Creativity and Consistency: How Basic Roasting Notes Can Make Every Cup Memorable



Keeping a Coffee Roasting Journal

What an amazing experience to sip that perfect cup of coffee made from top-quality beans roasted just the way you like them! But now and again, we experience a new batch of beans that just did not develop as we had expected, and we find ourselves wondering what went wrong.

The inspiration we receive from finding unique exceptional coffees is a big part of our home-roasting hobbies, but it also presents some challenges. Not all green coffee beans are alike! Each variety requires slightly different roasting to achieve its best potential.

Even if you roast the same beans every time, you may still find some inconsistencies. Often, these can be traced to small and easily overlooked variations in the roasting process.

Either way, a basic roasting journal can help you dial in your processes and create the profiles you desire every time. We know, we know… it sounds like homework! But if you keep it simple and savor the sampling, you will begin to find a lot of fun in keeping records of your home coffee roasting journey. No need to be fancy – a tiny notebook stored with your roaster should work fine.

taste testing many coffees
The best way to find out what coffees you like is to
roast and taste many varieties!

Bean Info: Note the name, region, farm, variety, etc. Complete information about green beans can help you to know which varieties and regions produce beans that tend toward your preferences. It will also help you to decide on replacement beans if your favorites become unavailable. At Burman Coffee Traders, we make it easy to get this information – on each bag of green beans, labels include country, region and farm, processing method, and some include cultivar (those that do not are estate-wide blends).

There are 4 factors that you should include in your roasting records:

Time: Timing is everything! And roasting great coffee takes time. But how much time? That depends on the bean, the equipment, and the desired roast point and flavor profile. By carefully observing the time it takes to begin yellowing the beans, time to first and second cracks, and total roast time (total roast time is probably easiest to track when beginning journaling), and doing so on your equipment, you will be able to more consistently hit those preferred flavor profiles. Careful attention to roasting times is also the best way to avoid the guessing game which can be nerve-wracking when determining roast level by sight alone!

Temperature: Roasting temperature is directly related to the amount of time a batch takes to roast. But the intensity of heat can also substantially impact the chemical reactions that take place in the beans during roasting, resulting in unintended variations. Again, the equipment you are using will make a difference. For some roasters, recording temperatures will mean noting simply whether high, medium, or low setting was used. On more sophisticated roasters, you will be able to record specific temperature readings from each step of the roast. Be as accurate as your equipment allows.

Tasting notes: How will you know if your process resulted in the flavors you desire? A cupping, of course! Recruit your friends and family to assist you in identifying the taste characteristics of the body, aroma and flavors. (Check out our tips on tasting notes: Taste Qualities of Good Coffee). Take detailed notes. Everyone’s palate is different and there are no wrong answers! Once you have collected sensory data, you will be more ready to make the right adjustments to bean type, time and temperature.

These factors are only the most basic. The complexities of coffee present countless elements that may be evaluated, including roast evenness (are some beans scorched on one side or splotchy?), overall consistency (are all beans the same shade?), presence of chaff, and undesirable defects such as chipping or breaking beans, pest damage, etc. Feel free to totally geek out in pursuit of that perfect cup, or just keep it simple and breathe easy feeling reassured that you are getting your best roasting results every time.

The most valuable benefit of a roasting journal is the realization that consistency and creativity can go hand in hand for the skilled home roaster. With the learning that comes from roasting notes, you can gradually perfect your roasting skills and become a master of the liquid arts!


More Recommendations


INDONESIAN RFA ORG. BALINESE KINTAMANI NATURAL

DESCRIPTION

A very unique, overly fermented (very fruity) cup of joe. Closer to a natural Ethiopian than other Indonesian coffee.

Bali is a tiny island– actually, a submerged volcano peak – just off the east coast of Java, with many small coffee farms. The farmers who grow Kintamani Natural belong to cooperative organizations known as Subak Abian (SA) founded on a Hindu philosophy known as “Tri Hita Karana” (the three causes of happiness). SA co-ops foster community in agricultural, social and religious activities, and have been certified Organic since 2008. Pesticides are never used on their coffee farms, and fertilizers are 100% organic.

SA farmers grow almost all heirloom Arabicas, Typica & Bourbon. They use trees such as Erythrina, Tangerine, and Orange to shade the coffee, which improves yield and cup quality and enhances wildlife habitat.

A couple of years ago, our supplier Royal Coffee visited the Subak Abians, who also produced our semi-washed “Blue Moon” coffee. Noting the scarcity of groundwater due to very coarse volcanic soil, Royal suggested trying natural (dry) processing. Raised beds are already used for drying parchment for Blue Moon, so it was easy to also use them to dry whole ripe cherry for this coffee. They did a test batch, and Royal was so blown away by the quality and flavor they purchased a full container!

