Bids for Coffee Kids – Master Item List (Part One)

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , on April 26, 2010 by Chad

This years Bids for Coffee Kids auction opens up in less than a week, and we’ve assembled a huge array of items!  All proceeds go to Coffee Kids, a group that creates education, health care, micro-credit, and community-based programs for coffee farmers and their families.

There are over 60 items to choose from (month-long and 1st two weeks posted below) and they will be available at different times throughout May 2010.  Unless otherwise noted, all coffee listed is green.

Shipping for all items is paid by the donor or Auction committee sponsor, only within the continental U.S.  Should the winning bidder reside elsewhere, the Auction week host will ask the vendor if they are willing to ship internationally, with the winning bidder paying the difference between US shipping and international shipping.

The auction opens at 6:01 pm Central (US) time, Saturday, May 1.  Each week’s items close on Saturday following, at 6:00 pm Central (US) time, with the final week closing May 29.

If you’re not bidding and would like to make a donation directly to Coffee Kids, click here.

To find additional information, or to participate in the auction, please visit the Bids for Coffee Kids threads over at the Green Coffee Buying Club.   Please note that you will need to register at GCBC to view or to participate in the auction.

All Month Listing, six items open from May 1 to May 29

Item M-1 Hottop KN-8288B Coffee Roaster donated by No Quarter Coffee (Retail value $720)
Item M-2 Behmor Coffee Roaster donated by Joe Behm (Retail value $300)
15 lbs. El Salvador Cerro Las Ranas Pulp Natural (RFA) donated by Royal Coffee NY (Retail value $45)
Item M-3 Gaggia Coffee espresso machine with PID ( w/OPV modification and Silvia Wand) donated by milowebailey (Retail value $400)
Item M-4 Bacchi Espresso Machine donated by Orphan Espresso (Retail value $395)
Item M-5 An invitation to the 2nd Annual Best Palate in the MidWest Cupping, BoldJava’s Home, Aug 20-21, 2010 (Retail value priceless)
Item M-6 Custom Built Stainless Steel BBQ Drum – 2 lbs. capacity donated by CoffeeRoastersClub (Retail value $221)

Week One, twelve items open from May 1 to May 8

Item 1-1 Mypressi Twist donated by Mypressi (Retail value $170)
Item 1-2 Graphic Design Project donated by Dillanos Coffee (Retail value ~$200)
Budding entreneur? Soon-to-be launched website? One graphics/logo design package, to occur in approximately a 3-week project window, by one of the finest roasters and brand consultants in the coffee industry. Check out the quality of Dillanos’s design and artistic touch at
Item 1-3 One year subscription to Roast Magazine (Retail value $30)
15 lbs. El Salvador Cerro Las Ranas Pulp Natural (RFA) donated by Royal Coffee NY (Retail value $45)
Item 1-4 Roast Magazine Hard Copy Back issues (2008-2009) (Retail value $50)
15 lbs. Peru El Guabo donated by Mercanta (Retail value $40)
Item 1-5 5 lbs. Brazil 2009 Cup of Excellence #9 Fazenda Santa Helena Ii donated by GCBC member Mike (Retail value $60)
Item 1-6 15 lbs. Kenya Auction Lot donated by Café Imports (Retail value $83)
Item 1-7 10 lbs. Tanzania Peaberry Songea donated by Our Coffee Barn (Retail value $45)
Item 1-8 Hario Skerton Hand Grinder donated by GCBC member headchange4u (Retail value $40)
Item 1-9 3-cup Tokio siphon, Hario Skerton Grinder, 12oz. Roasted coffee (roaster’s choice) donated by Caffe d’Bolla (Retail alue $97)
Item 1-10 15 lbs. El Salvador Cerro Las Ranas Pulp Natural (RFA) donated by Royal Coffee NY (Retail value $45)
Item 1-11 15 lbs. Peru El Guabo donated by Mercanta (Retail value $40)
Item 1-12 15 lbs. Kenya Auction Lot donated by Café Imports (Retail value $83)

