HomeRoast Digest


Topic: Differences in Beans (27 msgs / 930 lines)
1) From: Jamie Dolan
HI,
Thank you for the assistance yesterday with the grinders.
I have a question about beans, and I hope that it is appropriate for this list.
Thus far, I have had green beans from a local coffee shop, and 4 kinds
from Hans at coffee maria in Chicago.
All of the beans I had seemed pretty good to me.  The Sweet Yellow
Brazil beans were exceptional.
I am planing on ordering some from sweet marias, I understand that
they sample all there beans and the quality is high.
I have looking at beans from several other sources online and locally.
 Some are fairly cheap, $2.50 range.  For example a site called
ccmcoffee seems to have some good deals on basic coffees.
If the beans are fresh, how much difference are the cheaper beans going to make?
Will I be completely offended / disappointed by the results from these
cheaper beans vs what I have had so far?  (I think that the ones I had
so far were fairly high quality.)
Also, If I purchase some more expensive coffee beans, will I notice a
big difference there?
I hope this question is ok for this list.  I know it is a list run by
sweetmarias, so I apologize if this was an inappropriate question for
here.
Thanks
Jamie

2) From: Brett Mason
The difference only exists where you smell and taste.  Sweet Maria's
provides far and away the best, most select beans.  THe differences in
teh cup are truly astounding...
Do yourself a favor, and order an 8lb sample pack from Sweet Marias.
Roast, rest, and consume them.  Then go try one of your other
coffees...
I expect we'll have the good fortune to see you a lot on this list in
the future...  We've all tasted the SM nectar. and few of us ever
leave...
B
On 1/2/08, Jamie Dolan  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

3) From: Les
Considering the Swill I am drinking right now from Kauai, going to Sweet
Marias will be an eye opener for you.  What I have is "good" but compared to
what I am going to brew up when I get home from work, it is Swill!  That
Bolivia Cup of Excellence that I saved to roast at the end of the year
should be just right today!  The aroma test this morning was divine!  The
Areo Press will be going into action as soon as I get home.  Brett has the
best suggestion order the 8 pack and be amazed.
Les
On 1/2/08, Brett Mason  wrote:
<Snip>

4) From: Frank Parth
Jamie,
Let me share some of my thoughts on bean quality.
DON'T BUY CHEAP BEANS!!!
The quality of the beans makes a huge difference. On one of my trips to the Mid East two years ago I bought a kilo of 
really inexpensive green beans at a souq in Doha. The label only said the beans were from India. The price was about 
1/3 of what I pay at Sweet Marias.
Was it worth the price? Nope, after the first three roasts the only time I roasted the beans was to give away to 
peopleI knew wouldn't notice the difference. If you're gonna spend all this time and effort to get high quality beans, 
don'twaste the money buying beans that won't deliver. You'll be disappointed.
On subsequent trips to the area the only things I've brought to bring back were dates (the edible kind) and rugs.
Just my thoughts.
Frank Parth
<Snip>

5) From: Dennis Ryan
If the cupper is competent there is no reason why a less expensive  
coffee should be worse then a more expensive one. Tom, is a very good  
cupper, and as a consequence he has filtered out lesser coffees, so  
you don't have to experience them yourself (trust me, you don't want  
to do this on your own :-) For this reason there is substantial value  
added over say, a coop. The quality is worth the price.
All that being said, Sweet Maria's hosts this list, and It wouldn't  
be proper to steer you in another direction. Of course, given the  
consistent quality, why would you want to?
As far as coffees that are more expensive because of their rarity  
(Jamaican, Hawaiian) or because some beast passed it.... If someone  
bought me some for my birthday, great! Truthfully though, I'd be so  
worried about screwing it up in roasting, that it would be a self- 
fulfilling prophecy!
<Snip>