“Kintamani Natural” is 100% sundried on raised beds; It’s perhaps the first ever special prep natural Indonesian. Raised beds keep the cherry free of dirty flavor, and facilitate very quick drying in Bali’s high altitude sun and constant island breeze. The cup is extraordinarily exotic and unique with a rich, buttery mouthfeel, while retaining Indonesia’s full-bodied, savory character. It features super-intense, brandyish fruit flavors of plum and sweet cherry at lighter roasts; darker roasts develop much heavier body with a spicy, smoky twist. An easy roaster that’s exceptionally versatile, roast Bali “Kitamani Natural” any way you’d like; slow or quick, from first crack to French, you’ll get very unique and terrific flavor!

Tasting Notes:
Very fruity and smooth, low acidity and fuller bodied. This crop year is a little closer to its Indonesian roots with the full body and a bit more of a bakers chocolate tone coming in the aftertaste. A little less extreme than previous years but just as tasty.

Roasting Notes:
City plus to right before 2nd crack is going to be the sweet spot. Super light roasting and the chocolaty factor is a bit earthy but if you hit the lighter roast right, adds a little hint of citrus acidity which can be tasty but risks of overly earthy makes me push it more towards a medium roast. Right before 2nd crack mutes up a bit of fruit but gets more like a single origin mokka java, a bit rough chocolate and a bit of fruit – almost anyone would like that cup!

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!!

ETHIOPIAN ORG. NATURAL YIRGACHEFFE GR. 1 GEDEB GOTITI – TOP LOT 167

DESCRIPTION

Easily one of my favorite Ethiopian lots of the year!

Oh man, if only they could all taste this good. Although a little pricier coffee, this cup will show what an Ethiopian Natural can achieve.

This coffee – similar to the last Hambela top lot is sourced from METAD Agricultural Development PLC (METAD). METAD is a third-generation family owned business with a rich history that began after World War II when the Ethiopian Emperor awarded Muluemebet Emiru, the first African female pilot and family matriarch, with land in the Guji and Sidama zones that has become the Hambela Coffee Estate. METAD is managed by Aman Adinew who returned to Ethiopia after many years working abroad at the executive level for multiple fortune 500 companies because he wanted to make a difference for his family and community. Through Aman’s leadership, METAD has strengthened the local community with employment opportunities including a workforce that is over seventy percent women, educational opportunities including university scholarships and sponsorship for a state-of-the-art elementary school with more than 700 students, and healthcare for employees. METAD was also first to partner with Grounds for Health in Ethiopia to implement a successful cervical cancer screening program for women within the coffee growing communities. METAD has an expanding Out-grower program designed to provide technical assistance, share modern farming equipment, and provide certification programs for more than 5,000 local farmers who are paid premiums for their cherry and second payments after coffee is sold. Quality and certification premiums have also helped METAD build roads and community centers. METAD has the first and only private state-of-the-art SCAA certified coffee quality control lab on the African continent used to train both domestic and international coffee professionals.

Tasting Notes:
A clean, smooth and exotic cup with some awesome complexities. The aroma hits that dark fruit note on the head – smells like floral blueberries and blackberries. Its body is smooth, rich and clean. The flavor has many layers of lemon-grass, berries, chocolate, and orange peel. A delicate cup – mostly going after those fruity floral and sweet tones, a little chocolaty edge to it at the darker roasts but we do not recommend roasting it dark by any means. Super light roasts are clean but much more citric, city + (light to medium) really brings forth the berry notes, a jammier body but still retains a little orange-ish acidic sparkle note. Strong medium roasts are pretty fantastic as well, balances the cup nicely, still delicate and sweet as can be but without that citric edge to it.

Roasting Notes:
Light to medium roasts are where its at 100% on this cup. If your a dark roast fan, look to some other offerings. Roasts awesomely easy for an Ethiopian Natural,  even roasting but does have a bit higher chaff content. One may want to give it a couple days setup if shooting for those real light roasts. We recommend starting with a nice medium roast and adjusting to personal taste preference.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!!

HAITIAN SINGING ROOSTER HYBRID HONEY PROCESSED

DESCRIPTION

*Wild cup with plenty of ferment notes

We found a new source for some very cool Haitian coffees. The folks working on the ground in Haiti live right here in Madison, Wisconsin (at least some of them), they are called Singing Rooster. Singing Rooster is a non-profit that brings Haitian products (art, coffee, cocoa and more) direct to consumers and stores with 100% of the proceeds funneling back to the farmers and communities in Haiti. One cannot argue with more money and assistance getting to the farmers and communities. Sure, its good to feel good about the beans you buy but something just as important or even more important is the product itself; the coffee is beautiful, the quality of prep and consistency of the beans is up easily a couple of notches over the last couple of Haitians we had. Way cleaner cup that we have seen before and for the same price, with more money getting to the farmers and communities. A win-win in anyone’s book.

Almost every farmer is now experimenting with honey and natural processed coffees.  They are the more sustainable route to go, using less fresh water to process the beans. There is a huge diversity of flavors honey and natural processed coffees can produce. This cup is a perfect example of a ferment natural; when one does natural processing and really slows down the dry time, that’s where they get exotic.  the beans ferment in the coffee fruit and bring some wonderful exotic tones to the cup; with being exotic, realize some love this, some hate this.