Week Two, fourteen items open from May 8 to May 15

Item 2-1 Roast Magazine Hard Copy Back issues (2006-2007) (Retail value$50)
15 lbs. Peru El Guabo donated by Mercanta (Retail value $40)
Item 2-2 Roast Magazine CDROM Back Issues (2004-2005) (Retail value $50)
15 lbs. El Salvador Cerro Las Ranas Pulp Natural (RFA) donated by Royal Coffee NY (Retail value $45)
Item 2-3 15 lbs. Kenya Auction Lot donated by Café Imports (Retail value $83)
Item 2-4 BUNN STX Home Brewer donated by BUNN (Retail value $150)
Item 2-5 10 lbs. El Salvador Los Pirineos Pacamara donated by Atlas (Retail value $75)
Item 2-6 Reg Barber Tamper (size selected by winner) donated by 1st in Coffee (Retail value $70)
Item 2-7 Bialetti Mukka Express, Stove Top Espresso Maker donated by Our Coffee Barn (Retail value $75)
Item 2-8 Cory rod (new in box), and five Yama siphon filters donated by GCBC member BoldJava (Retail value $23)
Item 2-9 Aeropress Coffee Maker donated by Aeropress (Retail value $25)
15 lbs. Peru El Guabo donated by Mercanta (Retail value $40)
Item 2-10 15 lbs. PNG Kimel Peaberry donated by GCBC member draagoth (Retail value $45)
Item 2-11 15 lbs. El Salvador Cerro Las Ranas Pulp Natural (RFA) donated by Royal Coffee NY (Retail value $45)
Item 2-12 15 lbs. Peru El Guabo donated by Mercanta (Retail value $40)
Item 2-13 15 lbs. Kenya Auction Lot donated by Café Imports (Retail value $83)
Item 2-14 Tambaroo French Kiss – French Press accessory donated by GCBC member peter (Retail value $15)

Los Naranjos Microlot

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by Chad

Yesterday, I posted about the Las Mingas relationship coffee program run by Virmax.  To summarize, the Las Mingas program differentiates small coffee lots by quality, and works to pair up buyers with individual farmers.  Virmax works with the farmers to improve their methods and quality, which gives them the ability to earn higher prices for their coffee.  For Las Mingas, Virmax separates and cups the samples, and then sends sets of approved samples to prospective buyers.  Buyers roast and cupth e samples, and arrange pricing for the approved lots based on the buyer’s cupping score.  Lots are then milled, vacuum packed, and exported to the buyer.

Our first foray into the program has given us a wonderful microlot–only about 380 lbs.–from Planadas in the Tolima region.  Luis Merchan is the farmer that produced this coffee from his farm, Los Naranjos.  Here is Luis one of his 13,000 trees on the 3 hectacre farm.

The average elevation of Los Naranjos is approximately 5,900 feet above sea level, and Luis estimates his annual production at fifty bags (70 kg net).  Some shade is provided by Guamos trees.  Coffee is washed, and naturally fermented in washing tank, then sun-dried in “heldas”, a traditional drying system built on the roofs of houses–black plastic on top of the wood, which is covered at night and during rain.

Sun-drying coffee

Now for the cup–this coffee cupped well above the other two samples, which were both excellent coffees.   The cup starts with complex fragrance and aroma, with sweet graham and floral notes and toasted grain and malt hints.  Flavors notes of graham, malt, and florals held together by caramel, honey and toffee sweetness.  Excellent interplay of the aromatic, sweet, and deeper caramel notes, held together by a Meyer lemon citric acidity (almost effervescent).  Medium weight, but rich, round and chewy body, outstanding balance (acidity–body, hot to cold), just a wonderful cup.

After I finished cupping the coffee, I sat down with the remaining liquid drained it down to the grounds.  An excellent cup from start to finish.   Soon this coffee will be enroute to home roasters across the country, and others can share this little bit of joy from Luis Merchan, in Planadas, Tolima, Colombia.

Many thanks to Luis Merchan and his family, and to Alejandro and Giancarlo at Virmax for making this possible.

Luis Merchan

Colombia Las Mingas

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 21, 2010 by Chad

My journey down the rabbit hole of specialty coffee has generally followed the three questions voiced in the our vision.  Over the last year, we have attempted to connect this small operation with those working directly with farmers or cooperatives–seeking ever a direct connection and a means by which we could directly reward the farmers and producers at the front end of the coffee chain.  Many times, the efforts have proved difficult or impossible, as we rarely buy more than 5-10 bags of any particular lot.

