Today is my birthday

So yesterday I roasted some of the Red Sea blend (a mix of Yemen & Ethiopian beans) and the last of my Brazil Moreninha Formosa for the usual clan party tonight. My bros and sisses and nephews and nieces are now coffee drinkers, spoiled by my freshly roasted beans.

Birthday coffees

Birthday coffees

So my stash is fast depleting. My birthday gift to myself — I ordered 5 lbs of Yemen beans from the Hufashi mountain range south of Sana’a, the capital, and 10 lbs of natural Yirgacheffe coffee from Ethiopia. From the usual suspects at GCBC.

Green beans sorting experiment

Yours truly torturing himself sorting out defect beans

Yours truly torturing himself sorting out defect beans

So I did try the beans from Mt. Matutum. I’d say it has potential, but I can actually taste the defects in the cup.  Maybe,  just maybe, if the defects are removed, this bean will taste better.

There’s only one way to find out — remove the defects myself, and roast the clean beans. So that’s how I tortured myself this morning. To be able to isolate 16 volume ounces of defect-free beans, took me maybe 30 minutes. Uh-oh! Not a job for me.
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Beans from Mt. Matutum

Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato, near Dole's pineapple plantations.

Mt. Matutum in South Cotabato, near Dole's pineapple plantations.

I got another package today! Green coffee beans from Mt. Matutum, a kilo worth of sampler beans that I got from Fred, of Greentropics Coffee from General Santos City. Mt. Matutum is such a beautiful mountain, conically shaped similar to but not as perfect as Mt. Mayon in Albay. It has a peak elevation of about 7,500 feet, high enough to grow the sought-after arabica coffee beans.

You see, I’ve been testing local beans once again, hoping that I can hit gold for a bargain. In terms of shipping, that is, coz if you know where to find, you can get specialty grade green beans from the world’s best coffee growing regions (like Brazil, Yemen, Ethiopia and Guatemala) at $2 – $3 a pound, whereas I pay P200 to P300 ($4 – $6) a kilo (or $1.82 – $2.73 a pound) locally. Most retail online ships sell specialty beans at $5 to $8, though, but distros at GCBC sell much cheaper.

I’ve tried Matutum beans of a previous harvest. Unfortunately, I didn’t like it. Fred also sold me a kilo of civet cat coffee way back. While I didn’t like it, friends did! But poop isn’t for me. Read more

Buying coffee cups the hi-tech way

First cup-and-saucer set.

First cup-and-saucer set.

Pardon if I’m new to this thing, but I’m just one of those people who don’t get attracted to feature-rich cellphones with built-in fax machines and printers and MP3 players and videocams and screw drivers and toothpicks and multimedia projectors and surround sound.

Okay, that may be an exaggeration. But I usually have the simplest of cellphones. As long as I can call with it, send text messages, then I’m fine. I can live without infrared, bluetooth, camera, video, etc. etc. The latest, hi-tech cellphones we get free from Smart when we renew our plans automatically go to the kids. My immediate previous cellphone was, in fact, the Motorola W156, bought brand new May last year at a whopping cost of P1,500!!! It can call and it can text and has a calendar so I can input appointments, and a host of other features I don’t need. No IR, no bluetooth, no camera nor video, just a b&w screen. But it is so durable that every time friends gather and show off their latest cellphones, I simply bring out mine, and tell them, “Can your phone do this?” Then I toss it up into the air, fall into the concrete pavement, then I pick it up, and show them, how durable my cellphone is. I do that all the time. And every time I do that, they would bring their cellphones to their chest, like embracing their hi-tech gadgets as if to protect them from harm, and scream, “Oh no! My cellphone won’t survive that!”
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Exploring more local coffees

Catimor beans (left) and civet cat coffee (right) from Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

Catimor beans (left) and civet cat coffee (right) from Bansalan, Davao del Sur.

These past days I’ve been exploring local coffee beans some more. I’ve almost given up on the local beans, and it’s a shame coz we’re in a tropical country with lots of high mountains and a climate conducive to coffee growing.

As I’ve said, I almost exclusively get my local beans from Serenity Coffee aka Arengga, after a frustrating year of searching for a green coffee supplier. Serenity’s beans are still not at par with the specialty grade beans you get to buy online from shops like Sweet Maria’s and the distributors at GCBC. But if you lower your standards a bit, for the sake of economy on my part, their coffee could be drinkable.

One day Benson of Cebu, about the only one leaving comments (and maybe the only reader, too? Hehe …) in this blog, said that he has tried roasting coffee from Davao del Sur. In the cup, he said he was so disappointed because it tasted like camote! Uh-oh … Told him I had once dropped by Bansalan in Davao del Sur, and I saw lots and lots of green coffee beans, and bought samples that I didn’t like, too.

Then came Louie from Bansalan, a coffee grower somewhere at the foot of Mount Apo in Davao del Sur. Apparently offended by Benson’s comments, he volunteered to send in some samples of his coffees. I insisted on paying, but he won’t let me. As long as I say my honest opinion about my coffee, he said, he’d let me try my coffee.
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