Monday, April 11, 2005

Coffee Blogging: Current Beans

I didn't drink coffee until my first winter in Alaska. Suddenly this warm weather California-raised kid thought that hot cuppa looked pretty attractive. Go figure. The coffee I learned to drink was pretty hideous stuff, often sour and bitter after spending eight or so hours simmering down in one of the jugs on the planes I used to fly on. (The big one, not the small.) I've since moved on to better coffee, and have now been roasting at home for nearly five years. One of the reasons I like roasting my own coffee is that I prefer much lighter roasts than I can get at the Borg-like chains. It's also much cheaper and I can get a vastly wider range of interesting coffees. I get all my beans and roasting supplies from Sweet Maria's near San Francisco. They're a small shop intensely passionate about finding the best coffee from around the world. They also work hard for finding good fair trade coffee, priced high enough to keep small farmers profitably in business. Check out Sweet Maria's if you have even the slightest interest in roasting your own beans at home. They're terrific sources of great beans, great supplies and even better advice for home roasters. In any case, here are a few current favorites I've been working through:
  • El Salvador Cup of Excellence, Lot #12. SM's is currently out of this, but has Lot #15 and #19 currently in stock. Talk about great stuff! My wife had an El Salvadoran classmate at one of her courses and he was justafiably proud of how El Salvador was pulling itself out of the doldrums into world-class coffee. These Cup of Excellence offerings are just plain good.
  • Paupa New Guinea -- Kimmel estate. Wonderful flavors, great body.
  • Liquid Amber Espresso Blend. Just incredible stuff for terrific espresso. Great crema, sweet flavors, lots of depth and intensity. I've also tried SM's Monkey Blend, but didn't like it anywhere as much as the Amber.
(Disclaimer: I get no compensation in any form from Sweet Maria's. I'm just a very happy customer!)

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