6) From: Vicki Smith
I am going to disagree slightly with Brett. Like him, I believe that we 
get the world's best beans from SM, but I also know that Tom and Maria 
have a huge commitment to buying beans that are ethically produced and 
sold--that is, they buy from growers and co-operatives that pay their 
workers fair wages and that grow the beans in a way that is, to the 
greatest extent possible, environmentally  friendly and sustainable.
Not everything is marked Fair Trade or organic, but that often means 
that the producers have not gotten/paid for the certification.
Coffee producing can be a very dirty, exploitative business and I know 
that SM pays attention to this. If you are buying beans for $2.50 a 
pound, that's probably not happening.
Sometimes the same beans will show up in one of the offerings through a 
green bean buying club for less money, but I, for one, am pleased to 
keep using SM anyway. Folks like Tom and Maria deserve to make a good 
living doing this. Their efforts to bring the best of the best to us 
promotes the development of the kind of world I want to be part of.
vicki
Brett Mason wrote:
<Snip>

7) From: Jamie Dolan
HI;
Ok I am convinced.  I just added the SM sample pack to my cart.  Do
they have a coffee that might be similar to the Sweet Yellow Brazilian
that I had?
Thank You;
Jamie

8) From: Brett Mason
Try the El Salvador - Yellow Bourbon Cultivar ...
Brett
On 1/2/08, Jamie Dolan  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Cheers,
Bretthttp://homeroast.freeservers.com

9) From: Dennis Ryan
reminds  me of a quote from "Clear and Present Danger"
"Do you like coffee? Try the Lindao brand."
On Jan 2, 2008, at 5:07 PM, Brett Mason wrote:
<Snip>

10) From: ray
To throw in my 2 cents I have bought beans from  ccmcoffee in Tampa and
never been disappointed.  At Christmas I bought 50 pounds of the house blend
for the Americas it's the best blend I have ever had and first class beans
the price is lower from the volume they go through truck loads there. Sweet
Marias also carry high class beans some of the very best you can find
anywhere

11) From: John Despres
I think the benefit of SM's beans are Tom's notes and the provenance of 
each bean. I received 35 pounds of various greens beans from a local 
vendor which are fine, I suppose. I'm still learning and have referenced 
Tom's notes for these beans, but I know nothing about them. The vendor 
claims they are S.O. and I have no reason to doubt them, but what comes 
from SM's makes me happier with everything that comes with the beans.
The beans from the local vendor cost more ($2.00 off the roasted per 
pound price), which is another reason to shop SM.
Besides, we get this killer forum from Sweet Maria's as well.
JD
Jamie Dolan wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
John A C Despres
Hug your kidshttp://www.sceneitallproductions.com

12) From: Sandra Andina
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It is an inappropriate question, but I have tried beans from other  
sources and there is no comparison. SM's has never, ever sent me a bad  
bag of beans--and I've gotten tasteless, moldy and even fermented  
beans from other cheaper sources (or those who offered varietals that  
SM's declined to offer).  I trust Tom's cupping evaluations and  
choices without any reservations; and the $4+/lb. that SM's least  
expensive beans cost (less in quantity) is pretty darn economical.
On Jan 2, 2008, at 3:19 PM, Jamie Dolan wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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It is an inappropriate =
question, but I have tried beans from other sources and there is no =
comparison. SM's has never, ever sent me a bad bag of beans--and I've =
gotten tasteless, moldy and even fermented beans from other cheaper =
sources (or those who offered varietals that SM's declined to offer). =
 I trust Tom's cupping evaluations and choices without any =
reservations; and the $4+/lb. that SM's least expensive beans cost (less =
in quantity) is pretty darn economical.
On Jan 2, 2008, at =
3:19 PM, Jamie Dolan wrote:
HI, Thank you for the assistance yesterday with the = grinders. I have a question about beans, and I hope that it is = appropriate for this list. Thus far, I have had green beans from = a local coffee shop, and 4 kinds from Hans at coffee maria in = Chicago. All of the beans I had seemed pretty good to me. =  The Sweet Yellow Brazil beans were exceptional. I am = planing on ordering some from sweet marias, I understand that they = sample all there beans and the quality is high. I have looking at = beans from several other sources online and locally. Some are fairly = cheap, $2.50 range.  For example a site called ccmcoffee seems = to have some good deals on basic coffees. If the beans are fresh, = how much difference are the cheaper beans going to make? Will I = be completely offended / disappointed by the results from = these cheaper beans vs what I have had so far?  (I think that = the ones I had so far were fairly high quality.) Also, If I = purchase some more expensive coffee beans, will I notice a big = difference there? I hope this question is ok for this list. =  I know it is a list run by sweetmarias, so I apologize if this = was an inappropriate question = for here. Thanks Jamie= homeroast mailing list http://li=sts.sweetmarias.com/mailman/listinfo/homeroast To change your = personal list settings (digest options, vacations, unsvbscribes) go to =http://sweetmarias.com/maillistinfo.html#personalsettings= Sandy Andinawww.myspace.com/sandyandina = --Apple-Mail-17--177673509--

