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March 2010 roast comparison and tasting bean swap.
John Despres
Okay, we're off!

Marshall Hance (endlesscycles) has 60lbs of Ethiopia Organic Guji Sidamo Maduro on hand and is willing to make some of it available us to get this off and running.

If you'd like to participate in this, the first (hopefully monthly) comparison swap, please post to this thread and let us know.

We have options -

1) We can all roast to a certain degree of roast best befitting the bean and trade with our partner.

2) We can roast to our favored degree of roast for thie chosen bean.

3) We do both.

As to tasting -

1) We can simply brew the received coffee in our favorite brewer and comment on the beans that way.

2) We can literally cup the coffee the way professionals do.

3) We do both.

How much do we buy and then send to one another?

1) Enough to roast a pot? For me, that's 90 grams.

2) Enough to just cup the coffee.

3) Do both by swapping a half pound.

Regardless, I suggest you keep enough of the swapped coffee in order to taste it again after your partner has sent comments.

I also suggest you trade phone numbers with your partner. I have had the best phone conversations with many of you here and and I look forward to more.

Now, should we have a standard cupping form? There's a pretty good one I can post for discussion.

I can also post a copy of the coffee tasting wheel for flavor references. - Done. It's in the download section.

This whole idea is new and will develop and grow over the next few months.

Thoughts? Ideas?

Edited by John Despres on 02/22/2010 7:45 PM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
All right, Super Admin John!

As to tasting, I vote for 3. doing both. I think this will give the best subjective impression of the coffee.

As for batch sizes and roast level, I would probably prefer to roast "to each their own" and swap a half pound, but that might depend on what people are roasting with.
Brother John:

Iím so glad weíre getting this off the ground.

My objective here is to sample other home brews and get some honest, helpful feedback so that I can learn and improve my roasting skills. This is a great way to get there!

As to roasting, I would prefer to roast the coffee as best I can. Most of the time, I shoot for a roast which I call a FC in which I'm at the cusp of C2. Iím still fairly new at this and this seems to work best for most beans.

My preference, therefore, would be #2 - to roast to the degree that, IMO, brings out the best in the bean.

As to tasting, my preference is #1 - to brew in my favorite brewer. Iím a bit intimidated by the idea of formal cupping (since Iíve never done it) and I donít trust my ability/skill in doing this in a way that would be helpful.

As far as batch size, Iíd suggest a half pound. This is plenty to sample by 2 or 3 brew methods so that you could really know the coffee.
Edited by Marshall_S on 02/22/2010 9:01 PM
Marshall Schmidt
Foxboro, MA
I am new to roasting. I just bought a Nesco roaster in Jan 2010 & have been getting used to it. I would like the opportunity to exchange roasts with someone & get their impression of what I have roasted. I have not seen a cupping session so have only read about it. But I am willing to learn new things.
Let me know how to get the beans & who to send the roasted beans to.
Count me in!
count me in also!
This sounds like fun, and I'd definitely like to participate.

I was concerned about the cost and logistics of doing something like this, so I took a look at shipping rates listed on the USPS website.

Let's just say were swapping 1/2 pound to make this easy.
Calculating for "worst case scenario", say Pennsylvania to California, for prices/distance with Regular First Class Package rates (~3 days delivery time)

- $2.41 would get 1/2 pound of greens from 100 Main St. in L.A. CA. (wherever that is!) to my mailbox in PA.
- $1.73 would then get, lets say 4 ounces of the now roasted beans, to my swap partner. This leaves 2.5 to 3 ounces so you can try your own roast.
- $3.00 Pay-paled to the Man with the Big Burlap Bag. Should be plenty to cover the cost of the 1/2 # of greens at retail prices. Though probably more like $1.75 at bulk prices.
- $0.50 for misc. cost: packaging, ziplock bag, tape etc...

Total for each swapper:
$7.64. Not too bad.
For $10 we could probably do a whole pound. That would make it possible to swap 2 roast levels.

However, whomever distributes the coffee has the misfortune of weighing, packaging and mailing to each participant. Perhaps we could each throw in an extra dollar or two for their troubles.

Hope this rambling of mine is helpful.
I paid $4.60 / lb to receive in vacuum packed 15lb bags:

Ethiopia Organic Guji Sidamo Maduro
Processing: Dry Process
Varietal(s): Heirloom Varietals

This is a coffee from a remote area of Shakisso in the Guji
zone of the Sidamo district, quite far from where most Sidamo coffees originate. In fact, it is mostly known for the large gold mine in the area, and sadly the local tensions between mine workers and farmers becomes open conflict. Haile Gebre is the farmer who produces this Maduro lot in Yirg Alem. Maduro? This is a dry-process coffee where extra care has been directed toward harvesting only crimson-purple coffee cherries, a deeper red than the picking point for most coffee fruit. Maduro means mature in Spanish. Not sure how that name was adopted for an Ethiopia coffee, but that is the one Senor Gebre chose.