One program that had us hooked from the start is the Las Mingas program from Virmax.  Las Mingas, loosely translated means “for the good of all”.  The program focuses on quality, and provides a transparent pricing process from farmer, exporter, importer and buyer.  Virmax works with selected farms and cups individual lot samples–samples that score above an 84 approved as individual lots and then sent off to potential buyers for evaluation.  Buyers cup the samples, and then set the price based on the buyer’s cupping score.  It’s a means for the coffee buyer to directly reward the farmer based on quality.

After reading a bit on the program from our friends at gimme! coffee, including a question and answer session with the Las Mingas program founders Alejandro Cadena and Giancarlo Ghiretti, we contacted Alejandro and through our name in the hat.  Alejandro let us know that he could find small lots that would fit our buying profile.  Last fall, Alejandro sent us three samples from the Tolima region.  All three coffees were excellent, but one stood out above the others.   We approved the sample, agreed on a price based on our cupping score-one well above the fair trade price.

Here are a few details about the farm; I’ll post more on the farm and the coffee tomorrow, along with pictures.  Here’s to what I hope is a continuing relationship, and one of first steps of our part to improve the world of coffee.

Farmer Name: Luis Merchan
Farm Name: Los Naranjos

Farm Location
Department: Tolima
Municipality: Planadas
Elevation: 1,800 m.a.s.l. (5,900 ft)

Farm Size: 3.0 hectares
Total Number of trees: 13,000
Varietals: Coffea Arabica: Caturra (60%) / Colombia (40%)
Estimated Annual Production: 50 bags (70-kg net, each)
Harvest time: April – July / November-January
Processing: Natural fermented and fully washed in tanks
Drying: Sun-dried in “heldas” (traditional drying system built on top of the roofs of houses – with a black plastic on top of the wood, which is covered at night and when raining)
Shade Type: Semi shaded with Guamos
Fertilization: Chemical

Persistance Pays

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , , on November 15, 2009 by Chad

The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.

-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

A few months ago, I decided to take the plunge and host a pre-auction cupping of El Salvador 2009 Cup of Excellence samples. I was hoping to become part of a buying group for the auction that followed.  The auction came and went, and maddeningly, many of us were not able to pull a group together, despite the relatively low prices for this auction (many lots priced in the $3-$4/lb. range).

Prior to the auction, I had contacted the Colleen Anunu, Director of Coffee at  gimme! coffee, a small artisan roastery serving retail, wholesale, and web customers out of NY state. We discussed possible collaboration on Cup of Excellence buying, and agreed to compare notes on the El Salvador lots.

The auction opened, and, like the Colombia auction, I could not get together a group.   Here’s a quote from one of the many emails I sent after the auction:

There I was cobbling together folks, working on getting importing support, and BAM–auction closed. I should have done what I wanted to do and just bid on a lot and let the chips fall.

Pricing for the lot I most wanted, the #19 Altamira I, ended at $3.10.

Crushed.  It mattered not that I didn’t have the cash on had for the whole lot, or that I’d only bought my first bag of coffee little more than a year ago, or that my entire customer base is a small group of home coffee roaster spread thinly around the country.  Failure does not cup well.

Fortunately, I’ve been cursed blessed with modicum of stubbornness, so I started checking the listings for the winning bidders on each lot. Lot #19 Winning bidder….T.A.N. Coffee!  I had contacted Lay Yong Tan from TAN Coffee back in April, during the Colombia auction.  I got him on the third ring, offered my congratulations on his winning bids (he won the #21 and #25 lots as well), and asked the question du joir:  Would he be willing to sell any of the Altamira?

The answer?


(photo credit: gimme! Coffee)

Nearly five months after the auction, I purchased almost half the lot of Altamira I from TAN Coffee, and immediately sent ten 34.5 kg boxes to gimme! coffee.  Less than a week later, five boxes arrived here at No Quarter Coffee, accompanied by boxes of the #21 El Salvador, La Trinidad,  and the #27 Colombia lot, La Esperanza.  The first glimpse of the coffee housed at the freight terminal brought a smile to my face that remained for days.

Bolivia Cup of Excellence 2009 – Winning Farms

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , on October 15, 2009 by Chad

The 2009 Bolivia Cup of Excellence competition completed October 9.  This competition was the next to last on the calendar for this year, with the Brazil competition to complete the season in November.  The international jury, led by Sherri Johns, awarded the Cup of Excellence to thirty lots, including seven lots achieving a CoE Presidential award for scoring higher than 90 points on the final day.  A fine showing for Bolivia, which in the words of a good friend, are “a food group all their own.”