Tasting Notes:
A brighter and wilder cup for sure. Lemongrass and floral upfront with some very nice red fruit notes, on the sweeter side and balanced with a bakers chocolate like earthiness (a good contrast) found in the other Haitian coffees. Lighter roasts will let the exotic profile shine but be pretty punchy with a slight risk of grassy tones if you get a couple beans too close to first crack.  Medium roasts were our favorite for its more balanced; a pronounced darker tone along with the more exotic floral and fruit, a little fuller bodied. Darker roasts touching 2nd crack are far less fruity and hold more true to the Haitian profile, a little floral acidity still comes through the cup but strong and smoky with almost no hint of being a ferment natural.

Roasting Notes:
Generally a light to strong medium roast coffee but from our group tasting, somebody liked it at almost every roast. Ferment naturals will always roast uneven. To extend the dry, one had to pile them up and/or not flip them often on the drying patios. This causes uneven drying. Some beans will roast a little quicker, some a little slower. When roasting these guys, I always judge them by the darker roast beans. try to keep those before 2nd crack. If doing a quick roast and follow those rules, you may want to flick out anything still clearly before 1st crack or risk some grassy tones. Good to let it setup a little longer at the lighter roast points.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!!

HAITIAN SINGING ROOSTER HIGH ALTITUDE THIOTTE APCAB GROUP APPCCI/KOLEN

DESCRIPTION

We found a new source for some very cool Haitian coffees. The folks working on the ground in Haiti live right here in Madison, Wisconsin (at least some of them), they are called Singing Rooster. Singing Rooster is a non-profit that brings Haitian products (art, coffee, cocoa and more) direct to consumers and stores with 100% of the proceeds funneling back to the farmers and communities in Haiti. Although we love Joey and he has good values for his business, one cannot argue with more money and assistance getting to the farmers and communities. Sure, its good to feel good about the beans you buy but something just as important or even more important is the product itself; the coffee is beautiful, the quality of prep and consistency of the beans is up easily a couple of notches over the last couple of Haitians we had. Way cleaner cup that we have seen before and for the same price, with more money getting to the farmers and communities. A win-win in anyone’s book.

This is year two of working closely with Singing Rooster and we picked out 4 awesome lots. 3 washed processed from different regions and one proto type honey processed lot still on a boat. All fantastic and pretty different offerings.

This coffee is from the APCAB group of coops, located in the Sud Est department of Haiti (southern) – this specific coffee is coming from a micro-region right outside of Thiotte.

Coffee trees thrive in Haiti. Mountains aren’t good for most agriculture, but they’re IDEAL for coffee; coffee trees thrive in moist but well-drained soil at high altitudes. The higher the altitude, the bigger/harder the bean, the better the coffee!

Tasting Notes:
A very clean and rich cup of coffee. A little hint of acidity at the lighter roast points which bring a little soft fruit tone upfront. A bit fuller bodied with awesome nutty and chocolaty tones really balancing out the cup. Good from light to dark but most Haitian fans will most likely go for bolder and darker toned – which would be at darker roasts.

Roasting Notes:
We recommend a strong medium roast – just before the 2nd crack – keeps it fuller bodied and smooth. A cool cup at a city plus roast as well but will be nuttier with that island acidity. Dark roast is very tasty as well.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!!

HAITIAN SINGING ROOSTER HIGH ALTITUDE BAPTISTE UCOCAB GROUP CAB CO-OP

DESCRIPTION

We found a new source for some very cool Haitian coffees. The folks working on the ground in Haiti live right here in Madison, Wi (at least some of them), they are called Singing Rooster. Singing Rooster is a non-profit that brings Haitian products (art, coffee, cocoa and more) direct to consumers and stores with 100% of the proceeds funneling back to the farmers and communities in Haiti. Although we love Joey and he has good values for his business, one cannot argue with more money and assistance getting to the farmers and communities. Sure, its good to feel good about the beans you buy but something just as important or even more important is the product itself; the coffee is beautiful, the quality of prep and consistency of the beans is up easily a couple of notches over the last couple of Haitians we had. Way cleaner cup that we have seen before and for the same price, with more money getting to the farmers and communities. A win-win in anyone’s book.

This is year two of working closely with Singing Rooster and we picked out 4 awesome lots. 3 washed processed from different regions and one proto type honey processed lot still on a boat. All fantastic and pretty different offerings.

This coffee is from the UCOCAB group of coops, located in the Central Plateau of Haiti. This group brings together seven different level-one coops from the Baptiste region. Cab is one of the more recognized co-ops producing absolute gems of lots. This coffee is from 900-1300 m altitude.

Coffee trees thrive in Haiti. Mountains aren’t good for most agriculture, but they’re IDEAL for coffee; coffee trees thrive in moist but well-drained soil at high altitudes. The higher the altitude, the bigger/harder the bean, the better the coffee!

