Ethiopians (Sweet Maria’s)

While writing last weeks Angels Cup post I got a hankering for ordering some new green coffee. It’s been on my to-do list ever since getting back from the home roasting class earlier this month. As usual, life gets in the way. But I finally did it.

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Ethiopia Tolmariam Goljo

Light to middle roasts have panela sugar sweetness, juicy body, and flavors of dried apple, and jasmine tea. There is a stone fruit skin like flavor in the finish, fading to tea tannin mouth feel. – Sweet Maria’s

With only a pound of these on hand, I wasn’t able to really run through the sample roasting like I should’ve. The idea didn’t come to me until the end. Since I had already promised this batch of coffee to people I really wanted to do consistent roasts and get it sent out.

My problem with the Ethiopians was that I was only getting a 13-14% weight loss through all the batches. The V60 brew tasted good, but seemed to be lacking. It was sweet and drinkable, nothing jumped out at me though. Considering how it was roasted (popcorn popper), I’ll take it. The aftertaste was weird though. It calls for a “tea tannic mouthfeel”…I don’t know what that is, but if it’s what the aftertaste I had was…not too great.

#1 – 5:39 (13%) – this roast was a bit rushed (happened at the same the Goljo was roasted at 5:40) and after getting 13% I decided to extend it 1 minute to see if it’d lose more
#2 – 6:30 (13%) – it didn’t.
#3 – 6:30 (14%) – ok, now to 14%, but I removed quite a few quakers…
#4 -6:39 (14%) – went a bit longer on accident, but still 14%

The problem I’m facing with the popcorn popper is that the beans start getting really brown at 6 minutes so I’m worried about going further (7+) and running the risk of getting oily beans. Once I get some more in I’m going to a test roast by pushing the beans to the limit and see where they start to get oily, then back down the next few roasts and find that sort of sweet spot.

Ethiopia Gedeo Zone, Gedeb Asasa

Floral jasmine aroma, with turbinado sugar sweetness, sweet lime and graham cracker crust accents. Wonderful brewed, and amazing espresso: tangy citrus, chocolate syrup, and fruit highlights. – Sweet Maria’s

As stated above, roasting these weren’t really an issue, I just didn’t have enough beans to really run through it like I wanted.

#1 – 5:40 (13%) – initial roast, really rushed…
#2 – 6:30 (14%) –  got this one to reach  14%, still not enough.
#3 – 6:30 (14%) – another 14%
#4 -6:45 (13%) – I decided to push this one a touch extra, not much, and it went to 13%

The brew of this one has a different kind of sweetness and was much more enjoyable for me. By far my favorite.


I’m buying more of these, especially the two Ethiopians. These roasts are probably a touch underdeveloped, but it goes back to me being a bit nervous on pushing it too far considering I had offered these beans already. My mistake. Hopefully if that’s the case, those that wanted samples will let me rebound myself with another round of beans.

Also, check out this package job I did. Pretty sweet. If the coffee tastes bad at least the bags look cool.

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Angels Cup 14th Flight

I finally got around to brewing this one up yesterday afternoon. The past 3-4 days have been a whirlwind. Lots of great stuff happening though so no complaints.

This week I only did two, sorry. I’ve gotten to where I vaguely screen the cards beforehand to check the roasters without revealing any other information. I do this cause of a particular roaster I had a not so great experience with has been popping up in these flights a lot. For my blog and since I’m not getting any incentives to promote anybody, I’m subjective on who I write about. This roaster for instance is not one I want to talk about so I don’t include them in these posts.

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Panama Santa Teresa (Natural)- Brandywine Coffee

[Cantaloupe, Red Grape, Berry, Pineapple, Coconut, Peanut, Cinnamon, Vanilla, Maple Syrup]

My initial impression of this cup was sweet and acidic. It had a different aftertaste, couldn’t place it. It had maybe a like caramel/honey, creamy body. Really smooth though.