13) From: Sandra Andina
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<Snip>
I once was disappointed that SM's had run out of JBM Mavis Banks Mill  
(or there was no JBM that had passed Tom's muster, I forget which),  
and ordered directly from a source in Jamaica---and ended up with  
those aforementioned fermented beans.  Now, the idea of coffee- 
flavored beer is intriguing, but beer-scented coffee (even after  
roasting) was disgusting.
I won't look a gift horse in the mouth (and once had luck with a  
buying co-op when Tom didn't have one particular varietal, but from  
then on if he didn't have it neither did they), but for the past two  
years  have bought greens from SM's only--and such remains my policy.
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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As far as coffees that are more expensive because =
of their rarity (Jamaican, Hawaiian) or because some beast passed it.... =
If someone bought me some for my birthday, great! Truthfully though, I'd =
be so worried about screwing it up in roasting, that it would be a =
self-fulfilling prophecy!I once was disappointed that SM's =
had run out of JBM Mavis Banks Mill (or there was no JBM that had passed =
Tom's muster, I forget which), and ordered directly from a source in =
Jamaica---and ended up with those aforementioned fermented beans. =
 Now, the idea of coffee-flavored beer is intriguing, but =
beer-scented coffee (even after roasting) was disgusting.
I won't look a gift horse = in the mouth (and once had luck with a buying co-op when Tom didn't have = one particular varietal, but from then on if he didn't have it neither = did they), but for the past two years  have bought greens from SM's = only--and such remains my policy.
Sandy Andinawww.myspace.com/sandyandina = --Apple-Mail-18--177199111--

14) From: Sandra Andina
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Should mention that the only exception was Metropolis Greenline  
because they're in the neighborhood in case of an "espresso  
emergency" (i.e., running out of Monkey or Liq. Amber)--but since I  
developed my Rocket Fuel espresso blend I have found the components  
from SM's to be at least 30% less expensive.
On Jan 2, 2008, at 6:40 PM, Sandra Andina wrote:
<Snip>
Sandy Andina
www.myspace.com/sandyandina
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Should mention that the only =
exception was Metropolis Greenline because they're in the neighborhood =
in case of an "espresso emergency" (i.e., running out of Monkey or Liq. =
Amber)--but since I developed my Rocket Fuel espresso blend I have found =
the components from SM's to be at least 30% less expensive. =
 On Jan 2, 2008, at 6:40 PM, Sandra Andina =
wrote:
As far as coffees that are more expensive because = of their rarity (Jamaican, Hawaiian) or because some beast passed it.... = If someone bought me some for my birthday, great! Truthfully though, I'd = be so worried about screwing it up in roasting, that it would be a = self-fulfilling prophecy!I once was disappointed that SM's = had run out of JBM Mavis Banks Mill (or there was no JBM that had passed = Tom's muster, I forget which), and ordered directly from a source in = Jamaica---and ended up with those aforementioned fermented beans. =  Now, the idea of coffee-flavored beer is intriguing, but = beer-scented coffee (even after roasting) was disgusting.
I won't look a gift horse = in the mouth (and once had luck with a buying co-op when Tom didn't have = one particular varietal, but from then on if he didn't have it neither = did they), but for the past two years  have bought greens from SM's = only--and such remains my policy.
Sandy Andinawww.myspace.com/sandyandina = = Sandy Andinawww.myspace.com/sandyandina = --Apple-Mail-19--176892112--

15) From: ray
I can see the cop now pulling you over and saying step out of the car mister
I smell coffee on your breth have you been drinking? but beer-scented coffee
(even after roasting) was disgusting.

