FreeWine / Stock Photos

If the photo looks familiar to you, you've probably fired up your popcorn air popper to roast some heavenly beans at home. I ran into a little something online this morning that may be of interest to folks who roast their own at home and aren't afraid to experiment a little.

I was kicking around looking for a description of the typical flavor profile of a particular coffee when I ran into this:

Not everything I do turns out like I hope it will. The purchase of this coffee is one of them. Normally we have some intensive cupping sessions (our Spring and Fall Cupping Retreats are where we do the bulk of this) and make our selection decisions then. Occasionally we'll buy coffee based on the recommendation of select importers whose opinions we have come to respect and trust. Rarely, although it does happen, I'll get a wild hair and buy some coffee for no other reason than because I want to. As in this case. We've never had a coffee from the DRC to offer before. It's grown very near the areas that produce the outstanding coffees of Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. The climate, soil, elevation and terrain are all favorable. But the coffee has been a disappointment.

Now, I don't know about you, but I really appreciate that kind of honesty from a merchant. It makes me feel like I can really trust them when they tell me that a particular offering is spectacular. It gets even better, though. The merchant -- who exclusively sells green beans for home roasting and home coffee roasting equipment -- goes on to share his impressions of the coffee and recommendations for roasting it: you probably won't like it as a single origin, he says, especially if you drink your coffee black. It's not bad with cream and sugar, and even better with syrups. And if you blend, it makes a nice filler for sweet, full-bodied coffees as long as you keep it to less than 50% of the blend.

Here's the thing. The site is offering this coffee at below cost -- $2.65/lb -- not, the owner explains, to get rid of it but because he thinks it will make an interesting benchmark for the region -- Democratic Republic of the Congo, for those keeping score at home. He believes that the region has the potential to produce high quality coffee, but isn't there yet for a variety of reasons, many of them political. And he's intending to try again in a few years to see how it's developed. He also says he'd love impressions of the coffee from those who buy it. He goes on to note:

For a lot of reasons the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) does not have a reputation for producing stellar specialty grade Arabica coffee. The entire history of this country is pretty bleak. With "Presidents" like Mobutu and Kabila (Laurent and Joseph) the corruption and political instability made it impossible for high quality coffee to be produced. Incursions by rebel groups from Rwanda and Uganda don't help. The coffee farmers have seemingly ended up with no incentive, no money, and no hope. Despite the troubles, the DRC does have the potential to produce high qualiity specialty grade coffee. When you consider that Lake Kivu is near the borders of Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda--all of which produce very fine coffee--you know the terrain and climate are present. Still you need an infrastructure that supports the coffee industry and an knowledgeable and able farmer.

I'm a coffee politics wonk. This kind of stuff is irresistible to me. When I get paid this afternoon, I'll be ordering a couple of pounds to play with, and I'll be sure to post about the results when I roast them up. If you roast your own and are interested in giving this coffee a try, leave me a comment or drop me a PM here and I'll share the link to the site where you can order it. At that price, I figure it's more than worth it to give it a try and check back in a few years to see what's happened.

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Comments

That is an interesting coffee. Also, their is a lot of trust we must put into the green coffee vendors when we buy green bean and it really helps to have one that is honest and knowledgeable about coffee.

Submitted by GmanJenks on
I think the most interesting is the importers commitment to trying the area again in the future. It is this type of interest and commitment that is needed to spur investment in the infrastructure that is needed for successful coffee production.

Submitted by Chamie on
I agree. I'm picky about where I buy my green beans and tend to favor importers who provide a lot of information about their choices -- especially those who make recommendations about roast levels. Sweet Maria's and Dean's Beans are favorites and it looks like this importer is probably going into my short list of suppliers.

Submitted by Chamie on
I think you're right -- and it's one of the reasons I'm buying.<a href="http://www.sweetmarias.com/coffee.africa.congo.php"> Sweet Maria's</a> carries a Congo coffee rarely -- their last review is from 2006, and it notes that it had been 7 years since the last time they'd had a good coffee from the Congo.

I appreciate the honesty, one of my local roasters is pretty honest with some of his coffees. The problem is you have to ask! Not a big fan of the if you go into the shop and its a new SO and the owner isnt in you could be taking a chance!

Submitted by EricBNC on
<br>The Captain is in the next town over from me and is considered a decent vendor in the area. That said, I would not burn the gas to go pick up a couple pounds of bad coffee. Their Yemen Moka Sani on the other hand...

Submitted by jbviau on
That *does* sound like a vendor worth supporting. Since you mentioned Sweet Maria's, I should add that they (SM) are very frank in their reviews of coffee and gear, too; good stuff.

Submitted by Chamie on
Why am I not surprised that you know who it is? At the price he's offering it for, even when you add in the shipping it's cheap enough that I don't mind the experiment. His actual notes make the coffee sound interesting, but then, I've always been a sucker for an underdog.

Submitted by Chamie on
SM's was my intro to home coffee roasting and they've always impressed me with the depth of their reviews and their service.

Calling Home Roasters

| by

FreeWine / Stock Photos

If the photo looks familiar to you, you've probably fired up your popcorn air popper to roast some heavenly beans at home. I ran into a little something online this morning that may be of interest to folks who roast their own at home and aren't afraid to experiment a little.