Flipped the card – got little to nothing on that one. The card wasn’t lying, definitely complex. I’ve never seen that many notes on a card. But once I saw it was a natural I pinpointed the aftertaste. I don’t know what it is about naturally processed coffees, but that aftertaste is something else.

I also threw some ice in the server and swirled it around to get a semi iced coffee. Dude, the berries really shined. So good.

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Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Idido (Natural)- Brandywine Coffee

[Strawberry, Peach, Lemonade, Maple Syrup]

This one didn’t taste like a natural to me. It was sweet and fruity, but not overly berry like most naturals. It wasn’t until after I flipped the card and the cup cooled more than any major berry notes stood out to me. Another great cup and offering from Brandywine. And the aftertaste again…

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There were two solid offerings from Brandywine. They never disappoint. Overall, definitely one of my favorite roasters from all aspects – great offerings, always something new and exciting, social media presence, and creative packaging. Be sure to check them out and give em a follow on Instagram. Always something new in the works with them – I love it.

**Save 25% on your first flight by using the code “CoffeeHunter7245”.**

Mentioned in the Post

Angels Cup – WEBSITE // Instagram: @angelscup

Brandywine Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @brandywinecoffeeroasters


Burundi Kayenza Bwayi

After finishing my bag of Burundi Gitwe Hill from Honest Coffee Roasters I wanted to pick up some green beans from the region to try it out at home. While typing up last weeks Angels Cup flight (which had a Burundi) I decided to pull the trigger. I don’t know how I came across it, but I found a website that sells entirely Burundi beans only. It seemed a bit sketchy so I only got a pound of their #3 micro lot:

Country Burundi
Region Kayanza
Farm Bwayi Washing Station Cooperative
Variety Bourbon, Jackson and Mbirizi
Altitude 1760 meters
Processing Method Fully washed
 The Cup
Aroma Caramel, resinous, chocolate, spicy, nutty
Flavor Sweet, orange, mandarin
Aftertaste Clean
Acidity Mild, nippy
Mouth Feel Buttery

– credit to Buserco

So…the next day it shipped. Maybe this won’t be so bad.

The shipping was super fast (I’m going to be ordering more from them). The packaging was great, very secure and professional. I’ve never bought green beans, but it seemed legit.

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100g is the ideal roast amount in my popcorn popper so I did two small roasts. I could’ve easily roasted the rest, but I wanted to hold off.

These roasts went so good. They turned out crazy consistent (FOR IT BEING A POPCORN POPPER….).

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(I was looking at the wrong micro lot. These are from the Bwayi washing station, not the Kirema washing station.)

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Throughout the roast I pulled a bean out to do a somewhat comparison of the roasting.


I finished off this pound yesterday.

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For the Coffee Nerds

These particular beans averaged about 15% weight loss. I was able to get 5 100g roasts from 1 pound. I thought it was only going to be 4 (not sure why), but then when roasting the final batches I was able to measure out 3 cups of 100g each. I’ll take it.



Since roasting I did two V60 03s of what I roasted earlier in the week. The first brew was barely off roast, but I’m impatient. It turned out super sweet and had an almost grapefruit like acidity. The second brew, yesterday, was crazy sweet again with a touch of acidity but more chocolate/toffee like notes coming through.


I’m crazy excited about how these turned out. Over the past few days I’m offered people samples and the response has been great. I’ll be shipping out the remainder of the Burundi on Monday, along with samples of the two Ethiopians I plan on roasting on Saturday. Can’t wait to get some feedback from others and see what they think.

I had forgotten which micro lot this came from on the site, but I found out so I’ll be ordering more next week for sure. Depending on the responses it’ll be more/less. I definitely want to have a bit for own personal brewing – I like it that much. It’s really surprised me how well coffee taste from a popcorn popper…

Hope everybody has a great weekend!!


Changes Coming

Don’t worry, they’re awesome.