16) From: Rick Copple
Jamie Dolan wrote:
<Snip>
I've occasionally looked at other sites, but could never bring myself to 
risk losing money on bad beans. Just their notes on the coffee itself 
usually don't inspire me. Frequently there's no mention of where the 
beans come from, how they were processed, exactly what flavors I'll 
taste in it, what cupping went into finding the beans (you can read 
Tom's cupping notes on the site, and see what he's rejected), etc. 
There's just no comparison. I know I would spend more in the long run 
and throw out a lot of beans if I ordered from other places, or have to 
spend a lot looking for a place like this that has the notes and testing 
to find only the good stuff.
So, to date I've never bought my greens from anywhere else. I think the 
cost is reasonable and you're paying for the care taken in making sure 
when beans get shipped out, they'll be good beans and I won't be wasting 
my money. It's just not worth it for me to experiment.
And, this New Years I roasted some Eth. Sidmo (sp?) that I recently 
ordered. Really nice. And the comments from my Mom and others is that I 
roast the best coffee they've ever tasted, and they really liked that.
Funny, cause I gave coffee to the two who said they really enjoyed what 
I gave them two years ago, but no one else, for Christmas. Now I have 
everyone else telling me how good the coffee is. You think they might 
have picked up on that? ;)
But it was my Mom's birthday, so she got one pound of my precious Eth. 
Sidmo. Now, I think my brother and sister-in-law feel left out. I'll 
have to find a reason to roast them up some. First I need some more gift 
bags...and money. ;)
-- 
Rick Copple

17) From: raymanowen
"the beans I had seemed pretty good to me.
[The first drink of coffee you ever had probably seemed pretty good, too,
did it not?]
I am planing on ordering some from sweet marias, I understand that... the
quality is high.
[Think- Sweet Maria's only sells coffee. Theirs is not only good- it's
Superb- it's their Lifeline!]
I have looking at beans from several other sources online and locally. Some
are fairly cheap, $2.50 range.
[And worth almost every penny- Tom's educational coffee is cheaper]
For example a site called ccmcoffee seems to have some good deals
[Credulity or gullibility alive & well- they show an image of more coffee
than Tom can get from some sources, buying out the whole exquisite crop]
If the beans are fresh, [Well, Are they?]
how much difference are the cheaper beans going to make?
[Blend them with Foulgers, and you'd be hard pressed to tell the
difference...]
Will I be completely offended / disappointed by the results from these
cheaper beans
vs what I have had so far?
[Were you, and are you?]
(I think that the ones I had so far were fairly high quality.)"
Big Coffee can sell nothing better than mediocre, average- always available
and no pedigree.
[Note- Tom routinely Rejects "fairly high quality"]
Cheers, Mabuhay -RayO, aka Opa!
On Jan 2, 2008 2:19 PM, Jamie Dolan < jamiedolan> wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
"When the theme hits the bass, I dance the Jig!" - -Virgil Fox at the Mighty
Wichita (ex- NYC Paramount) WurliTzer- 1976

18) From: Larry Johnson
Jamie;
As is so often the case, RayO nails it. I would like to add a "ditto"
to his comments. I am a bargain hunter supreme, and I have (before I
found Sweet Maria's) tried green beans from a couple of very reputable
sources (including a very successful local roaster) but I never found
a better bargain than Sweet Maria's as far as what you get for your
money. The quality of the product is never, ever compromised for the
sake of expediency. They do business the way I wish everyone did - by
standing behind their products 100%.
Also; as was mentioned by someone earlier, Tom's cupping notes alone
are worth more than any difference in price. The confidence level one
has when ordering from SM (100% in my case) is worth even more. I
consider Sweet Maria's to be the real bargain - not some site that
sells beans for less money.
Just my $.02
-- 
Larry J
On 1/3/08, raymanowen  wrote:
<Snip>