Tasting Notes:
This is the first year we have actually seen some highly rated (industry wise) beans from Haiti. Crisp clean acidity at the lighter roasts with very little risk underdeveloped tones. Even though this cup is clean enough to roast light; most will want to get close to 2nd crack for this cup. Fuller bodied and chocolaty with just a little hint of floral acidity at the full city roast. Great balance and a lovely cup!

Roasting Notes:
We recommend a strong medium roast – just before the 2nd crack – keeps it fuller bodied and smooth. A cool cup at a city plus roast as well but will be nuttier with that island acidity. Dark roast is very tasty as well and pretty close to the Haitian Blue Mountain.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!

TANZANIAN NGLIA ESTATE NGORONGORO AB HONEY PROCESSED

DESCRIPTION

Ngila Estate is a 250-hectare farm that is planted with 150,000 coffee trees on 100 hectares of land. The farm has been RFA and Utz certified for a decade, and the owners use traditional methods to fertilize as well as to control pests and diseases, especially focusing on biodiversity.

Coffees are picked and depulped the same day, then fermented underwater for 12 hours. The coffee is washed once to remove any mucilage, and then dried on raised beds for 12 days.

Tasting Notes:

Very complex Tanz cup with a complimentary hybrid honey processing (which is super rare for a Tanz coffee). A bit of floral and red fruit upfront balancing with a nice classic Tanz chocolaty factor. Clean as a whistle and tasty at almost any roast profile. For you natural processed fans, take it a bit lighter to accentuate the fruitiness of the cup. If a classic African fan, a nice full city roast is the way to go. The honey processing will only add some cool aromatics and just a hint of a soft fruit tone at any roasts nearing or into 2nd crack.

Roasting Notes:
We like this coffee best at a medium roast. Great balance, not to extreme in any of its tones and a cup everyone will love. Lighter or darker will be good to experiment with but will depend on personal taste preference. Be in for a tasty treat. Try extending the roast at the light to medium roast points to build a little more body and undertones.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!

MEXICAN TERRUNO NAYARITA NATURAL

DESCRIPTION

This is a co-op that holds a special place in our hearts. This coffee is from 100% traceable, directly traded microlots. Each bag is uniquely identified with a bar code and a serial number. Gathered around an extinct volcano, Cerro San Juan, a committed group of 260 cooperative coffee farmers are working together to produce arguably the best coffee in Mexico. Terruño Nayarita coffees come from heirloom trees. The word ‘Terruño’ means ‘homestead’. These are farmers that take great pride in their coffee. This is the top screen-size/grade from the Terruño Nayarita Co-op.

San Cristobal Coffee Importers takes great care to find and produce excellent coffee, making sure farmers use safe, sustainable shade techniques and provide a fair wage to the workers. Check out their webpage:
San Cristobal

Tasting Notes:
A cool cup of Mexican coffee with unique processing that leaves it far from the normal Mexican cup profile. A bit sweet with very fruity aromatics. Bakers chocolate, malt, smoke and a bit of toasted walnut comprise the darker tones of the cup. A stronger cup with a fuller body for Mexican beans.

Roasting Notes:
A nice medium roast we thought to be the best. Works very nicely at the city to city + roasts (medium) and has a bit more fruit in the cup but if you error too light you will get underdeveloped chocolaty tones which come out a bit earthy.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!

MEXICAN ORG. TERRUÑO NAYARITA WASHED

DESCRIPTION

This is a farm that holds a special place in our hearts. Gathered around an extinct volcano, Cerro San Juan, a committed group of 260 cooperative coffee farmers are working together to produce arguably the best coffee in Mexico. Terruño Nayarita coffees come from heirloom trees. The word ‘Terruño’ means ‘homestead’. These are farmers that take great pride in their coffee.

This is the top screen-size/grade from the Terruño Nayarita Co-op.

San Cristobal Coffee Importers takes great care to find and produce excellent coffee, making sure farmers use safe, sustainable shade techniques and provide a fair wage to the workers. Check out their webpage:
San Cristobal

You can see the quality in the beans. Lighter bodied, a super smooth finish, a hint of brightness, and a sweet caramel tone. Similar in character to Island coffees.

Can be roasted up to a full city +, we think it’s best a little lighter.

Tasting Notes:
A very cool and unique Mexican coffee. A little fuller bodied than most years, good sweetness and a bit of a floral nutty caramel note. A bit lower acidity than previous crops which tends to make it shine at a little fuller roast level. The caramel notes tend to turn a bit more chocolaty close to the second crack.

Roasting Notes:
I would shoot for right before the second crack to just into it – a little bit of a rougher cup into second crack but nice chocolate notes with just a hint of a floral aspect. A bit sweeter and smoother right before the second crack but not quite as chocolaty.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!

