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Topic: Costa Rica Tarrazu -Hacienda La Minita: Help! (25 msgs / 616 lines)
1) From: Paul Helbert
Tonight a friend gave me two kilograms of Costa Rica Tarrazu -Hacienda
La Minita from an early 2008 SM group purchase. Unfortunately SM is
now sold out and so Tom's write up is missing from the green coffee
listing. Would someone please point me to an archived discussion of
this bean, or if that does not exist, at least send me the roast
suggestions from the label? My friend bought a large quantity and
divided it up into smaller bags, which is why I'm now at a loss for
Tom's blurb.
Thanks!
-- 
Paul Helbert
Prepackaged, roasted & ground coffee,,,
Some of the worst ideas since sliced bread.
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2) From: Derek Bradford
Hi Paul,
You can find the writeup here:http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.reviewarchive.cos-f.htmlThey keep all the coffee offerings archived.  The links are at the bottom of
the offerings page.
Cheers,
--Derek
On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 11:30 AM, Paul Helbert 
wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate. --Thoreau
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3) From: Paul Helbert
 Derek. How can I distinguish this year's write-up from an older one?
Thanks.
Paul Helbert
Prepackaged, roasted & ground coffee,,,
Some of the worst ideas since sliced bread.
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4) From: Derek Bradford
If you look at the label "Crop" you'll see the arrival date.  Since yours
was an '08 purchase, it would have been the Aug '07 crop; you wouldn't have
had the previous year's beans.
Beyond that, older years are archived beside the links to the more recent
archives, all the way down to pre-2000, broken up by ranges.
--Derek
On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 11:39 AM, Paul Helbert 
wrote:
<Snip>
-- 
Every path but your own is the path of fate. --Thoreau
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5) From: Paul Helbert
Thanks again.
Paul
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6) From: John and Emma
Paul,
It's nice to have friends like that. 
That Costa Rican is the best coffee we have ever had. My wife and I were in
Costa Rica last year for 3 weeks and traveled the whole country. We tried
lots of coffee from different regions and the one you got was our favorite
(no surprise that SM offered it). This is also where we first learned about
home roasting and how I got started. My wife and I were looking at buying
this coffee from Costa Rica when I happened upon SM. Never heard of the site
before that. THANK YOU Tom and Maria for being in business.
One question this brings up is what would be a similar (comparable) coffee
that SM offers to this Costa Rican now that it is sold out.
All the best.
John H.

7) From: Dave Kvindlog
On 4/24/08, John and Emma  wrote:
<Snip>
Be patient.  More Costa Ricans coming soon!  From the Sweet Maria website:
Costa Rica is currently out of stock as we await the arrival of mid-harvest
micro-lot coffees.
Costa Ricas from early in the harvest tend to be low-grown, or have more
under-rip coffee
cheries in the mix. We wait forhigh elevation mid crop coffees. This year we
will have
a staggering selection of micro-mill coffees. New crop lots start to arrive
in late April. -Tom
But if you just can't wait...I'd recommend Panama SHB Las Victorias.
-- 
Dave Kvindlog
iHomeroast
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
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8) From: Les
Good choice Dave.  The Panama is awesome and in my opinion better the CRLM.
Can you beleive Sweet Marias is down to 3 Centrals!!!!  My arguement for
have a good stash is being well illustrated.
Les
On 4/24/08, Dave Kvindlog  wrote:
<Snip>
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9) From: John and Emma
Thanks Dave,
Will go with Panama and look forward to new crops.   One joy I have is
trying the different blends at SM looking for another favorite. There are so
many choices :)
John H.

10) From: Les
John,
Blends?  Sweet Marias works very hard to bring us some of the best Single
Origin beans in the world.
Les
On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 4:28 PM, John and Emma  wrote:
<Snip>
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11) From: John and Emma
Sorry Les,
It was a type O on my part. I wrote quickly before leaving for an
appointment. Thanks for catching my error. I obviously have to be more
careful when typing on this list.
Coffee is like Scotch. Single malt and single origin are the only way to go
:)
John H.

12) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
Folks - a heads up ... we are taking Costa Rica to a whole new level 
this year. Seriously. We have bought micro-lot coffees from at least 
15 small farms, each with their own micro-mills and total control 
over cup quality. I think this is they year I had to acknowledge that 
CRLM, a leader in single origin coffee, is really not the cutting 
edge now. The notion that the best quality of a Costa Rica coffee is 
consistency ... well ... it's not the greatest compliment you can 
give a coffee. It's something you can say about Bud and Michelob, and 
it's not knocking big brands, but what is truly going on now in Costa 
Rica is akin to the micro-brew revolution in the US. The range of 
coffees we're bringing in is huge, from full natural Costa Ricans 
that taste like ethiopia sidamo dry-process, to extremely balanced, 
refined and lively cups, and everything in between. Quite a few are 
pure cultivars, others are special lots farmer's did just for us. 
Frankly, it's going to be a lot of work to review all these coffees 
and create a good understanding of the various flavors, since they 
range from neo-typcial Costas to completely atypical. Anyway, I 
apologize for the teaser, but I just cupped the final round of 
pre-ships, and I am really excited about these coffees. Arrivals 
should be in 3-5 weeks on quite a few of these, some later. I posted 
a really nice Guatemala pure Bourbon today that we I found in 
February (La Florencia from Fraijanes). Also posted our very limited 
about of Hawaii Kowali lot of pure Jamaica Blue Mountain seedstock 
today.
Tom
<Snip>
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com
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13) From: Jim Gundlach
On Apr 24, 2008, at 11:44 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
This is the true reward for paying good coffee producers a decent  
price for quality coffee.   Get those taste buds ready, the future of  
great coffees looks exciting.
        pecan jim
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14) From: Rick Copple
Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
Good news! I've always been a big CR fan. Looks like I'll get to pig out 
this year. :)
-- 
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15) From: Les
Thanks for the update Tom!  I guess I will have to put Costa Rica back on my
list of places I will buy coffee from.  For those of us that like a good
Central, seeing less than 5 on the offering sheet brings panic!!!!
Les
On 4/25/08, Rick Copple  wrote:
<Snip>
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16) From: Bill
Tom,
had seen the notice that more CRs are on their way in, and thank you for the
post letting us know, and also thank you for taking the time to source all
these great coffees.
A question that will be answered when you start posting these new coffees:
what kind of quantities are you getting from these micro-mills?  Will these
be nano-lots, micro-lots, or what?   Anyway, I know that you're busy running
your business and not needing to answer questions from the list.  So if I
just have to wait and see, I certainly will!  But thanks again for all your
hard work.
bill
On Thu, Apr 24, 2008 at 10:44 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee <
sweetmarias> wrote:
<Snip>
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17) From: Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee
<Snip>
it's a real mix in quantities because we let the farm dictate it. If 
you have 1/2 hectare of bourbon planted above 1900 meters, then some 
years you will have 10 bags parchment, some years only 8 ... then you 
mill it and lose 20%, or 30%, and that varies too based on the 
natural factors. Its the best way to work, because some buyers say "i 
need xx bags of this, and the farm or exporter will miraculously come 
up with that amount. better to let nature and the farmer decide lot 
sizes.
  we might keep some lots down to 2 lb limit, or 5 lb limit. I am 
trying to figure out a way to approach this new challenge, because it 
changes the whole approach that Costa Ricas fall into a particular 
flavor category. It could really disappoint some people who love CRLM 
to order a full natural, african-bed-dried costa rican and taste 
mango and tamarind - that's not what they had in mind. some of the 
lots are quite traditional, others are not at all. we have lots of 
pure typica but also a very interesting Villa Sarchi cultivar that 
has a different sort of cup. Anyway, some are lots we might stock for 
a few weeks, others for  2-3 months. I was also tempted to make a 
sampler that would come with additional taste notes. we'll see. this 
is a very different year for me. in colombia, guatemala and costa 
rica we are getting coffees from very new channels that have a focus 
solely on small lots, rather than a larger exporter than happens to 
have a few small lots on the side... we also are getting to a new 
level of transparency with this process, which we'll call "farm gate 
pricing" - i know exactly what the farmer was paid because we were 
there to agree on it. this happened in the past but usually the offer 
price would come from the middle-people even though you were working 
on the farm level. this also is different than fair trade, which 
deserves a huge asterisk next to it: fair trade does not mean the 
small farmer-member of a coop, let alone the laborer, the picker, 
ever got paid fairly. It means the coop got paid a certified price. 