The winning farm listing can also be found on the Cup of Excellence site.

Lot Farm Farmer Score
1 Agrotakesi SA Mauricio Ramiro Diez de Medina 93.36
2 Café Sima del Jaguar A Braulio Luque Yana 92.05
3 Café Monterrey Valentin Choquehuanca Aduviri 91.62
4 Café Jacaranda Elias Choconapi Chino 91.38
5 Café Alan Coffe Luis Yujra Arismende 90.90
6 Café Central Luis Huayhua Chiji 90.71
7 Café Mondono Carmelo Mamani Titirico 90.17
8 Café Palmeiras 3 Mario Mamani Machaca 89.12
9 Café Origen Damian Huanca Flores 87.95
10 Café Gelen Ayda Titirico Hilari 87.52
11 Café COACS Ltda. Aurelio Eugenia Condori Mamani 86.62
12 Café Kantuta Rosendo Quispe Tintaya 86.33
13 Café Cooperativa San Ignacio II Anacleto Uluri Luque 86.26
14 Café Primavera II Agustina Machaca Quispe 86.12
15 Café Cooperativa San Ignacio V Juan Coaquira Mamani 85.81
16 Café Wara Wara III Lucila Isidora Quispe de Quispe 85.60
17 Café Frente a Illimani II Santusa Lucana de Mamani 85.57
18 Café Flor de Mayo Pedro Castro Conurana 85.24
19 Café Golondrina Celso David Mayta Quispe 85.24
20 Café Picaflor Valentina Flores de M. 85.21
21 Café Alto Asuncion Eleuteria Villca Salvador 85.17
22 Café Rio Cumbre de la Selva Gabriel Chura Uluri 85.14
23 Café Primavera Victor Quispe Mamani 85.00
24 Café Oro Teodocia Castro Conurana 84.95
25 Café El Sombral Damian W. Condori Poma 84.81
26 Café Rudi Franklin Cahuapaza Ticona 84.69
27 Café Flor de Mayo I Felipe Sacaca Diaz 84.60
28 Café Sofia Sofia Quisbert Castillo 84.33
29 Café Flor Rosa Martha Ojeda Mamani 84.33
30 Café Flor de B Sebastian Olori Huanca 84.21

In the Hand

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting with tags , , on October 11, 2009 by Chad

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has. —Epictetus

In the world of home roasting coffee, the slippery slope lurks just down the road.  I write often of falling down the rabbit hole, where each new discovery merely opens the aperture up for that which has not yet been discovered.  The spark of interest is the lighter side of the desire (obsession) with coffee.  It’s the wonder of the child, looking at the world with fresh and curious eyes.

There’s a darker side–a shadow–of the wide-eyed child, looking to learn more.  There’s the desire for more, the envy of that which we do not have.  Whether it is a particularly exceptional lot of coffee, or a new roaster, a new grinder, a new espresso machine, this endless desire for that which we do not have can blind us to the joy sitting in our roaster right now.  The experience in the cup we have just made.

It’s impossible to not admire the next best thing–a new toy, the shiny new roaster, the skills to coax the perfect combination of flavors out of the bean.  But that admiration must be tempered. Tempered with the gratitude for what we do have, the appreciation for what we have.  A good friend of mine used to ask me this question frequently:

“Where are your hands?”

A simple concept to keep us in the now–a reminder that life happens right here, right now, right in our hands. So, Where are your hands?

Back to Writing

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags on September 29, 2009 by Chad

Ugh, been away from the blog for far too long.  To many stories to tell at once, so I’ll summarize.

Cupping, meeting, buying, roasting, enjoying.   Repeat ad nauseum.

I have met too many people to mention (immediately) over the past four months, and have learned more than I thought possible (including the continuing realization of how much more I have to learn).  Here’s to more regular updates and insights as I continue to learn more about the bean and the people around it.

Now, I’m off to roast some more samples from one of my favorite suppliers, Royal Coffee NY.  Be sure to check them out on Twitter @RoyalCoffeeNY.

Guatemala Cup of Excellence 2009 – Winning Farms

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by Chad

The five week marathon of Central American coffee competitions came to a close this week with the finish of the 2009 Guatemala Cup of Excellence competition.   The jury awarded the Cup of Excellence to twenty-three lots, including a repeat #1 winner (El Injerto), and two lots achieving a CoE Presidential award for scoring higher than 90 points on the final day.

