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Topic: SM's Sampler Packs and how long does it take ... (11 msgs / 282 lines)
1) From: Michael Horowitz
Newbie at roasting and speciality coffee here.
My  experience is that it takes some time to get used to a
particular bean/roast such that I can contrast what I"m tasting with
something new.  Q: has that been your experience? 
Second - the SM sampler's come in 1/2# increments. Q: for a newbie is that
enough coffee to establish a "taste baseline"? - Mike
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2) From: jim gundlach
It is not enough to decide on individual coffees.  However, it is 
enough to decide what general profiles you like.  The sample pack 
covers a range of profiles.  Start with the pack, try them and rank 
them by how well you like them.  Then look at the profiles and 
descriptions of the ones you like the most.  Then order two pound bags 
of Tom's beans that are similar.  The sample pack is like a compass 
that gives you direction.  The two pound bags give you enough of each 
coffee so you pick your comfortable places once you go in your 
direction.  However, after roasting and drinking for a while, go ahead 
and try some in a different direction.  As you train your taste buds, 
you will begin to like coffees that now seem odd or strange.
Jim Gundlach
roasting over pecan wood fires
in La Place, Alabama
On Sunday, December 15, 2002, at 07:38 AM, Michael Horowitz wrote:
<Snip>
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3) From: Michael Horowitz
JIm - thanks for the reply.
Also, your .sig file reminds me of my dad smoking mullet over pecan. I was
raised in Biloxi.
- Mike
<Snip>
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4) From: floyd burton
The way I roast it takes at least 2# for me to discover the roasting sweet
spot-read Tom's reviews-outstanding-you may not like the style of the coffee
but you will-at least I have not in 4+ years I think it is-not find one
indifferent batch of beans from Tom.  Enjoy

5) From: Andrew J. Lynn
Michael Horowitz wrote:
<Snip>
One suggestion:
Also order a pound or two, depending on how big a batch your roaster 
takes, of something you think you might like, or, failing that, 
something not too expensive that can take a wide range of roasts (Timor 
Organic Aifu come to mind) and practice roasting.  I started out a few 
months ago with the sampler pack, and I don't think the 1/2 pound bags 
are enough to develop some basic roasting technique and have enough of 
each coffee left over to practice tasting.  (If you're getting a roaster 
that does 1/2 cup batches, that's about 1/6 of a pound but it varies.)
I'd suggest taking a few trial runs - one going for a long time so you 
can hear what the cracks sound like and about when they happen, and a 
few more to practice hitting the major roast levels - city, full city, 
etc.  Then you can try roasting the sample coffees to Tom's recommendations.
Andy Lynn
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6) From: Rick Farris
Mike wrote:
<Snip>
Absolutely.  It takes me about a pound to roast it to several different
roast-levels so I can decide how best I like it roasted.
<Snip>
I don't think so.  After the first pound it takes me another pound to decide
how much I like it.  I always order 2-lb bags of something new.
When I first started roasting I tended to order a pound each of five or six
different origins.  Now that I've decided what I like I order a minimum of
five pounds of my "staples" and two pounds of something new I'd like to try
out.
A half-pound is enough for two quarter-pound batches, not enough to make any
kind of decision about, *unless* you're already a master roaster and know
that you won't make any mistakes...
-- Rick
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7) From: Michael Horowitz
Rick - care to share the origins you initially stocked? - Mike
<Snip>
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8) From: Les & Becky
I would ditto Jim's response and add that if you roast to a city-full city
you can get a feel for each of the coffees.  Also look them up and see what
Tom suggests for roasts.  I would pay particular attention to the latitude
of roast that he discusses on most of his coffees.  And sometimes he is just
plain wrong!  For example a light roast of his "Monkey Blend" is one of the
best vac pot coffees that is out there, and I know of at least 3 others on
the list that would agree!  That is why we roast our own, to develop the
coffee brews that taste best to US as individuals.  However, after sampling
two other homeroaster's brews, I think we all do a pretty good job of making
good coffee!
Les

9) From: Rick Farris
Mike wrote:
<Snip>
Like most of us I started with Tom's sampler pack, but by the time I was
beginning to feel like I had roasting figured out, I was almost out of the 8
samples, and hadn't found anything I really liked.  I made another
"scattershot" order with Tom, but in the meantime I realized I needed
something to practice with, so I went to the Pannikins in downtown San Diego
and asked them to sell me some greens that would be "easy to roast."