there are may good coops, and some that are truly more corrupt than 
private enterprises. fair trade has its place and i support it, but 
small individual farms are excluded unless they join a coop. so it 
has some shortcomings. in addition i can guarantee that everything we 
buy from farms is well over fair trade pricing, a good portion are 
exponentially more! so this is an added bonus of this micro-mill 
system: the farmer has full control, separates qualities of coffee, 
and gets the most for his/her coffee because they deliver a finished 
product of top caliber. it's a win-win deal ...
sorry, i digress alot from your question ...
tom
--
                   "Great coffee comes from tiny roasters"
            Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting  -  Tom & Maria
                      http://www.sweetmarias.com                Thompson Owen george_at_sweetmarias.com
     Sweet Maria's Coffee - 1115 21st Street, Oakland, CA 94607 - USA
             phone/fax: 888 876 5917 - tom_at_sweetmarias.com
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18) From: Paul Helbert
Tom,
I really like your idea of the sampler. Hope it works for you.
-- 
Paul Helbert
Prepackaged, roasted & ground coffee,,,
Some of the worst ideas since sliced bread.
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19) From: Les
I don't like the idea of a sampler. Besides being too much work, by the time
you get them all together, you will end up reducing the size of the lots so
that what could have been offered as a 10 pounder will be a 5 pounder, a
five pounder will be reduced to a two pounder and a two pounder down to one
just for the sake of a sampler that will only tease and cause disappointment
when you go to order your favorite is gone.  I much prefer making my own
choices based on the great reviews that Tom will provide us.  I can then
make my own sampler.  I find it ironic that we praise Tom and the farmers
for their avoidance of the coop, and then we would turn around and ask Tom
to "Coop" the diversity for us.  Not my idea of the freedom to choose what I
want in my stash.  So no offense Paul,  that is my opinion.
Les
On 4/25/08, Paul Helbert  wrote:
<Snip>
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20) From: Bill
I've always figured that digressions are the best part of this list.
 Especially digressions that are coffee-related...
But seriously, Tom, thanks for the great response that helps me/us to know
more about the state of coffee and coffee in costa rica.  it's interesting
to hear about these new methods and means of specialty coffee that are in
the process of being developed and explored.  so thanks a lot.  I'll keep a
keen eye on your costa rica offerings in the next few months.  Thanks again
for all your hard work.
bill
<Snip>
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21) From: Bill
i was undecided, but Les swayed my opinion.  Yeah, I agree with him.  I
enjoy Tom's reviews and reading them and deciding for myself.  I generally
disliked getting samplers from SM, not because they contained any bad
coffee, but because I would look for something else...  I know what I like,
and can order accordingly!bill
On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 3:29 PM, Les  wrote:
<Snip>
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22) From: Jim Gundlach
On Apr 25, 2008, at 2:03 PM, Tom & Maria - Sweet Maria's Coffee wrote:
<Snip>
A sampler pack would be a nice way to stimulate some coordinated  
roasting and discussion on the list.
      pecan jim
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23) From: Jim Gundlach
Les,
      Let me offer a counter argument.  I am sure Tom would not put  
all of the new Costa Rican coffees  in the sample packs.  You would  
still have your freedom to choose.  The thing about the sample packs  
is that it would give a series of coffees that relatively new members  
of the list could share along with some discussion and through the  
process they would build their coffee related vocabulary and their  
confidence in their ability to participate on the list.  The rather  
high level of expertise exhibited by some of the regulars on the list  
can inhibit participation by new members.  That is not to say that  
high level of expertise should be discouraged in any way at all,  
rather that it can sometimes take a little extra effort to get some to  
participate at a level that would benefit them and the rest of us.
       pecan jim
On Apr 25, 2008, at 4:29 PM, Les wrote:
<Snip>
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24) From: Les
I was in a bit of a foul mood when I posted the above.  You make some good
points.
Les
On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 4:13 PM, Jim Gundlach 
wrote:
<Snip>
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25) From: Paul Helbert
On Fri, Apr 25, 2008 at 8:24 PM, Les  wrote:
<Snip>
Your points are valid as well.
I like the samples because they help keep me from having to buy a
bigger cooler to hold my stash. I've tried to remember to buy a
sampler with each order but only bought larger amounts of ten to
fifteen per cent or those I've sampled..
-- 
Paul Helbert
Prepackaged, roasted & ground coffee,,,
Some of the worst ideas since sliced bread.
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