Archive for May, 2009

Kick It Up for Coffee Kids – Final Week Results

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , on May 30, 2009 by Chad

The month-long Kick It Up for Coffee Kids auction over at homeroasters.org just completed this evening.

Throughout the month of May 2009, Homeroasters.org conducted
auctions on a wide variety of items, many of which the specialty
coffee industry donated with jubilation. Items up for bid ranged from
assortments of top-quality green coffee, to magazine subscriptions,
grinders, brewers, roasters and much, much more; all proceeds are going
directly to Coffee Kids.

Here is the final tally for the auction:

Week 1 Subtotal $890.00
Week 2 Subtotal $775.00
Week 3 Subtotal $587.00
Week 4 Subtotal $1,026.00
Stone Soup items Subtotal $610.00
Month-long items Subtotal $1,720.00

Total Auction $5,608.00

The top lot was a Behmor 1600 home coffee roaster, donated by Joe Behm, combined with 15 pounds of Colombian Organic Don Telmo Reserva Bourbon donated by Royal Coffee NY, which fetched $600.  Close second was the refurbished Zassenhaus hand grinder donated by Orphan Espresso, which fetched a last minute, over-the-top bid of $547.  Additionally, Joe Behm donated a second roaster as a surprise last-minute lot for the second place bidder.

Thank you to all who participated as bidders, donors, well-wishers, public advocates via blog or Twitter, and organizers.  As one of the organizing team, all of you made our work possible, and made for a month and a result well beyond any of our expectations.  Thank you all for allowing us to funnel your incredible generousity to the kids!

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El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence Washington DC Cupping – Initial Thoughts

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting, coffee shop with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 28, 2009 by Chad

Yesterday I held my fist Cup of Excellence official group cupping at the Counter Culture Coffee Washington DC training center.  We had six people cupping these excellent coffees.  First, I have to extend a huge thank you to Alex Brown, who runs the training center for all his hard work helping me host this event.  I could not have done this without you carrying so much of the load.  Thanks also to Counter Culture Coffee for setting up the training center as a place where all in the local specialty coffee scene can collect and do wonderful things.

Besides me, our small crowd included Samuel Demisse from Keffa Coffee, the aforementioned Alex Brown, Joel Finkelstein from Qualia Coffeehouse, David Fritzler from Tryst Coffeehouse, and our surprise star-cupper, Peter Lynagh (formerly of CoE Founder George Howell’s Terroir Coffee).  Here he is in action back in the Terroir days.

When I invited Peter, the name rang a bell–and I knew he had some experience, but I had not yet connected the dots–turns out I brought in ringer.  While he looks young, he’s been on two CoE juries (I believe he was the youngest jury member ever in the CoE) and learned and worked for over five years alongside George Howell and his staff at Terroir.  Peter was a great addition to our event, and had excellent insight into the beans–as did all of our cuppers.

We managed to stay mostly on schedule, and reached some consensus on lot preferences.  Overall, there were some outstanding lots on the table–most of agreed that the #1 lot stood out in the top five.  From my own view, the effort to arrange for a group cupping was infinitely more satisfying than cupping the lots solo.  I learned so much more from having all of us compare notes after each flight, and it was more satisfying to roast and prepare samples for more than just me.  Everyone enjoyed themselves and we drove off into thoughts of future plans for local events and cuppings.  Stay tuned for more events.

When I first hatched the idea of hosting a CoE cupping, I had little idea what I had signed up to do.  Roasting and cupping the Colombia samples gave me a view into the roasting effort and the concentration needed to cup several flights of similar origins, but I had yet to learn all the work needed to pull together the event for more people.   I had little idea of the interest or potential turnout, especially for an unknown and a homeroaster.  As it turned out, we had a good mix of people, and a small enough group that the logistics did not overwhelm me on the first attempt–another good learning experience.

