss. If a coffee doesn't work well as a SO espresso, I think nothing less of it. I also don't assume I am the only person that could make it work a espresso; if I can't maybe someone can.

A wet walk to Finca La Maravilla, Hueuetenango, Guate.

It's a crude and jerky hand-held video of my visit to Finca La Maravilla last week. Nothing fancy, but gives a good feel for the place...

Green Coffee School (2 videos)

These are my first attempt to do this- use my nice still camera and macro lens to look closely at various green coffees and talk about what I am seeing. Boring imagery to many except the fanatics out there. I think things get more interesting in Part 2. Watch them on youtube in HD for the best imagery.

Sorting Coffee in Yirga Cheffe, & other Ethiopia short videos

I uploaded many short videos from my December Ethiopia excursion to youtube recently.

Central America and Ethiopia Updates: June 30th

The Centrals: It's June 30 and the Centrals are starting to come in en masse. You have already seen the Costa Rica micro-mill lots arriving, kicked off with the AMAZING wet-process Cafetalera Herbazu. Small lots of La Guaca Bourbon, La Yunta Organic and the award-winning Sin Limites have made for a full list of offerings right now. And more are on their tail, including the CoE winning Genesis.

cupped out

Ugh! It's not the quantity of coffee samples you cup each day ... sometimes it's all about the way you cup them. When coffee is really good, it demands your full concentration. I started this morning at 9 AM, but by 4 PM (with no breakfast or lunch, just some fruit and bread between rounds) I am flat out finished.

Off, Again

I am off for an action-packed pre-ship cupping trip of Central America - Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua in 7 days. Whew. Mostly, this is to select micro lots and cup coffees that are nearly ready to ship. It will be a lot of cuppings with farmers we already work with and coffee "projects" we set up before the season. One thing I can note here, we are going to cut back a bit on the dry-process Centrals this year. That was "so last season" as the kids say. We'll have them for sure, just not to the degree of 2008.
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