I was kicking around looking for a description of the typical flavor profile of a particular coffee when I ran into this:

Not everything I do turns out like I hope it will. The purchase of this coffee is one of them. Normally we have some intensive cupping sessions (our Spring and Fall Cupping Retreats are where we do the bulk of this) and make our selection decisions then. Occasionally we'll buy coffee based on the recommendation of select importers whose opinions we have come to respect and trust. Rarely, although it does happen, I'll get a wild hair and buy some coffee for no other reason than because I want to. As in this case. We've never had a coffee from the DRC to offer before. It's grown very near the areas that produce the outstanding coffees of Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania. The climate, soil, elevation and terrain are all favorable. But the coffee has been a disappointment.

Now, I don't know about you, but I really appreciate that kind of honesty from a merchant. It makes me feel like I can really trust them when they tell me that a particular offering is spectacular. It gets even better, though. The merchant -- who exclusively sells green beans for home roasting and home coffee roasting equipment -- goes on to share his impressions of the coffee and recommendations for roasting it: you probably won't like it as a single origin, he says, especially if you drink your coffee black. It's not bad with cream and sugar, and even better with syrups. And if you blend, it makes a nice filler for sweet, full-bodied coffees as long as you keep it to less than 50% of the blend.

Here's the thing. The site is offering this coffee at below cost -- $2.65/lb -- not, the owner explains, to get rid of it but because he thinks it will make an interesting benchmark for the region -- Democratic Republic of the Congo, for those keeping score at home. He believes that the region has the potential to produce high quality coffee, but isn't there yet for a variety of reasons, many of them political. And he's intending to try again in a few years to see how it's developed. He also says he'd love impressions of the coffee from those who buy it. He goes on to note:

For a lot of reasons the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) does not have a reputation for producing stellar specialty grade Arabica coffee. The entire history of this country is pretty bleak. With "Presidents" like Mobutu and Kabila (Laurent and Joseph) the corruption and political instability made it impossible for high quality coffee to be produced. Incursions by rebel groups from Rwanda and Uganda don't help. The coffee farmers have seemingly ended up with no incentive, no money, and no hope. Despite the troubles, the DRC does have the potential to produce high qualiity specialty grade coffee. When you consider that Lake Kivu is near the borders of Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and Uganda--all of which produce very fine coffee--you know the terrain and climate are present. Still you need an infrastructure that supports the coffee industry and an knowledgeable and able farmer.

I'm a coffee politics wonk. This kind of stuff is irresistible to me. When I get paid this afternoon, I'll be ordering a couple of pounds to play with, and I'll be sure to post about the results when I roast them up. If you roast your own and are interested in giving this coffee a try, leave me a comment or drop me a PM here and I'll share the link to the site where you can order it. At that price, I figure it's more than worth it to give it a try and check back in a few years to see what's happened.

Category: BLOG

At that price point it might

April 2, 2012 | by hoonchul@hotmail.com

At that price point it might be worth it to experiment with those beans, let us know how you like them!

@jbviau

March 30, 2012 | by Chamie

SM's was my intro to home coffee roasting and they've always impressed me with the depth of their reviews and their service.

@ericBNC

March 30, 2012 | by Chamie

Why am I not surprised that you know who it is? At the price he's offering it for, even when you add in the shipping it's cheap enough that I don't mind the experiment. His actual notes make the coffee sound interesting, but then, I've always been a sucker for an underdog.

Agreed

March 30, 2012 | by jbviau

That *does* sound like a vendor worth supporting. Since you mentioned Sweet Maria's, I should add that they (SM) are very frank in their reviews of coffee and gear, too; good stuff.

Good folks in K-ville

March 30, 2012 | by EricBNC


The Captain is in the next town over from me and is considered a decent vendor in the area. That said, I would not burn the gas to go pick up a couple pounds of bad coffee. Their Yemen Moka Sani on the other hand...

I appreciate the honesty,

March 30, 2012 | by intrepid510

I appreciate the honesty, one of my local roasters is pretty honest with some of his coffees. The problem is you have to ask! Not a big fan of the if you go into the shop and its a new SO and the owner isnt in you could be taking a chance!

@gmanjenks

March 30, 2012 | by Chamie

I think you're right -- and it's one of the reasons I'm buying. Sweet Maria's carries a Congo coffee rarely -- their last review is from 2006, and it notes that it had been 7 years since the last time they'd had a good coffee from the Congo.

@son ton

March 30, 2012 | by Chamie

I agree. I'm picky about where I buy my green beans and tend to favor importers who provide a lot of information about their choices -- especially those who make recommendations about roast levels. Sweet Maria's and Dean's Beans are favorites and it looks like this importer is probably going into my short list of suppliers.

I think the most interesting

March 30, 2012 | by GmanJenks

I think the most interesting is the importers commitment to trying the area again in the future. It is this type of interest and commitment that is needed to spur investment in the infrastructure that is needed for successful coffee production.

interesting!

March 30, 2012 | by sontondaman

That is an interesting coffee. Also, their is a lot of trust we must put into the green coffee vendors when we buy green bean and it really helps to have one that is honest and knowledgeable about coffee.

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