One thought has stuck with me as I prepared and participated in the event.  As I try to break further into the industry, with coffee as an avocation vice vocation, it’s easy to see where I am at a great disadvantage in one area.  You see, in one particular way there is a huge difference between the home-(roaster, cupper, barista) and the professional roaster/barista/cupper that is comitted to their craft.  What the “home-” version lacks are the hours, the daily sessions, in many cases the tools, and, most importantly I think, the mentoring that many folks get from the master roasters and cuppers that have been refining their craft for decades.  If I look at what Peter brought to the table, it was easy to see the years of mentoring that George Howell and his staff gave him.  I see some of the same things as I interact more with the pros–I just do not have the hours available to practice my craft like they do.  It’s not insurmoutable, but it is an important lesson to remember.  I will not go as far to say that the home-roaster or home-barista does not have useful insights to provide to the discussion.  What I and we must remember is to engage the community with the humitily that all of us have far more to learn than we have learned.  That said, what I do think the home- community can bring to the table is an ability to collect, communicate, and innovate at a pace which the individual professional cannot hope to achieve. The sheer numbers, if networked well, can provide for a pace that could be blistering.  Think of an analogy of the current version of massively parallel computers, which consist of thousands of small, relatively cheap individual processors linked together and quickly took over the supercomputer market vs. the large, expensive processors like the old Cray computers.  That’s the potential of what a well-connected home- or prosumer community could bring to specialty coffee.

An event like this is humbling, and a good reminder of what more I have to learn.  That is not disheartening in the least–in fact, the view ahead looks better every day.

I’ll post some more thoughts after another round of CoE cupping tomorrow, along with some photos of this event that I managed to grab in between slurps.

Nicaragua Cup of Excellence 2009 – Winning Farms

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on May 25, 2009 by Chad

The 2009 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence competition completed May 22.  This competition also heralded two major milestones–the 50th Cup of Excellence competition, and the 10th anniversary of the Cup of Excellence.  The stars came out for the international jury, including one of the CoE founders George Howell and Geoff Watts from Intelligentsia, and others whose combined total of CoE juries ranged close to two hundred.  The jury awarded the Cup of Excellence to twenty-six lots, including five lots achieving a CoE Presidential award for scoring higher than 90 points on the final day.  A fine showing for this special event.

Full listing of the winning lots can be found here (in Spanish); I’ve also reproduced them below.  Many thanks to Sarah Allen of Barista Magazine (also a Kick It Up for Coffee Kids contributor) for the regular blog updates and pictures from the event.  Geoff Watts and George Howell also contributed mid-week updates–thank you for taking time out to keep us onlookers informed.

UPDATE:  Cup of Excellence site now has the winning farms posted.

Lot Farm Farmer Score
1 La Esperanza Maria Amparo Castellano Paguaga 92.75
2 El Recuerdo Jose Efrain Espinales Bautista 91.83
3 Cima del Cielo Francisco Noel Zeledon Centeno 90.75
4 La Picona Olga Marina Gonzalez Cuadra 90.43
5 San Jose Ruperto Alidio Cornejo Salgado 90.30
6 Santa Maria de Lourdes Octavio Jose Peralta Paguaga 88.43
7 La Minita Inversiones Mierisch 88.08
8 La Carolina Andres Figueroa Lopez 87.68
9 San Antonio Bernardino Fortin Altamirano 87.38
10 Santa Gema Mario Jose Vilchez Urbina 86.53
11 Las Limas Donald Ramon Roque Blandino 86.47
12 Himalaya Mauricio Arturo Ortez Beltran 86.28
13 Las Colinas Eugenio de los Angeles Zeledon Vilchez 86.25
14 Buenos Aires Luis Emilio Valladarez 85.28
15 La Leona Luis Beltran Cornejo Barreda 85.22
16 Los Planes del Aguila Bayardo Jose Diaz Garmendia 85.19
17 La Guadalupana Napoleon Tercero Gomez 84.97
18 Coop. 15 de Septiembre Aristidez Miranda Blandon 84.86
19 Los Achiote Estela Marina Mendoza Sanders 84.69
20 Monte Cristo Jaime Jose Molina Fiallos 84.47
21 El Naranjo Dipilto Luis Emilio Valladarez 84.44
22 Los Cipreses Domingo de Jesus Herrera Ruiz 84.25
23 Las Nubes Noel Antonio Ruiz Ramos 84.19
24 Santa Fatima Jose Efrain Guillen Portillo 84.19
25 Cofradia Fabricio de Jesus Zeledon Lopez 84.17
26 Oro Verde Bismark Pastrana Perez 84.00

El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence – Washington DC Cupping Event

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , on May 25, 2009 by Chad

Thanks to the generosity of Alex Brown and the folks at Counter Culture Coffee, I will be hosting a cupping event for the top twenty lots from the El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence.  The event will occur at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday May 27, 2009 at the Counter Culture Washington DC training center.  Please contact me (chad at noquartercoffee dot com) if you are interested in attending.  The space is limited, but we’re not out of room just yet.  Map information is below.

