Archive for green coffee

Donor Shout Out – Round Two

Posted in coffee, coffee roasting, home roasting, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 4, 2010 by Chad

Another quick post to thank more of folks that have set up the this year’s home roasters’ auction for Coffee Kids, Bids for Coffee Kids for success.

Many thanks to Nelson Valverde of Invalsa Coffee, who donated  ten-pound lots of two different Cup of Excellence coffees and three microlots from Bolivia.  All of the Bolivian lots just arrived, and the CoE lots are from the 2009 Coe in Costa Rica and Guatemala.  All lots were vacuum packed in the country of origin.  Thank you, Invalsa!

Many thanks to Craig Holt, Karen KasKaren Kazmierczak, and the rest of the folks at Atlas Coffee Importers, who donated two separate lots to the auction: 10 lbs. of El Salvador Los Pirineos Pacamara and 15 lbs. of Brazil Samambia Peaberry Yellow Bourbon Pulp Natural.  Thank you, Atlas!

Many thanks to Connie Blumhardt, Kelly Stewert, and the rest of the folks at Roast Magazine.  Connie has contributed two one-year subscriptions to Roast, as well as two full sets of back issues.  Thank you Roast Magazine!

Many thanks to Jeff Woods, Paul Balmer, and the rest of the folks at Dillanos Coffee Roasters, who have donated another graphic design project like last year.  Last year’s winner is more than happy with the result, which you can see at the top of the page.  Dillanos’ graphic designers are wonderful to work with, and can easily translate your vision and mission into a logo that pops.  Thank you Dillanos!

Stay tuned to more shout outs to all the wonderful folks who have contribute d to this year’s auction.  Bidding on the month-long lots will be open until May 29th, and bidding on Week One lots will continue until 6:00 pm Central (US) on Saturday May 8th.  Week Two lots will open at 6:01 pm Central (US), Saturday May 8th, over at our host the Green Coffee Buying Club (free registration required).

Coffee Marathon, and I’m Not in Atlanta!

Posted in coffee cupping, coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 18, 2009 by Chad

Having decided not to travel to Atlanta for the SCAA (something about too many missed weekends in the yard), I partially made up for it with a marathon coffee session yesterday.

Bag, Box, Ship

The day began with the start of bagging, boxing, and labeling the first of what was to be fifty packages of green coffee, to be sent to my brethern home roasters.  This week’s prizes?  A Rwanda 2008 Cup of Excellence, Lot #18 supplied by our friends at Cafe Imports.  The preparation on this coffee is beautiful, and it holds up in the cup.  I talked about the other three coffees in my last post, including the Sulawesi Kalossi and Uganda FTO Bugishu Kawomera from InterAmerican Coffee and the Mexico Organic Natural Terruño Nayarita from San Cristobal Coffee Importers.  Ten bags of these to go with two 20kg boxes of the Rwanda Cup of Excellence.  That’s a total of over 1400 lbs., which will be lifted several times before my gregarious postman, Carl, picks them up.  There may be lots of news about the health benefits of coffee these days, but lugging this much coffee may be taking this health thing a bit far!

Cupping at Counter Culture

I took a mid-morning break from packing to attend the weekly cupping at the Counter Culture Coffee DC training center.  Alex was absent–travelling to Atlanta for the SCAA Event.  David from Tryst filled in admirably, leading us through some surprising coffees.  Had I bet money on the origins, I would have been in trouble. The first coffee was the hit of the day, and excellent, Colombian with a delicate brightness, lots of tree fruits (apple, pear, apricot) in the aroma, flavor and nose, and sweet caramel and milk chocolate.  Medium, rounded body balanced out the cup, and it left clean and quick.  La Golodrina, from Cauca in the southern part of Colombia.

The second coffee was another Colombian that I would have bet was a Kenya coffee–as would have everyone who didn’t know what was in the cup.  La Golodrina – Ariel Pajoy Microlot.  This one was effervescent with citrus (red grapefruit) and red fruits, with spicy notes that balanced well with the juicy citrus.  Nice rounded body complemented the bright notes well, and there was hints of rich chocolate providing a bass note to the citrus and red fruit soprano.  My favorite of the day, even if I missed the origin.

