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Sweet Maria's Moka Kadir

TexLaw

Contributor
Does anyone have experience roasting the Moka Kadir blend for espresso? I heard some good things about it, so I got a couple pounds to play with. My first roast was something of a shot in the dark, but it came out reasonably well. This is some good stuff, and I can see it becoming our house standard.

I'm about to roast the second batch, probably trying to slow it down a bit through the drying phase and maybe letting it go a little longer (I dropped it a few degrees or so early, just due to a slip). Right now, I'm targeting just the beginning of second crack.

I'd appreciate some tips, guidance, experience, etc., for going forward. What do y'all know about this stuff?
 
I'm roasting and brewing Maka Kadir blend right now. I really like it. I roast one lb green in a gas roaster to the beginning of second crack, about 445 degrees, with a total roast time of about 12 minutes. Fantastic coffee. I brew strictly with an espresso machine (spring lever). Hope you enjoy it!
 

TexLaw

Contributor
I just wanted to report on how things are going with this blend. I've roasted roughly 3 pounds of the 5 I ordered, and I'll most certainly order more. This blend is just what the TL house looks for in espresso, so there's little doubt that it will be the house standard. We'll continue to play around with other blends and single origin coffees as a change of pace, but Moka Kadir likely will be in the mix for the foreseeable future.

It's also been an interesting and enjoyable challenge to roast, since the beans vary a good deal in size and density. The advice on Sweet Maria's website is to ramp it up slowly, and the advice I got from them when I asked for more advice was "it's worth noting that the Yemen beans within the blend are pretty dense so you don't want to go too slow or too light on the heat. That's about all that is important to know with this blend." I'm sure that's great advice to someone who's been roasting professionally for ages, but it doesn't do a whole heck of a lot for someone like me, who's still fairly moist behind the ears. I don't mean to complain, though, as that sort of vague advice is pretty much par for the course across the roasting community. A lot depends on your particular roaster, conditions, and preferences--I get that.

So, after six 250-gram roasts, I think we're getting pretty close to what we like around here. With the varying size and density, it seems like a good amount of air leads to better results. With the Hottop, I usually start with 10% fan right off the bat and get it up to 50% about 3 minutes in, 60% at the end of the drying phase, 80% as I approach first crack, and peg it at 100% from the first pop of first crack through the end of the roast. For heat, I've been pre-heating at 100%, dropping to 80% at charge (charging at 330F), dropping to 70% at about the 2:30 or 3:00 mark. The roast seems to move along well through the drying and maillard phases without change, although I may drop the heat to 65% if the BT curve looks to be getting ahead of what we seem to like, but I still aim to get ET to 400F by the end of first crack (I've read that some good things can lead to some good things during the development phase). Typically, I will drop the heat to 60% once first crack is rolling and then to 40% once ET gets to 400F. I drop at the first sign of second crack. The roast

I do see some of this changing, as I have been getting some predictable flicks, so I will see what I can do to smooth those out to some extent without oversteering the boat. I'm also a little concerned about backing heat off too much or too early because of those Yemeni beans. Ah, I can't too concerned, though. If I blow a batch, I'll learn from it.

Does anyone have any other experiences, tips, or thoughts?
 
Have you ever roasted the SMs single origin Yemen. Its fantastic. If you tried to roast a few pounds of it then you might understand their advice better. It needs to rest 5 days before brewing.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
@Leverspro, I haven't, but I will see if I can order a couple pounds or so when I order more of the Moka Kadir. I already was thinking about roasting the components of the blend in order to get more insight. The Yemeni sounds like a great start.

Thanks for the advice!
 

TexLaw

Contributor
Have you ever roasted the SMs single origin Yemen. Its fantastic. If you tried to roast a few pounds of it then you might understand their advice better. It needs to rest 5 days before brewing.
I picked up some of the Yemeni SO with my last order, and that probably will be my next roast. I started reaching for it this morning but ended up roasting more of the Moka Kadir.

Do you have any advice about roasting the Yemen? With the dense and dry processed bean, I was going to start with a profile along the lines of the Ethiopian natural process beans I've roasted in the past.
 
I brew for espresso exclusively and take it into second crack by about 15 seconds and about 440 degrees with the probe that Is in the beans. For sure let it rest a few days. It's amazing that coffee is coming out of that country with all that is going on there.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
It's amazing that coffee is coming out of that country with all that is going on there.
No doubt about that, although the price reflects that. It's the Mokha Matari that I have on hand. The Mokha Harasi has come available since I placed that last order, and I'm thinking about springing for some of that so that I can compare them.