I’m roasting up samples right now–these are some beautiful coffees, and the roasting fragrances fill the air with the anticipation of excellent cups.

Honduras 2009 Cup of Excellence – Winning Farms

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by Chad

The 2009 Honduras Cup of Excellence competition completed May 15th.  The international jury awarded the Cup of Excellence to thirty-nine lots.  Samples should be shipping to prospective buyers in the next few weeks.

Full listing of the winning lots can be found here (link is in Spanish); I’ve also reproduced them below. Thanks to the blog updates from Jon Ferguson of Cultiva Coffee Roasting Co. and Mary Tellie of Electric City Roasting Co. Those of us following the action from afar greatly appreciate your efforts to provide regular updates, Jon and Mary.

Lot Farm Farmer Varietal
1 Portillo Bertilio Reyes Portillo Pacas
2 Moreno Jobneel Caceres Diaz Bourbon
3 Los Manzanos Teodoro Montoya Amaya Catui
4 Los Higueros Manuel Barrantes Zúñiga Catui
5 El Cielito Lindo Extreberto Cáceres Gutierrez Catui
6 Don Amado José Amado Fernandez Fernandez Pacas
7 El Filo Miguel Moreno Leiva Pacas
8 Fernández César Augusto Fernández Fernánde Pacas
9 Moreno Pedro Moreno Bourbon
10 Montecios Wilmer Alexis Grau Montoya Catui
11 San Jorge Otilio Hernández Cáceres Catui
12 El Tiunfo Renán Amilcar Bajurto Caturra
13 Sesesmile Nelson Rafael Guerra Catui
14 El Juniapal Delcis Rodríguez Pacas
15 Liquidambar Reina Mercedes Claros Bautista Catimor
16 Miravalle Miroslav Cuculiza Catui
17 El Pedrero Francisco Morán Pacas
18 Santa Marta Cristina Cristina Caballero Catui
19 Rio Helado Manuel Antonio Tróchez Baide Catui
20 Los Pinos Lucas Orlando Carballo Catui
21 Los Tres Juanes Miguel Angel Guzman Saldivar Catui
22 El Aguacate Tomas Sosa Calderón Caturra
23 Las Manos Santos Alexis Dominguez Ramos Pacas
24 El Común Jorge Alberto Vallecillo Yanez Catui
25 El Pinabetal Saul Melara Santos Pacas
26 El Pino Isidro Bejarano Catui
27 San Juan Tulio Adalberto Portillo Chinchilla Catui
28 La Guinellera Miguel Angel Ortiz Vega Catui
29 Las 9 Posas Fernando Obdulio Espinoza Typica
30 San Andrés Andrés Fernández Pacas
31 Bu Pompilio Ramos Archila Pacas
32 Linda Vista Joel Gúzman Muñoz Catui
33 Las Cascadas Wilmer Arturo Maldonado Lote 1 Catui
34 Sesesmile José Orlando Santos Catui
35 La Cumbre Pedro Antonio Martínez Mixed
36 La Montaña Tatiana Isabel Lara Catui
37 COMIPIL COMIPIL Mixed
38 La Piedreta José Salomón Benítez Aguilar IHCAFE 90
39 Yaquelin Genaro Aguilar Nolasco Lote 1 Catui

Kick It Up for Coffee Kids – Stone Soup Collection

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by Chad

The Fable of the Stone Soup is a Grimm Brothers tale about cooperation amid scarcity. Paraphrased from the Wikipedia Entry:

A few travelers come to a village, carrying nothing more than an empty pot. Upon their arrival, the poor villagers are unwilling to share any of their meager food stores with the hungry travelers. The travelers fill the pot with water, drop a large stone in it, and place it over a fire in the village square. One of the villagers becomes curious and asks what they are doing. The travelers answer that they are making “stone soup”, which tastes wonderful, although it still needs a little bit of garnish to improve the flavor, which they are missing. The villager doesn’t mind parting with just a little bit to help them out, so it gets added to the soup. Another villager walks by, inquiring about the pot, and the travelers again mention their stone soup which hasn’t reached its full potential yet. The villager hands them a little bit of seasoning to help them out. More and more villagers walk by, each adding another ingredient. Finally, a delicious and nourishing pot of soup is enjoyed by all–the first square meal they’ve had in ages.