COLOMBIAN HUILA ANGELO EDUARDO SOSA TABI NATURAL PROCESSED

A very exotic Colombian offering. This is a slow dried natural, meaning plenty of ferment and fruity tones in the cup profile. Uneven roasting and high chaff, beans like these are changing the coffee game and you will either love or hate them. For a natural fan, this lot is terrific and a perfect example of the processing.

The beans are from a farm called Alto Cielo, located in El Cogollo a community within the municipality of Gigante in the department of Huila, Colombia.

Angelo Eduardo Sosa is the owner and has managed his family’s 25-acre farm for the last 20 years. He is proud of being a student of coffee who continues to learn something new every day. He learned a great deal from his father who was also a coffee farmer and he hopes to pass on his knowledge and passion for coffee to his 3 sons.

Angelo harvests cherry at Alto Cielo and then takes the cherry to the lower and drier elevations of Garzón where he has more control over the delicate natural process. Angelo collaborates with an exporting company called Inconexus to gain access to technical support for best agricultural practices. The partnership has helped to improve quality, increase earnings from coffee sales, and strengthen his family’s livelihood.

This is a single strain Arabica coffee, Tabi – a strain created by crossing a couple different Arabicas: Typica, Bourbon and Timor Hybrid. Bred for its taste and disease resistance.  Although I am not sure we have had a Tabi coffee before, it is very well suited to this natural processing.

Tasting Notes:
Great and very lively red fruit tones, a bit of floral, a little hint of citrus all combining with a traditional Huila undertone (jammy, nutty and chocolaty). Great medium to borderline dark roast coffee. Lighter roasting will really promote the more floral aspects of this cup along with the red fruit and acidity. As one pushes closer to 2nd crack, the acidity mellows considerably, the body gets much larger and its more jammy bodied qualities come out with plenty of fruit tones retained.

Roasting Notes:
A little more challenging to roast with its higher chaff and 2-3 color shades while in the roaster. Good news, it tastes great from light to borderline dark. We would error on the lighter side rather than risk it hitting 2nd crack (besides a single pop or two). We liked it best stopped just at the end of 1st crack, which leaves a light-medium roast profile on the beans. Many will like it a bit darker with that jammy body, if that’s the case, get real close to 2nd crack or upon first pop, cool it out. 48 hour setup on this guy really help smooth it out.

MYANMAR (BURMA) SHAN STATE YWANGAN

In Ywangan, coffees come from mostly smallholder producers, with farms no larger than two or three hectares. Ywangan is a little higher than Pyin Oo Lwin (another major producing region), with the average farm falling between 1,300 and 1,600 meters above sea level. Producers deliver their cherry to a central collections depot daily, where their lots are inspected, graded, and sorted before purchasing. After lots are sorted, they’re sent further along to Pyin Oo Lwin for processing and preparation for export.

Tasting Notes:
A little fuller bodied cup with a lot of complex darker tones. A bit of acidity upfront but only at the lighter roast points; very clean cup. Bakers chocolate and malt are the main tones but they balance nicely at a medium roast with a more floral front end. This reminds me of mix between Costa Rican coffee and Burundi coffee. Way cleaner profile and less herbal than Burundi, has the floral versus chocolate aspect of a Costa.

Roasting Notes:
Fairly easy to roast – will appear one shade darker than it really is. Tends to get a sheen on it on the lighter side of a medium roast. If looking for light to medium, a little splotchiness on the bean is a good thing. If looking for a strong medium to dark roast, wait for the color to even out a bit or just a hint of visible oil. Being a coffee with a strong dark tone at any roast, I would suggest roasting to just before 2nd crack on the darker side.

ETHIOPIAN NATURAL YIRGACHEFFE GR. 1 KOKE CO-OP

The Koke cooperative was established in 1975, and joined The Yirgacheffe Coffee Farmers Cooperative Union (YCFCU) in 2002. It currently has 1,153 member farmers. All of the members grow their coffee on plots of land under 4 hectares. By joining the YCFCU, the KOKE cooperative has benefited from being a part of a larger cooperative and a network of coffee producers. YCFCU has built schools, helped bring electricity to small villages and communities, and built bridges to make transportation safer and easier.

A very exotic and tasty Ethiopian Yirgacheffe.

Tasting Notes:
Good body with some nice brightness right upfront, a bit floral on first sip quickly fades into a nice red fruit tone, especially as the cup cools. The floral/fruit is nicely balanced with a spicy chocolate tone with a faint hint of classic Yirg herbal tea like tones. If you enjoy a nice washed Ethiopian as well as natural processed, this will be the cup for you – not overly fruity, just a nice accent with great depth to the darker tones.

Roasting Notes:
Definitely a lighter roast coffee – one can take it closer to 2nd crack than 1st but all the jazz and exotic tones will be burned out if you touch 2nd crack with this bean. I liked a quicker roast to a city plus (medium) with a 48 hour setup to smooth out those dark tones a little.