I try to stay away from analytics, but sometimes it’s helpful to see what’s working, not working, and how you’re progressing. This blog began back in June as a random little idea for me to track what I’m brewing. If anybody visited it, awesome. If not, that’s cool too cause ultimately I’m doing this for myself. But after looking at my stats the other week I noticed a gradual increase in traffic since June. Each month beats the previous in views and visitors. To some my stats would be laughable. To me though, it’s freaking awesome. The fact that you guys take the time to read my ramblings, THANK YOU.

So what changes are coming?


First off, a new website. When I was into photography I got really hooked on SquareSpace. Since this blog started as a random idea, I didn’t see the point in spending nearly $20/month on a blog. Now that I’ve gained a good bit of traction and support, it’s time for a change. Over the next few weeks I’ll be working on getting that set up.

Secondly, new domain name. I wanted to do this from the start, but it was taken and now I have another idea. It’s a bit pricey, but it’ll be worth it.

Next, an official looking logo for the new website and Instagram.

VIDEO. This past weekend I shared a random time lapse of me filtering some cold brew and it got 400 views in the first day. That’s just insane…

There are a few other ideas I’m playing with, but I won’t announce them just yet. Got to keep some surprises.


As things grow changes need to be made to accommodate. This hasn’t drastically taken off, but it’s done SO much better than I ever could have guessed. A free WordPress blog is great, but I feel like I could do much more with a “fancier” blog and bring you guys an even better experience.

I’m excited. Hope you are. Have a great weekend!



New Coffee [Populace]

Last month I signed up for a monthly coffee subscription through Populace Coffee. I was already ordering their Colombia La Esperanza and my first bag in the subscription was the Kenya Ndaroini. By now it’s known that I have a love/hate relationship with Kenya. That tomato soup though… But the Ndaroini was SO freaking good. Along with the La Esperanza, this is the fastest I’ve ever gone through 2 bags at one time.

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So I’ll be real for a second, I actually forgot all about having the subscription for a bit. Got caught up in other coffees and life, then got the email saying the order was being processed. I hopped on their website and started browsing the options. Their El Salvador sounds amazing so I was secretly hoping for that, but hey…I’ll just order it in the near future. It was set to arrive Saturday and as I left work I got excited. I hate knowing that I’m getting mail cause then I’ll like a little kid – “is it here yet? is it here yet?”.

Then it arrived. I’ve been trying to spice up the Instagram lately so I did a sort of live unboxing through the new stories section. Figured we’d see it for the first time together.

*WordPress won’t let me add the video. Sad. BUT, I have a small announcement coming soon…*

Kenya Rutuma

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Their website says “it’s a beauty filled with lots of florals, intense grapefruit acidity, and savory body”. Sign me up, although I’m curious on the savory body (thinking it could be a way of saying tomato without saying tomato).

This coffee comes to us courtesy of the Rutuma Cooperative Society, an organization comprised of seven factories located on the southern slopes of Mt. Kenya, in the Nyeri District: Karie Factory, Kianjogu Factory, Ruthagati Factory, Ngandu Factory, Marua Factory, Ndurutu Factory, and Githima Factory. – Cafe Imports 

After finding it on Cafe Imports, it says tomatoes… This will be interesting.

First Brew – V60 03 (25/400)

Another killer Kenyan from Populace. It does have a sweet tomato like flavor, maybe more on the lines of persimmons? The body is pretty heavy for a V60, but it plays well with the odd sweetness/richness.

I did the brew a TAD different though. On the back of the bag it lists various methods of brewing. Under the V60 is gives a recipe and says after the bloom, pour to the end amount over 60 seconds. So for me, I did a 45 second bloom and for the next 60 seconds I slowly poured to 400g. This isn’t terribly different than how I usually brew, but it did finish a bit shorter than normal. I want to say it stopped at around 2:15. Typically I hit around 2:45.

Thanks to a recent podcast I’m paying more attention to my brews. I never get an undrinkable cup, but my times are a little erratic – between 2:15-3:00, depending on the size of the brew. Hopefully this Thursday I can play around with the grind size and see what happens.

But that’s for another post. As for this Kenyan, I’m excited to brew it up some more. And this subscription is so good.