We all did not like the final sample, which hints that something was wrong with what was sent to DC–this coffee should have jumped out at us, and every one of us did not get anything like what’s the norm for this bean.  It must have been our sample, because a similar cupping at the Counter Culture Durham Traing Center won the day.

Colombia Cup of Excellence Samples

The last phase of my marathon day was roasting fifteen of the twenty-seven samples from the 2009 Colombia Cup of Excellence.  I roasted samples 8-22 yesterday–picked the middle of the pack, most likely the one’s we would be buying– with a standard cupping profile roast.  I’ll finish the rest over the weekend.  All the coffee was in fantastic shape, and all roasted up well.  My front office is filling with the outpourings of freshly roasted coffee leaking out of the valves in the sample bags.  I cannot wait to cup the samples this week–hopefully with some other Mid-Atlantic roasters.  Details to follow on this week’s cuppings!

A long, satisfying day.  Started at 8 am, finished at 11:30 pm.

Roaster space upgrade – visual version

Posted in coffee roasting, home roasting with tags , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2009 by Chad

I posted a few days ago about upgrading and revamping my roaster space.   I managed to snap a few shots last night after coming home with a truck full of coffee.

Roaster, Datalogger, Computer

Notice the seismically rated electrical conduit.  I also got the tables arranged so that I could fit a decent computer (i.e., not one running Windows 98) in the space.  The not-quite-as-ancient laptop brings wireless for internet and filesharing, and it can manage to keep up the temperature display from the datalogger without as much lag.  The connection with the network shared files eliminates my whateverittakes (TM) file transfer system from the old computer.  The whateverittakes (TM) systems uses as a file transfer medium the only storage device I could get to work with this antiquated laptop–my old digital camera.

Here’s a broader view of the new setup, looking to the back of the garage–you can see both new circuits (the kill-a-watt is on the left outlet).  Plenty of space and plenty of power.

Roaster space, wider angle

No photo op of a home roaster space would be complete without the obligatory stash shot.

The stash

Green Coffee Pickup

One of the perks of my new vehicle is that its large enough to haul a full pallet of coffee from freight terminals, which saves residential delivery and lift gate fees and additional mileage costs.  The only downside is additional bag wrestling, but I was thinking–this would be a great training exercise for folks planning to enter strongman competitions.  Heavy, bulky, with shifting weight as the beans move.  Of course, it’s a bit more expensive than a large sandbag…

Here’s a view of my latest order waiting patiently to be unloaded, 8 bags total, including Ethiopia Natural Yirgacheffe, Yemen Hufashi, Peru FTO, Mexico Coatepec, and Guatemala Decaf.  The smell of fresh green coffee permeated the truck on the way home.

Coffee via Expedition

Most of this coffee will be headed off to fellow home roasters over the next few days, so I’ll be busy bagging, boxing and shipping, roasting all the while.  What a great way to live.  Happy roasting, everyone!

Coffee Fest Chicago – Part 2

Posted in coffee with tags , , , , , , , , on March 2, 2009 by Chad

Second half of the full Coffee Fest Chicago writeup.  First half here.

After finishing the cupping class, we split up.  I met up with my wife, and we tackled our half of the floor.  Dave and I had put together a plan to approach some of the vendors for auction lot donations, as he and I are helping to organize an online charity auction over at  We had a agreed to a simple, straightforward request–no pressure, no guilt.

For those of you that have never been to Coffee Fest–the focus is primarily on the retail coffee shop.  Many of the vendors are selling or showcasing small wares, pastries, smoothie equipment, chocolate, and other non-coffee items that can supplement a shop’s coffee income.  Not my focus,  but the show has loads of good ideas, products and information for shop owners.