 

 

KENYA NYERI RUMUKIA THUNGURI AA – TOP LOT

This is one heck of a top lot. Potent stuff and screams Kenya. Higher acidity gives all sorts of overly floral and soft fruit tones that linger into the aftertaste. Although higher acidity not insanely citrus like, very buzzy acidity. Very chocolaty and fuller bodied with tea like spice notes and a little of that classic Kenyan herbal factor. Somewhere in the balance one gets a hints of fruitiness and caramel before it hits you with that strong chocolaty undertone.

Thunguri, a town containing the factory that produced this zesty Kenyan coffee, lies just over the border inside Kirinyaga county, a mile or so from the Nyeri border.

In all, four of Kenya’s counties converge at the peak of Mt. Kenya: Embu, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, and Meru, each well known for growing some of the country’s finest coffees. Mt. Kenya stands tall in the backdrop of the coffee lands; it is Africa’s second highest peak after Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.

This coffee was grown by smallholders organized around the Thunguri factory (wet mill) in Nyeri County, Kenya. A member of Rumukia Farmers’ Cooperative Society, itself part of the larger Kenya Cooperative Coffee Exporters. The Thunguri Factory processes coffee from members who generally cultivate around 250 coffee trees on half-acre plots.

Tasting Notes:
A great cup! Super clean in its cup characters. Very bright and somewhat fruity at the lighter roasts; citrus, floral and red fruit balanced with just hint of a herbal chocolaty factor. Medium roasts get much nicer balance but build a big bodied darker tone pretty quickly, covers up most of the fruity factor but the more citrus floral cuts right through it, almost a grapefruit tone a the right roast. Darker roasts get very strong with predominate bakers chocolate and herbal like tones coming through, a little smoky and roasty.

Roasting Notes: 
Good at almost every roast but be aware, it is a more extreme cup. Lighter roasts will be very acidic, dark roasts very full bodied with potent chocolaty spice and herbal. Most will want to start at a full city and go lighter or darker per personal taste. This is a good candidate to slow down the roast a bit (especially at the lighter roasts), mute up a little of the acidity and build greater flavor depth.

GUATEMALAN HUEHUETENANGO TRES CRUCES

This coffee is from a family owned estate within the municipality of La Libertad in the department of Huehuetenango, Guatemala. The Vides family owns and operates several coffee estates through Vides58, a company named after Jorge Vides Molina, who established the families first coffee production at La Balsa in 1958 after he retired from a 30 year career as a distinguished doctor in Guatemala. Today, María Elena Vides (Jorge’s daughter), and Renardo Ovalle (Jorge’s grandson) continue Jorge’s legacy at Vides58. Their passion for quality was first recognized over 15 years ago with a second-place finish in the 2002 Cup of the Excellence. In addition to their passion for quality coffee, Vides58 partners with CoffeeCare to ensure that parents who work on the family’s estates have healthy place to send their children to learn and play while they are at work. Maria is also a member of the Guatemalan chapter of the International Women’s Coffee Alliance.

Tasting Notes:
A great classic Huehue coffee. Medium bodied and fairly low acidity, predominately malty toned, a bit sweeter and simpler in this cups case. They can be pretty dry and complex. A little hint of a nice winy acidity only at the light roast points. Much bigger bodied, slightly less sweet with complimenting roasty and smoky notes at the darker roast levels.

Roasting Notes:
Easy to roast, a medium to dark roast coffee. Light roasts have a little jazzy acidity but mute up a lot of the sweeter malty tones that make this cup shine. For those who want to keep it a little crisper, try a faster hotter roast. Can be drawn out at lower temps to get it a little more body and dryer more complex darker tones.

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – CARPENTER ESTATES – SIGRI KULA PEABERRY

This season we went with what they call Kula processing. Kula processing means only dried on raised drying beds and double screened via color sorter and double hand picking. Basically means the best of the best from Carpenter Estates.

These Sigri Estate coffees are gems – nothing like your traditional PNG coffees. Almost a 0 defect screen with immaculate processing. You can just look at the beans and see the care and time that went into them. Sigri has been in a game for a long time but within the last 5 years has taken quality to a different level.

As with all of our relationships coffees, not only are they changing the coffee game for themselves, but also the whole area and region they are in. They are raising wages and education (and quality) for every farmer around them – the big project this year to unleash for the locals

All coffee bearing the Sigri name is grown at over 5000 feet elevation. Sigri considers soil and water conservation as a priority, and, the plantation is bird and eco-friendly. The plantation employs a medium density shade strategy, using two types of shade trees. This promotes even ripening of coffee cherries and provides habitat for at least 90 species of birds.

Sigri is a washed Arabica coffee and undergoes a rigorous wet factory process. Quality Control begins in the field; Cherry coffee is hand-picked and carefully checked for uniformity; it must be red and fully ripe which allows for the correct balance of sugar and acid within the cherry. This selected cherry is then pulped on the day of picking.

A fermentation process follows, a period of three days broken every 24 hours by washing – but unlike most other brands, the Sigri process follows this by total immersion in water for a further day, which creates a superior coffee. Careful conditioning of 21 days is followed by hulling, grading, color sorting and finally hand sorting. This combined with rigorous quality control before packing produces the finest green been for which Sigri is renowned.

