California Coffee Roaster’s Guatemala Antigua

I have yet to have a brew made from any of California Coffee Roaster‘s beans that I didn’t love, and this is no exception.
Sharp and bold, it rides high on the palate, dancing a tangy tango across your tongue. It has that Antigua smokiness that I love, with a touch of spiciness. It’s muy bueno.
Like other Guatemala Antiguas I’ve reviewed here, this is a perfect afternoon coffee. Bright, lively, and flavorful, it picks up your PM hours and carries you along until dinnertime.
But for those with tender tummies, be warned: this coffee features a challenging acidity that might set things ablaze, if you are prone to that sort of thing. Even I and my cast iron stomach are feeling it a bit, so I wouldn’t drink more than one. After this I’m switching to tea, and then later … beer.

Sweet Maria’s Cameroon Caplami Java

image This is going to be hard.  I drank my entire mug of coffee already.  Before I actually do the review I’m going to have to go make another.

You’ll be seeing a lot of Sweet Maria coffees reviewed here because I have a big selection of them, all green beans, and as it turns out my popcorn popper / coffee roaster does a wonderful job roasting them to exactly the darkness I like:  deep rich brown with a gleam of oil, but not black.

If you have never tried coffee that has been roasted within a few days of you drinking it, my friends … you have never had coffee.

I’m serious.  I am spoiled.  And you know, I can see a future where you can buy green beans anywhere, and everyone has a home roaster.  It makes sense, because green beans are less expensive, keep a long time without going stale, are easier than you’d think to roast, and taste 5000% better than something that’s been sitting on a store’s shelf for months or years.

Okay.  End of sermon, beginning of review.  I have a freshly brewed mug of this Cameroon Caplami Java in my hand.  The beans were roasted yesterday afternoon.

There’s nothing outstanding or special about the smell.  It smells like fresh coffee, which is good.  But there is no hint to the surprise that awaits.

At first sip, this coffee is light and tangy, the taste crisp and crystalline.  Then unexpectedly the flavor blooms like the swelling music of an orchestra — strings, wind instruments, brass, drums, all exploding into an intense and dramatic aria that makes you tingle and your head swim from pure joy.  Then the flavor fades down in a comfortable warm hug, with nutty tones and a lingering tartness that feels cozy and relaxed.

I could drink this all day long.

If the Queen of England were visiting my house I’d proudly brew her a cup of it.

It’s that good.

Black Mountain Gold’s French Roast

image A good flavor, but alas, also stale.

Let’s ignore the staleness for a moment, though.  It’s pre-ground coffee.  Staleness is the rule, not an exception.

It’s smooth and mild for a French Roast.  Smooth, well-balanced acidity, with a dark velvety texture and a touch of chocolate undertones.

Putting it in perspective, this is a really good coffee for it being pre-ground.

If this is what Black Mountain Gold Coffee tastes like stale, I would love to try it when it’s actually fresh.  Sadly, in combing through their website, I can’t find anywhere that you can order the beans unground.

And, their big thing seems to be flavored coffee.


Home Roasting Experiment: The Beginning

image Someone I met at work told me he roasts coffee beans at home in an old air popcorn popper.  I thought that was extremely interesting, and so looked it up online.

Sure enough, it seems there’s a whole lot of people doing it.  So many, in fact, that it’s driven up the price of a used original West Bend Poppery to $50 or more.  I shared this news to someone close to me, and for Christmas I received a shipment of assorted green coffee beans.

So now I have to get myself a air popper.  No problem, I thought, and went to Walmart and bought one.  But it turned out to be the wrong type, and so back it went.

If you can see a screen in the middle of the bottom of the popper, it’s the wrong type.  If you see a series of vents along the edge of the bottom, it’s the right type.

It’s not easy to find the right type.

I actually started making a little movie of my quest for a air popper to use for roasting coffee beans.  Last night I finally won one on eBay.  I filmed that too.  I also plan on filming me getting it in the mail and setting it up and trying to roast coffee in it.

When it’s done, I’ll post it on YouTube and put a link to it here.