I’ve listed the winning lots below; the detailed listing should be available on the CoE site shortly.  Many thanks to Alistair Durie from Elysian Coffee in Vancouver for the regular blog updates and pictures from the event.  Thank you for taking the time to keep us onlookers informed.

Lot Farm Score
1 El Injerto I 91.98
2 Monte Cristo 90.58
3 Las Macadamias 89.33
4 Alotepeque (1964) 89.25
5 La Esperanza (1963) 89.25
6 Asuvim 89.05
7 Puerta Verde 88.40
8 La Providencia II 88.35
9 Carmona 88.28
10 El Socorro y Annexos 88.08
11 San Antonio de Esquipulas y Anexos 86.58
12 El Libano 85.83
13 Isnul 85.43
14 El Mirador 85.38
15 Santa Ana 85.25
16 Granja El Tempisque 85.18
17 Claima 85.15
18 El Volcan Raspado 85.10
19 San Julian 85.08
20 La Soledad y Anexos (1869) 84.95
21 Santa Clara y Anexos (1867) 84.95
22 Santa Delfina y Anexos 84.90
23 Florencia y Anexos 84.43

Road Trip – Rojo’s Roastery

Posted in coffee, coffee cupping, coffee roasting, coffee shop with tags , , , , , , on June 2, 2009 by Chad

Last week I ventured to New York to participate in Royal Coffee NY’s cupping of the top twenty Costa Rica Cup of Excellence coffees.  The afternoon drive offered the opportunity for one coffee-related detour, so I chose to stop by David Waldman’s Rojo’s Roastery in Lambertville, NJ.

The first benefit of the detour was the avoidance of the New Jersey turnpike.  Sure, I had to venture near Philadelphia, but the scenery on that leg easily surpassed that of the turnpike (at least if you could get past the endless billboards advertising the Ford Focus hybid–I counted at least fifteen in and around Philly).  As I crossed the Deleware into New Jersey, not far from Washington’s crossing, I was treated to a scenic journey down River Road into Lambertville. I hadn’t expected to be reminded of my Pennsylvania rural upbringing on this trip, but the twenty mile drive along the river was an unexpected joy.  Put me right in the mood for visiting a small-town, artisan roastery.

When I arrived in the Roastery–my eyes were immediately drawn to this red beauty in the corner.

1956 Probat UG15

David was positioned a little off to the right, testing out a shot pulled from an Quickmill Andreja Premium espresso machine he was working over.  After he finished pulling and tasting the shot, we sat down to chat.  David has an extensive coffee history, though he started off as a home roaster.  We talked about his pride and joy, the 1956 fully rebuilt Probat UG15  roaster.  He described the work he and Marty Curtis did to disassemble, refurbish, and reassmble the roaster.  David picked up the roaster from the original owner, and obtained all of the original sales documentation from Probat.  The full pictorial history of the refurbishment can be found here

We talked green coffee, including David describing his early involvement with Abdella Bagersh’s Idido Misty Valley coffee, and his friendships with some of the bigger East Coast coffee names–George Howell, Peter Guilano, Marty Curtis, and others.    We shared stories about many of the last year’s lots of coffee that we both enjoyed, lamented that much of the best coffee ends up on the West Coast, and bounced green bean storage ideas off each other.  David brewed a Yemen Hufashi on the Clover–he talked about his disappointment with the bean, but then he was comparing it to last spring’s Sana’ani lot from Royal NY (one of the best Yemeni coffees in recent memory).  I also sampled the house Fetco brew of Timor FTO Maubesse, and his head barista pulled a double shot of their espresso blend.  They just finished installed a new three-group Synesso, and she thought the shots were pulling too acidic–all high-end flavors with no bass note.  I didn’t think them too sour, but agreed with her assessment.  David had to cut short our time (I think we could have talked all evening) to make some deliveries.  He runs the roastery as a one-man band–roaster, bagger, buyer, cupper, deliverer, forklift driver–you name it.

Huge thanks to David and his staff for the coffee and mostly the time taken out of a busy schedule to sit back and talk.   Call this a regular stop everytime I head to The Big Apple.

Rojo’s Roastery
243 North Union Street
Suite 150
Lambertville, NJ 08530
(609) 397-0040

Google map & directions

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 just completed this evening.

Throughout the month of May 2009, 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!