All grades are then continuously sample-roasted and liquored by experts. This provides a final check on the quality of the green bean product, and is a practice unique in Papua New Guinea.

Tasting Notes: 
Similar to the AA bean but with a bit stronger fruit tones coming through. Silky smooth and very clean. Lower acidity with good sweetness and balance. Very chocolaty/caramel type cup of coffee with some very cool nutty(almond) accents. If you roast before 2nd crack, which is preferred, one can balance in some melon and fruit acidity into the mix which is a big plus to the depth of flavor.

Roasting Notes:
Good almost anywhere – I would still avoid real light roasts for you will find a bit of raw acidity and underdeveloped darker tones. City plus to as dark as you want to go. To see it shine, keep it before 2nd crack. Dark roasts will impress dark roast fans but will burn out many tones that make this cup pretty stellar.

The quick story of Papua New Guinea Sigri (one can clear up a lot of information when you get on the ground somewhere):

What I and many others thought was Sigri Estate is actually Carpenter Estates – Sigri being only one of the areas of the estate (easily the most famous). The other two are Bunum Wo and Kindbng (sounds like Kin ding). Each of the three produces a different cup quality; PNG being full of microclimates really puts a different spin on each section. Each one is like its own village situated right next to each other, with separate wet mills, drying fields, nurseries, living quarters, and schools for each of the three sections. But they do share a couple facilities (dry mill, bagging, trucking to port) and many staff.

Each of the three sections of Carpenter Estates has separate fields for different strains and top-notch agronomists to grow the best beans. Most of these folks have coffee in their blood. Being a part of the coffee here is a birthright for them (seen as a cradle to the grave philosophy). Great pride all around.

LOCATION: Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands Province
ALTITUDE: 1550 m above sea level
SOIL TYPE: Volcanic
SHADE TREES:Old-growth trees
RAINFALLS YEAR:2200mm
AVE TEMP:24°C

PAPUA NEW GUINEA SIANE CHIMBU PLANTATION PEABERRY

Papua New Guinea Plantation Peaberry is sourced from farms organized around the Siane Organic Agriculture Cooperative (SOAC) located in the Chuave district within the province of Chimbu, Papua New Guinea.  SOAC accesses the international coffee markets for farmers, creating greater earning capacity from direct trade relationships. SOAC also assist farmers with financing, coffee quality improvement, organic certification, and community based projects that promote gender equality and education.

Tasting Notes:
A little fuller bodied and darker toned cup of coffee. A small hint of an herbally earthiness (like a Sumatra) balanced with a semi-sweet chocolaty undertone. A cool floral spice aroma with a bit of spice coming through in the cup. Cleaner for a PNG coffee; a good everyday drinker. Similar to an Indonesian coffee but a bit cleaner being washed processed.

Roasting Notes:
Easy to roast, city to full city roasting to see this coffee shine – light roasts will be a little front loaded with acidity, dark roasts get a bit edgy. Anywhere in between will give a very smooth and defined cup. A quicker roast leaves it a bit sweeter and more floral while an extended roasts gives it more of a creamy body while muting up the floral aspect.

 

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – CARPENTER ESTATES – SIGRI KULA AA

This season we went with what they call Kula processing. Kula processing means only dried on raised drying beds and double screened via color sorter and double hand picking. Basically means the best of the best from Carpenter Estates.

These Sigri Estate coffees are gems – nothing like your traditional PNG coffees. Almost a 0 defect screen with immaculate processing. You can just look at the beans and see the care and time that went into them. Sigri has been in a game for a long time but within the last 5 years has taken quality to a different level.

As with all of our relationships coffees, not only are they changing the coffee game for themselves, but also the whole area and region they are in. They are raising wages and education (and quality) for every farmer around them – the big project this year to unleash for the locals

All coffee bearing the Sigri name is grown at over 5000 feet elevation. Sigri considers soil and water conservation as a priority, and, the plantation is bird and eco-friendly. The plantation employs a medium density shade strategy, using two types of shade trees. This promotes even ripening of coffee cherries and provides habitat for at least 90 species of birds.

Sigri is a washed Arabica coffee and undergoes a rigorous wet factory process. Quality Control begins in the field; Cherry coffee is hand-picked and carefully checked for uniformity; it must be red and fully ripe which allows for the correct balance of sugar and acid within the cherry. This selected cherry is then pulped on the day of picking.

A fermentation process follows, a period of three days broken every 24 hours by washing – but unlike most other brands, the Sigri process follows this by total immersion in water for a further day, which creates a superior coffee. Careful conditioning of 21 days is followed by hulling, grading, color sorting and finally hand sorting. This combined with rigorous quality control before packing produces the finest green been for which Sigri is renowned.

All grades are then continuously sample-roasted and liquored by experts. This provides a final check on the quality of the green bean product, and is a practice unique in Papua New Guinea.