Over the last few weeks, our villagers in the coffee world have heard the tale of the Kick It Up for Coffee Kids auction over at homeroasters.org.  As many of them have passed our pot, they’ve generously added their items to our “soup”.  The following items are the Stone Soup Collection of the auction:

1) Coffee Storage Bags donated by member Ed Bourgeois, including 25 one-pound tin tie Natural kraft (lined), 25 one-pound Black tin tie (lined), 25 half-pound Green w/gold tin tie (lined), 25 half-pound clear/gold zipper/valve standup, and 25 half-pound clear/gold zipper/valve light duty

2) Twenty-five coffee clean-up towels (terrycloth, about 6″x11″) donated by member Ira

3) Custom fitted rotisserie one-pound roasting drum for a barbeque grill donated by member Len

4) Wolf Print from original Painting by Carole A. Thompson donated by member Audra Hayes, who has a Wolf Sanctuary in Northeastern Arizona

5) 15 Pounds Colombia Tolima Planadas, Roaster’s Guild 2008 Coffee of the Year, donated by Atlas Coffee

6) 15 Pounds Colombia Tolima Planadas, Roaster’s Guild 2008 Coffee of the Year, donated by Atlas Coffee

7) 15 Pounds Colombia Tolima Planadas, Roaster’s Guild 2008 Coffee of the Year, donated by Atlas Coffee

8 ) Twenty-five coffee clean-up towels (terrycloth, about 6″x11″) donated by member Ira

Come on out for these items, our Final Week items, and our Month-Long Showcase items.  One week to go, let’s see if we can double the t0-date contributions to Coffee Kids by getting to $4500!  Bid early, bid often!

Kick It Up for Coffee Kids – Final Week

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , on May 23, 2009 by Chad

Last week for the month-long Kick It Up for Coffee Kids auction over at homeroasters.org.

Throughout the month of May 2009, Homeroasters.org is conducting
auctions on a wide variety of items, many of which the specialty
coffee industry donated with jubilation. Items up for bid range from
assortments of top-quality green coffee, to magazine subscriptions,
grinders, brewers, roasters and much, much more; all proceeds going
directly to Coffee Kids.

Here are the lots that opened up this evening for the final week of the auction:

1)  Bunn-o-matic Home Brewer, GRXW Model (White), Donated by Bunn-O-Matic Corporation

2) Perhaps the most prized item of the auction, a refurbished vintage Zassenhaus hand grinder donated by Orphan Espresso

3) Five-Cup (22 oz) Yama stovetop siphon pot, new, in the box, with a Cory Rod filter donated by HRO Member Dave Borton

4) 1 year subscription to Roast Magazine and 15 pounds Colombia Organic Don Telmo Reserva Bourbon donated by Royal Coffee New York

5) Assorted greens – 16 pound sampler, 3-Continents Delight: 2 pounds from 8 origins selected and donated by Lost Dutchman Coffee Co.

6) Posh & Odd Greens Collection donated by The Coffee Project, including: 1 lb. Cap’n Cook Kona, 3 oz. Kopi Luwak, 1 lb 2008 Colombia CoE #17 Buena Vista, 1 lb. Costa Rica La Minita Tarrazu, 1 lb. Flores Organic Bajawa, and 1 lb. Balinese Blue Krishna

7) 15 pounds of green Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Gr. 1 Koke, donated by Samuel Demisse of Keffa Coffee in Baltimore MD

The first week’s lots raised $890 for the kids.  The second week’s lots raised $775 for the kids.  The third week’s lots raised $587 for the kids, for a three-week total of $2252.  Thanks to all who bid.  Don’t forget the month-long items, which I listed here.

Good luck to all in the next week’s bids.  Come on by, bid early, bid often.