The lady sold me a couple of pounds of "Columbian."  I roasted them, waited
overnight, and it was the best coffee I'd ever tasted.  Unfortunately I
neglected to ask what *kind* of Columbian it was, and I moved to Arizona the
next day, so I ordered some of Tom's Columbian Organic Mesa de Los Santos
Coop.
Guess what?  All Columbian's aren't the same!  Too bad I ordered five pounds
of it.  :-)  Looking for that same original experience, I ordered several
varieties of Central and South American greens, finally discovering
Nicaragua Sabor de Segovia, which had that same "essence of coffee" taste
profile that I like.  When I went back to get some more, Tom was out so I
ordered the Nicaragua Matagalpa.  Sheesh, another mistake.  Not bad coffee,
but a distinctly different taste.  Luckily, Tom got the Segovia back in and
I ordered twenty pounds of it!
So that's my "house" coffee: Nicaragua Organic/FT Segovia.  I also keep
Costa Rica LMT in stock, Panama Finca La Berlina, and several varieties of
Kona.  I love high-body coffee, so I have fairly large quantities of Timor,
Sulawesi Toraja and Sumatra Mandehling in stock.  With all that "java-type"
coffee I need some Mokha, so I'm about to make a large buy of Yemeni greens.
I'm trying to decide whether to buy 20 pounds of Ismaili, or five pounds
each of Ismaili, Mattari and Raimi.
Before I began roasting my own I always enjoyed Starbucks Kenya AA, so one
of my earlier purchases was five pounds of Kenya AB Gakui Auction Lot '01,
which I didn't like.  As each of the Kenya's became available I ordered a
little bit, waiting to find something as good as Starbucks. ;-)  So now I've
got some Kenya Karani and Karumandi.  With the Karumandi I finally found
something I could drink.  Not only that, I figured out that if I left it
sitting around for a week, or so, it started to have that Starbucks flavor I
like.  After December ends (an all day, everyday Kona month), I'm going to
go back through the Kenyans and see if I've learned to like them any better.
Maybe I just have to let them go stale.
Oh, and as far as Columbian goes, I kept pecking away at it and finally
found one I like as well as the Nicaragua Segovia -- the Columbia
Bucaramanga.  Now that's good stuff.
I don't know if that answered your question, but I hope so.  Here's a (never
missing the CSA opportunity to brag about my stash) list of what I currently
have:
   Brazil Cooxupe Prima Qualita
   Columbian Organic Bucaramanga Bourbon
   Columbian Organic Mesa de Los Santos Coop
   Costa Rican La Minita Terrazu
   Ethiopian Ghimbi Natural Decaf
   Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Grade 2
   Hawaii Kona Purple Mountain Farm '02
   Hawaii Kona Blue Sky Farm '02
   Hawaii Kona Kona Mountain Farm '02
   Hawaii Kona Koa Farm '02
   Indian Monsooned Malabar
   Kenya AA Karani Auction Lot '02
   Kenya AA Karumandi Auction Lot '02
   Kenya AB Gakui Auction Lot '01
   Nicaragua Organic/FT Segovia -02
   Panama Boquete -Finca La Berlina
   Sulawesi Toraja Gr. 1 -Lot 1942
   Sumatra Mandheling Natural Decaf
   Timor Organic Aifu '01
   Uganda Budadiri AA Specialty
   Yemen Mokha Ismaili (Hirazi)
-- Rick
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10) From: Rick Farris
(I know, I'm replying to myself.  Why does Rick write in the third person?
Rick knows not...)
Jim (Or anybody else that knows. Tom, feel free to jump in here.),
As far as stocking up on Yemeni goes, where are we in the growing season for
Mokhas?  I know that it's best to wait a while on some Central and South
American coffees until the higher altitude beans ripen.
Is there something like that that goes on with Yemeni coffee?  Are we buying
end crop, mid crop, or early crop now?
-- Rick
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11) From: Jim Schulman
<Snip>http://sweetmarias.com/coffee.arabia.yemen.htmlThe top of the page gives the harvest times as 
December and April. But they seem slow in 
preparation and coming to market. The new Mattari 
is marked as from December 2001, the older Raimi 
and Hirazi from April 2001. 
I notice when roasting them that the beans are 
very dry and reach the first crack quickly 
(although they're slow after that). I've never 
noticed any change over the time I've roasted one 
harvest's worth. 
On the other hand, a lot of aged Mattari Tom got 
in earlier this year was gone so fast, that I 
missed it despite checking in weekly. Someone 
knows something I don't (I'd never even heard of 
aged Yemens before that).
Jim Schulman
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