The Floor

We spent the next three hours wandering the floor, chatting with folks and enjoying samples.  My goals were to talk to green coffee importers, roasting manufacturers, and solicit donations for the auction.  Got the chance to talk with the folks at Roast Magazine, Ambex Roaster, and of course the three main green coffee importers I’ve dealt with–Royal NY, Cafe Imports, and Coffee Holding Company.  Great conversations with James Schoenhut (Royal NY), Amanda Eastwood (Cafe Imports), and Kathi Zollman and Karen Gordon (Coffee Holding).  Of course those conversations led the request for another bow wave of samples, but so be it.   Also managed to make contact with two other importers–Walker Coffee and InterAmerican Coffee.  I hope this leads to new opportunities.

New Toys

Biggest suprise of the day was the visit to the Zojirushi booth, where my wife surprised me by completely agreeing that we needed to grab one of these beauties


I’ve been angling to get one of these for months, but couldn’t justify the price.  Hello wholesale price and show discount!  My wife through in a new carafe for good measure.  Coffee geeks must keep adding to the coffee toys, right?

Sensory Overload

Now, you might think that a coffee show would lead to caffeine overload. With Coffee Fest, not exactly.  There are so many pastries, scones, muffins, gelato, smoothies, and other confections, it’s hard make time to grab a cup.  Also, did I mention CHOCOLATE??


We had considered signing Heidi up for a chocolate tasting class Sunday–we’re both glad she waved off, as I don’t think she ate any chocolate for a week after the show.  Our favorite was the Bellagio Sipping Chocolate from Cafe D’Amour–that stuff was amazing.  We almost ordered a case on the spot.

Espresso, Finally

Believe it or not, I didn’t grab an espresso until the last half hour of the day.  We ran into Dave and Big Mike, along with Ben and Bill and Denise of near the Dillanos Coffee Roasters booth.  Ben and Bill are two homeroaster folks from the Chicago area.  I grabbed a double shot from Dillanos, and got a chance to talk with Phil Beattie, their director of coffee.  Phil taught the first cupping class I took at Coffee Fest DC in 2008–I thanked him for helping start me on my cupping journey.  Loads of coffee knowledge there, and he’s an excellent instructor.  After a bit, we rounded up Scott, and gathered the caravan for the trek to dinner at Sayat Nova.

Dinner, Well Met, and Au Revoir

We managed to make the trip to the restaurant uneventfully–trying to keep eight people on track can be interesting.  I flitted from leading the group, conversations with Scott and Dave, and stopping to take pictures.

Dinner was outstanding–wonderful Armenian food.  Hat’s off to Ben for the suggestion.  I believe Ben got Scott to completely re-arrange his schedule after looking at the menu.  The setting was cozy and intimate–loved the lighting, though I’m not sure this does it justice.

Savat Nova

We all ordered several plates of hommos as appetizers (among other things),  and most of us ordered the red lentil soup with ourmeal–which was excellent.   Savory and sweet, and all of us were trying to place the source of the sweetness.  Our half of the table focused on lamb dishes, and none were disappointed.  Here’s the group just after we arrived.


My wife snapped the photo.  You can see me, Dave, Mike, and Bill on the left, with Ben on the right in the foreground, and Scott in the backgound.  Denise and Ben’s wife are hidden behind Ben’s mug.

After dining and conversing for well over an hour, Ben and his wife had to head off–standard parent excuse–the babysitter schedule.  Everyone headed back to their cars at Navy Pier, while Heidi and I detoured to the hotel.  Ben–great choice of restaurant–great food, and only a block and a half from our hotel!

Parting Shot

This was my second Coffee Fest, and I’m not sure I’m going to hit more than one of these a year–mainly because the focus is on retail shops.  As I don’t have a shop–and don’t plan on getting one–there’s not a huge value in the investment of attending multiple Coffee Fests in a year.  Best part of the trip (of course) was the people–especially meeting other home roasters.  Great meeting you folks, and we look forward to catching up with you in the future.

Last thought–the folks Dave and I approached for charity auction donations have been INCREDIBLY generous.  Confirming everything I’ve observed about the specialty coffee community–great, kind, and giving people.   Looking forward to meeting and working with more of you in the future.