Tasting Notes: 
Silky smooth and very clean. Lower acidity with good sweetness and balance. Very chocolaty/caramel type cup of coffee with some very cool nutty(almond) accents. If you roast before 2nd crack, which is preferred, one can balance in some orangeish soft fruit acidity into the mix which is a big plus to the depth of flavor.

Roasting Notes:
Good almost anywhere – i would still avoid real light roasts for you will find a bit of raw acidity and underdeveloped darker tones. City plus to as dark as you want to go. To see it shine, keep it before 2nd crack. Dark roasts will impress dark roast fans but will burn out many tones that make this cup pretty stellar.

The quick story of Papua New Guinea Sigri (one can clear up a lot of information when you get on the ground somewhere):

What I and many others thought was Sigri Estate is actually Carpenter Estates – Sigri being only one of the areas of the estate (easily the most famous). The other two are Bunum Wo and Kindbng (sounds like Kin ding). Each of the three produces a different cup quality; PNG being full of microclimates really puts a different spin on each section. Each one is like its own village situated right next to each other, with separate wet mills, drying fields, nurseries, living quarters, and schools for each of the three sections. But they do share a couple facilities (dry mill, bagging, trucking to port) and many staff.

Each of the three sections of Carpenter Estates has separate fields for different strains and top-notch agronomists to grow the best beans. Most of these folks have coffee in their blood. Being a part of the coffee here is a birthright for them (seen as a cradle to the grave philosophy). Great pride all around.

LOCATION: Wahgi Valley, Western Highlands Province
ALTITUDE: 1550 m above sea level
SOIL TYPE: Volcanic
SHADE TREES:Old-growth trees
RAINFALLS YEAR:2200mm
AVE TEMP:24°C

PAPUA NEW GUINEA – CARPENTER ESTATES – SIGRI A/X HIGHLANDS

We have carried Sigri coffee before; many years ago and through big channel distributors. The coffee always had a cool story but was not the best on the block nor a direct relationship. We started communicating with them a couple years ago and the youngest member of the family came out to Wisconsin to visit. We were astonished at how far they have come and the operation they were running.

Boy have things changed for Sigri since the last time we saw their beans (6-7 years ago). Now a direct relationship and some beautiful fantastic offerings are already coming through.

The highlands of PNG are where all the good beans come from – Sigri is on a bit of the easterly edge of the highlands and maintains a true estate. This A/X is not from their estate but I think has the coolest story behind it. The highlands besides a couple estates are still filled with indigenous coffee growers – wild strains, small villages, the wild side of PNG. The problem is they have no processing equipment and the beans took days if not weeks to get to a processing plant for even the 1st step (normally done within hours of picking). This delay in processing was causing bad beans, no matter how cool the plants and how well they picked them, they had no choice but to produce some of the lower quality PNG beans with the lack of infrastructure. So if good beans were being produced, it was because a 3rd party was stepping in and buying the cherry for well under market value and transporting it quickly to private processing plants – no good for the small scale farmer.

Sigri had a great idea, they ran around to these remote areas and dropped off nice pulping machine, the big trick to producing quality beans it to quickly pulp it after picking. Now the beans could safely without sacrificing too much quality take the transit time to get to the awesome Sigri wetmill. Sigri then takes it from there and gives the beans the same attention to quality as there own estate coffee. Giving it the Sigri name also really help these farmers market and sell their top notch beans to foreign markets which brings in a huge premium to the below market prices they were getting before.

Tasting Notes: 
A very surprisingly nice cup that is pretty different from the Estate coffees, one can see the wilder plants and strains really shine. A little lighter bodied than most PNGs it has some fantastic floral/caramel notes and balance. A bit brighter but by no means a high acidity coffee, gives it almost a Central American spin at the lighter roast points. Darker roast points one can see a bit more classic PNG, bakers chocolate and spice will be the darker roast tones with no hint of acidity.

Roasting Notes:
Boy we thought this cup really shined a bit lighter, city plus to full city. A little acidity pokes out but adds a lot of sweetness. The cup holds up nicely darker as well but will burn out the bit of caramel pretty close to 2nd crack.

The quick story of Papua New Guinea Sigri (one can clear up a lot of information when you get on the ground somewhere):

What I and many others thought was Sigri Estate is actually Carpenter Estates – Sigri being only one of the areas of the estate (easily the most famous). The other two are Bunum Wo and Kindbng (sounds like Kin ding). Each of the three produces a different cup quality; PNG being full of microclimates really puts a different spin on each section. Each one is like its own village situated right next to each other, with separate wet mills, drying fields, nurseries, living quarters, and schools for each of the three sections. But they do share a couple facilities (dry mill, bagging, trucking to port) and many staff.

Each of the three sections of Carpenter Estates has separate fields for different strains and top-notch agronomists to grow the best beans. Most of these folks have coffee in their blood. Being a part of the coffee here is a birthright for them (seen as a cradle to the grave philosophy). Great pride all around.

SEE OUR FULL COFFEE LIST HERE!