19) From: Alchemist John
This got me looking around and this is the kind of thing I found as a=
 "review"
Costa Rica Estate Dota Finca Toņa Tarrazu Miel
Honey coffee from the town of Santa Maria de 
Dota, 'nough said. Elevations of 1800-1950 
meters, the highest of the true Tarrazu coffees. 
Beautiful views and an even better cup.
That's it.  How are you supposed to make an 
informed decision about that.  I am spoiled with 
SM and the couple times I have tasted green 
coffee from other place, in most cases it was not 
bad, but didn't make me go WOW either.
Or even better (and we know how many lots of 
harrar tom goes through to get good ones)
Ethiopia Harrar
Berries and chocolate, wine and Ella Fitzgerald. 
Mmm Mmmm Mmm. From the good people at 
Oromia Coffee Farmers Union.
IMO 'nuff said.
At 18:22 1/2/2008, you wrote:
<Snip>
John Nanci
AlChemist at large
Zen Roasting , Blending & Espresso pulling by Gestalthttp://www.chocolatealchemy.com/

20) From: Sean Cary
there are enough variables in coffee roasting - take one out by getting
consistently good green beans...
I have never roasted anything but a Sweet Maria's bean - and won't anytime
soon.  I was out of the Marine Corps during the mid-late 90's and ran a dive
shop in South Florida.  I respect repeat customers... a lot!
Sean
Home NEXT MONTH!!
Man I am tired.
On Jan 3, 2008 4:29 PM, Larry Johnson  wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Sean M. Cary
Major USMC
Tempus Fugit, Memento Mori

21) From: Brian Kamnetz
On Jan 3, 2008 9:48 AM, Sean Cary  wrote:
<Snip>
I couldn't agree more. As I have said to people many times, when it
comes to coffee, you can't end up with something better than what you
start with. You can't start with green coffee that is better than the
coffee that Tom and Maria make available to us.
This all makes me recall the time in the past - might have been April
Fool's Day - when someone's post said that Sweet Maria's was selling
out. I still recall the awful feeling. Thank God that Tom and Maria
are still there for us.
Brian

22) From: Cameron Forde
I once bought some green beans from a local roaster.  They came from
Cuba and I figured that Tom was pretty unlikely to be able to offer
Cuban coffee any time soon.  The first hint of trouble was when the
recommended roast level was 90% of the way through second crack (no
joke).  For some reason I just assumed that he thought I was looking
for the Starbucks "quality".  I roasted the beans just up to second
crack figuring that is a pretty good place to start.  I just couldn't
drink the coffee.  It was worse than canned coffee.  So I figured that
maybe I should put a little more roast on the next batch to smooth out
the rough edges.  The next roast was 30-45 s into second (as dark as I
go).  Still undrinkable.  I pitched the lot and haven't been back to
that roaster since. Never had that problem with Sweet Maria's coffee.
Cameron
-- 
ceforde

23) From: Sheila Quinn
I once asked a local "roaster" (and I'm using that term loosely) if I 
could just buy the greens from them. They said okay, but I never 
followed through. I know I'd be disappointed anyway, so why bother? 
Waste of time and money when I know I can get what I like right here!
Sheila
Cameron Forde wrote:
<Snip>

24) From: TERRY TITSWORTH
I have had a local 'coffee shop' offer to sell me greens when he
discovered that I roasted my own. His supplier is a Washington
competitor/sometimes partner of Toms and some of the other west coast
roasters. However after sampling this guys espresso I just never went
back to the place. I might have been able to 'save' a little on
shipping, but I would have probably lost that savings in this guys
'handling charges'. I plan on staying right where I am with my green
purchases. 
Oh, I have tried 3 other sources in the distant past, a Florida outlet
that wasn't too bad (by what I knew then) a Georgia outlet which tended
to have more defects than others and a supposed Costa Rican 'farm'
direct sales. These were really cheap, but the age and quality was
suspect ESPECIALLY the odor when the bag was opened.
So, Oakland appears to be my place of choice, besides if I ever go to
visit my in-laws and friends, or attend a class reunion, I'm just about
80 miles from the front door of Tom's little oasis.
TerryT