This coffee is a lesson about the effect of coffee cherry
ripeness. The dry fragrance offers an explosive, room-filling
scent of plum, melon and spice. The wet aromatic has
hibiscus-rose potpourri, spiced apple cider, cinnamon bark,
clove, and muscavado sugar. There is a deep-toned acidity as
a direct result of mature coffee cherry, with a winey character.
A dessert coffee for sure. Flame grape, plum (with a little
plum skins), melon-like ripeness, Syrah. Spiced chocolate
comes in the finish with clove, nutmeg, and cinnamon stick
accents, raw sugar panela, and butterscotch rum candy. The
body is juicy and rich, coating the mouth and leading to a long aftertaste.


$4.60 my cost
$5.00 flat rate box
$0.30 paypal's cut
$0.10 zip lock bag (and to round it out)

$23.00 my cost
$11.00 flat rate box
$1.00 paypals cut
$1.00 ziplock bags and heavy load charge
(Bicycle is my only transportation!)

Paypal to [email protected]

I'll ship on Friday, my next day off.
-Marshall Hance
Asheville, NC
John Despres
Cool, very cool, Marshall. Your description has me sold on 5 pounds for some test roasting and then swap roasting.


Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
Do we plan to use the same greens for several swaps/exchanges, or will we pick a different green each time?

I'm keen to participate, but also mindful of expenses these days.
John Despres
Maybe both, Bill. A first round, then another round with the same bean in order to react to comments?

Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
My interests definitely lie in exploring roast methods and flavor preferences of other HRO members. I think cupping is the easiest way to paint the most complete picture; though I can't refute the simple pleasure of just brewing a nice cup.

I think as far as roast end points go, they are well enough defined and if that opinion is not shared I'm certain letting each roast to their desired end points will give others plenty of opportunity to learn both what the end points are, and how much more to roasting there is than the final degree.

Shipping is definitely a major cost of this project. I personally don't feel a need for more than 10g to experience another roasters approach, but 20g might be better. Shipping a dozen tiny labeled zip-lock baggies might be cheaper in a padded mailer than the $5 flat rate box each way.

-Marshall Hance
Asheville, NC
I've got a half-baked notion-- If shipping costs is a major factor, can we come up with a scheme where we send a mix of greens and roasts in the same box, and pass the box around the group sequentially?

This would only work if we each had some extra greens that were of interest to folks 'down stream'.

The idea is-- you only pay for the amount of greens/roasts you remove from the box, or you replace with greens of equal interest, plus you add any of your roasts.

Probably means we're using the medium-sized flat-rate box, full of Marshall's greens initially.

Like I said, it is a half-baked notion...

Sort of a coffee/homeroast variation of this idea: http://www.tgimbo...
Edited by bvwelch on 02/23/2010 1:50 PM
An organized member might accept all submissions to then re-pack and re-ship. I believe 10-15g samples will allow the greatest sharing and learning experience for the lowest shipping cost.

I don't know how an envelope with loose beans will do in the mail; but at that weight we may each be responsible for redistribution and save money.

I use these to save and label cupping samples for every roast:

On the bag, I note dry time, time to first, and time to finish with final degree. I also note stall time and temp if applicable.
-Marshall Hance
Asheville, NC
Interesting idea, but does that help with shipping costs of the greens themselves?

I can't help but be curious about your bicycle. I thought everyone in Asheville rode Segways. :-)

I just use the online USPS click-n-ship and my mailbox in the front yard.

Thanks for doing this!
Edited by bvwelch on 02/23/2010 4:39 PM
Shipping greens:

1lb shipped is $5 minimum no matter what you do.
Only way to save is with quantity.

Redistribution of roasted:

A one ounce envelope is between $0.64, 2 ounces is $0.81.
With 16 participants, using a central re-distributor breaks even with individually reshipping.

I think each roaster shipping samples to the others makes the most sense. In doing so, we'll see what works and what doesn't for shipping them!

bvwelch: In addition to riding segways, everyone is Asheville is gay, worship pagan gods, and are massage therapists. Not actually true. It's a wildly diverse town lacking only jobs and people willing to work.
-Marshall Hance
Asheville, NC
I'm a player in this shindig. Look for money soon, Marshall...

Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover


endlesscycles wrote:
Shipping greens:
1lb shipped is $5 minimum no matter what you do.
Only way to save is with quantity.

Right. Would you consider a larger amount then? Not sure what is feasible for you, but perhaps 10 pounds would fit in the mid-size box? If you'd prefer to stay with 5 pounds max, that is quite understandable. I hope you don't mind my asking.

ps: my wife and I love visiting the Asheville area, no offense intended about the Segways. They are neat.
Edited by bvwelch on 02/24/2010 12:49 AM
Payment sent.

Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
John Despres
Mine's out to Marshall as well. Who else is playing, besides CHAD & I? C'mon, everyone! Join in.

Edited by John Despres on 02/26/2010 7:28 AM
Respect the bean.
John Despres
Fresh Roast 8, Gene Cafe, JYTT 1k, Quest M3, Mazzer Mini, Technivorm, various size presses and many more brewers.
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