Populace Coffee – WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM: @populacecoffee



Cold Brew … Revisited

Yeah, we’re back to cold brew. After listening to The Coffee Podcast‘s Home Brew Series they mentioned bad cold brew. What they meant is that there are some crazy ratios out there 1:4, 1:8 (basically SUPER concentrated). They mentioned doing it like a normal brew (1:15-1:17) and going from there and that it’s more drinkable. The flavors of the coffee come out more. Of course, hearing that sparked me to try it out for myself.

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Large Jar

25g Kenya Mamuto AA (George Howell). It’s well off roast, but I was curious how the darker notes of plum, raisin, blackberry, and black cherries would play out in a cold brew. As an flash chilled V60 it’s outstanding.

Small Jar

12g home roasted Laos. I’ve been sitting on about five home roasts. This particular one was my 3rd roast and I felt it was the more consistent looking of all. It smells quite awesome. Coming from that particular region you already know it’s going to earthy and for me…that’s not too enjoyable.

*For the Coffee Geeks*

Both were ground on the Baratza Encore at #30. I started these around 8pm last night and filtered them at 8:30am this morning. When starting the brew I hit each one with a hot water bloom for 5 minutes (large jar – 100g bloom, small jar – 50g bloom). I set the caps on top to trap the heat. No stirring. After the 5 minutes were up, I used room temperature Brita filtered water to fill each one to the proper amount for the 1:16 ratio (large jar – 400g, small jar – 200g). Now I stirred each one, 5 times (if that’s important to know). They were immediately refrigerated overnight for about 12 hrs. This morning I pre wet V60 filters and used those to clean up the cold brew. If you click the VIDEO link below you can watch that process.



After filtering I added ice to each and took a few sips. The Kenya Mamuto AA was actually really good. Those darker notes stood out and it was refreshing. Sweet, but still dark. The home roasted Laos however, woooo. It had a definite bite to it. Drinkable, but not something I would make again.


I still like brewing up iced V60s, but it’s nice knowing I can be lazy and throw a 1:16 cold brew together and have something really drinkable now.

Angels Cup 13th Flight

This flight came early so instead of brewing last minute on Sunday, I did it last Thursday. I hate rushing through these brews and not being able to truly enjoy them. After brewing I like to look up the different roasters and read whatever information I can find on that particular coffee. It’s sort of late once I’ve already brewed it, but it’s still nice to see where each coffee comes from and learn whatever I can. Starting with this flight, I’m going to begin sharing the information that I’m reading and learning. Not only do I hope you learn some new stuff and gain a better appreciation for specialty coffee, I find that regurgitating stuff I learn helps me retain it better. So enjoy!

[All of the information I share, I’m giving each roaster/importer full credit.]

Also, the cards this week are freaking sweet.

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Honduras, Finca el Tigre – Square One Coffee

The other day I broke out my old Chemex that hasn’t been used in at least 2 months. I intended on using it the other day, but when I decided to brew up this flight I thought why not do the entire flight with the Chemex this week??

It was really bright and clean (all thanks to the Chemex) and had a sort of citrus/melon taste. Kind of acidic, but tasty and enjoyable.

[Chocolate, Vanilla, Berry, Waffle Cone]

Wow, didn’t get that one right. As it cooled I could see a possible toffee like note, but other than that, nothing. After this I decided to go back to the trusty V60 for my tastings.

What I Learned

This coffee is made up of mostly Caturra – a variety that is a natural mutation of Bourbon (pronounced “burr-bone”). It’s a smaller tree with more secondary branches and closer spaced branch point. This leads to a higher yielding tree (more cherries in the same amount of space). However, it’s rather susceptible to coffee leaf rust, which causes some farmers to mingle or switch entirely to other varieties that are more resistant.


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Yirgacheffe, Gedeb (Natural) – Lamplighter Coffee

First sip, natural Ethiopian all day long. Straight up berries. The beans were the first sign of it being an Ethiopian – they were tiny. Next, it being a berry bomb was the second sign.