25) From: Lynne
My experience was different. Thank heaven above there are a few dedicated
roasters around (like Mike McKoffee - only I'm on the other side of the
country). I discovered my own gem when I ran out & couldn't afford the
shipping. I feel that I was both extremely lucky (talk about withdrawal
possibilities!) that I didn't end up with awful beans, but I also discovered
someone very dedicated, and just about as insane as those of us in this
group. (He & his brother run an espresso shop, normally they don't sell
greens - he was just being very, very nice.)
Unfortunately, while I intend to go there to get an espresso now & then, I
have to conserve my resources these days - but again, I have to give this
coffee shop a plug - if anyone is in the Beverly, MA area. It's a teeny
place with the gorgeous roaster right in the front of the shop, and now they
have a second one in Marblehead, too.
As soon as I get beyond this 'poorer than a church-mouse' stage, (and it
gets warmer for bus riding), I can't wait to spend a bit of time there.http://www.atomicafe.com/(no competition w/SM's, as they don't [normally] sell greens)
However, in contrast, I asked about the greens sold in a shop in Boston's
North End (our 'little Italy'). No telling how old they were (they keep them
in big, open wooden barrels), and neither did they know anything about the
origins, besides the country from where they came. What was amazing is they
even charge more than Sweet Maria's does! Ugh - no thank you, not even for
practice roasting...
Lynne

26) From: Dennis Ryan
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I drove past that place for years before I ever stopped in.  
Absolutely fantastic. I feel like I don't deserve to live in close  
proximity to such a place.
On Jan 4, 2008, at 9:45 AM, Lynne wrote:
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I drove past that place for years before I ever stopped in. Absolutely =
fantastic. I feel like I don't deserve to live in close proximity to =
such a place. 
On Jan 4, = 2008, at 9:45 AM, Lynne wrote:
My = experience was different. Thank heaven above there are a few dedicated = roasters around (like Mike McKoffee - only I'm on the other side of the = country). I discovered my own gem when I ran out & couldn't afford = the shipping. I feel that I was both extremely lucky (talk about = withdrawal possibilities!) that I didn't end up with awful beans, but I = also discovered someone very dedicated, and just about as insane as = those of us in this group. (He & his brother run an espresso shop, = normally they don't sell greens - he was just being very, very nice.) = Unfortunately, while I intend to go there to get an espresso now = & then, I have to conserve my resources these days - but again, I = have to give this coffee shop a plug - if anyone is in the Beverly, MA = area. It's a teeny place with the gorgeous roaster right in the front of = the shop, and now they have a second one in Marblehead, too. As = soon as I get beyond this 'poorer than a church-mouse' stage, (and it = gets warmer for bus riding), I can't wait to spend a bit of time = there. http://www.atomicafe.com/= (no competition w/SM's, as they don't [normally] sell = greens) However, in contrast, I asked about the greens sold in a = shop in Boston's North End (our 'little Italy'). No telling how old they = were (they keep them in big, open wooden barrels), and neither did they = know anything about the origins, besides the country from where they = came. What was amazing is they even charge more than Sweet Maria's does! = Ugh - no thank you, not even for practice roasting... = Lynne = --Apple-Mail-5--38972557--

27) From: Lynne
I envy you! I'm close (two cities away), but not close enough. That area is
so cool, too, with the old movie theater & lots of restaurants. Guess that
would be my second choice if I were ever to move from here (I love having
places w/in walking distance), unless I could afford Davis Square area in
Somerville.
Or a cabin in the woods...
Lynne
On Jan 4, 2008 10:04 AM, Dennis Ryan  wrote:
<Snip>


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