That was easy. I love how the card describes naturally processed coffees – “And please share this coffee with friends because these blueberry bombs are gateway drugs into specialty coffee”. It’s so true. Natural Ethiopians are the ideal coffee for people new to specialty coffee. They provide the response of, “umm…coffee can taste like this??”. The other week I took a natural to work for people to try and every one of them enjoyed it black, score!

What I Learned

I’ve been browsing green beans on Sweet Maria’s lately (I promise I’m going to get more into the home roasting, life’s just been crazy and each week I’m playing catch up). But I keep seeing different GR (grades) on coffee. On Lamplighters website they mention the various grades of Ethiopian coffee and the way coffee is purchased from the country.

Ethiopia grades its coffee 1-5: washed coffees are 1-2 (1 for really few defects, 2 for a few more defects) and naturals make up 3-5 (on what I assume is the same scale of defects). Lamplight has a GR 1 Ethiopian right now, check it out!

Lastly, there are only two ways to get coffee out of the country:

  1. A government run exchange that stamps a regional name and GR on the coffee making the coffee untraceable.
  2. An organization that is big enough to buy directly from the co-cops and farms. This makes the coffee incredibly traceable.


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Kenya Thageini – Kaldi’s Coffee

Kaldi’s Coffee – if you’re ever in Atlanta, check out one of their three popups around the city. Click HERE for their Atlanta locations.

Ahe beans were rather large and fragrant, leaned towards it possibly being a Kenyan. First sip, kind of dark – raisin, fig, but not tomatoes thankfully. Kind of sweet…cereal?

[Yellow Raisin, Cinnamon, Pear, Kiwi, Froot Loops]

Raisin – check. Cereal – CHECK?! Holy crap. I didn’t expect to get that right. Overall though, this was a very pleasing Kenyan.

What I Learned

Lately I’ve been reading up on the different acids that tasters always use to describe coffee – citric, malic, asetic, lactic, phosphoric. I won’t dive into that, but the big ones I’ve seen are citric (obvious) and malic. Malic was new to me, but apparently it’s something that we consume daily as it’s found in almost every fruit and is a food additive. Didn’t realize that.


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Burundi Kiryama – Square One Coffee

This card and the Kenyan above said to compare each other. First sip, dang…another Kenyan. Really solid. It had the same vibe as the previous Kenyan (sweet and acidic).

[Peach, Ginger Snap, Lemon, Oolong Tea]

Flipped the card and bam, Burundi. I’ve been digging the Burundi Gitwe Mill I got from Honest earlier this month so it was nice to try another offering from there. This cup was SO similar to the Kenyan. Crazy.

What I Learned

While coffee is the major export and crop there, the conflict and turmoil in Burundi has been a pretty big factor in the production. Over the years coffee has went between being private and state controlled. Cafe Imports was one of the first to work towards making a market for specialty Burundi Coffee.

Speaking of Cafe Imports, this coffee was purchased through them. It’s from the Kanyanza Provence which features over 4,000 small farms in the area. They pay a quality premium for the coffee that goes straight to the farmers. Gotta love it.

Lastly, this bag features three different varietals – Bourbon, Jackson, and Mbirizi. Jackson and Mbirizi are new to me, but seem to be common among Burundi coffee.

[Also, I just ordered some green Burundi beans (at the time of writing this). I was researching the regions and came across what I’m assuming is 1lb increments of green beans. Curious to see what I’m being shipped now. Haha. Now it’s sparking me to place an order with Sweet Maria’s – yup, just order 2 pounds from there.]


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What a flight, so many winners. Each one is always a learning experience, but this is first time I’ve shared this much of what I’m learning. I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading this and that you take something away from it. And if you’re still reading this…thank you. You’re awesome!

**Save 25% on your first flight by using the code “CoffeeHunter7245”.**

Mentioned in the Post

Angels Cup – WEBSITE // Instagram: @angelscup

Square One Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @squareonecoffee

Lamplighter Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @lamplightercoffee

Kaldi’s Coffee – WEBSITE // Instagram: @kaldis_coffee