I also just might want to enjoy Yemeni coffee while it lasts. I fear that Yemeni coffee may go the way of Syrian Latakia tobacco before we know it.

Thank you for the advice.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
I brew for espresso exclusively and take it into second crack by about 15 seconds and about 440 degrees with the probe that Is in the beans.
Based on this advice, I've been playing with taking the roast a little further. A couple of roasts ago, a took it well into second crack, and that was too much for me. It wasn't bad, but it lost too much of the dried dark fruit and sweetness, and it started picking up some true burnt character. Not my cup of tea.

It looks like my sweet spot is dropping it after the first few snaps of second crack and such that I still get a small handful of snaps as it's dropping to the cooling tray. There's still significant dried fruit and loads of dark chocolate with enough sweetness to balance out nicely. As one might expect, the body and crema are more substantial.

In fact, my last roast is my favorite. My charge temp is rather low (325F), and I only take the heater back up to 80% (on the Hottop) after charging. I've found an extended roast brings out the best in this blend. I bring the air up rather quickly during the early drying phase and I'm at 80% fan speed around 2/3 into the drying phase.

I drop the heater slightly near the end of the drying phase to try to extend the ramp, but then I bring it back up to 80 a couple minutes before anticipated first crack (which usually is around 11:15, give or take). Otherwise, first crack takes a very, very long time. I start drastically cutting the heat once first crack really gets rolling, and I all but cut it off altogether once FC is done. I'm still going to play dropping the heat earlier, though, as I bet I can squeeze in just a little more development.

Anyhow, it's been fun working with this blend. I'm about ready to start roasting something else, but this last one was so dadgum good. It's like hitting a good golf swing--addictive. Still, I have all that single origin Yemeni in the freezer, and I'm dying to see how that goes.
 
Tex-

I've been buying beans from Sweet Marias for years, and really like Moka Kadir too, even as a drip coffee. I don't have a Hottop, but do have a Behmoor. It has some control, but nowhere what the Hottop does.

Your last comment did catch me out a bit.. "Still, I have all that single origin Yemeni in the freezer " In the freezer? I've always thought it best to keep at room temp, in a dark, stable temp environment, but that the freezer was a real no, no. Maybe not, or????
 
Based on this advice, I've been playing with taking the roast a little further. A couple of roasts ago, a took it well into second crack, and that was too much for me. It wasn't bad, but it lost too much of the dried dark fruit and sweetness, and it started picking up some true burnt character. Not my cup of tea.

It looks like my sweet spot is dropping it after the first few snaps of second crack and such that I still get a small handful of snaps as it's dropping to the cooling tray. There's still significant dried fruit and loads of dark chocolate with enough sweetness to balance out nicely. As one might expect, the body and crema are more substantial.

In fact, my last roast is my favorite. My charge temp is rather low (325F), and I only take the heater back up to 80% (on the Hottop) after charging. I've found an extended roast brings out the best in this blend. I bring the air up rather quickly during the early drying phase and I'm at 80% fan speed around 2/3 into the drying phase.

I drop the heater slightly near the end of the drying phase to try to extend the ramp, but then I bring it back up to 80 a couple minutes before anticipated first crack (which usually is around 11:15, give or take). Otherwise, first crack takes a very, very long time. I start drastically cutting the heat once first crack really gets rolling, and I all but cut it off altogether once FC is done. I'm still going to play dropping the heat earlier, though, as I bet I can squeeze in just a little more development.

Anyhow, it's been fun working with this blend. I'm about ready to start roasting something else, but this last one was so dadgum good. It's like hitting a good golf swing--addictive. Still, I have all that single origin Yemeni in the freezer, and I'm dying to see how that goes.
Very nice!
 

TexLaw

Contributor
I finally used up my Moka Kadir. In fact, I had to add in 100 g of La Minita to make a 250 g batch. That came out pretty good, but (about halfway through said batch), I already miss that Moka Kadir. I hope to return to it, but I have a bunch of other stuff to roast and enjoy.
 

TexLaw

Contributor
I keep coming back for more but...
You still roasting?
Oh, certainly. I've done a handful of batches of the a Moka Mutovu. It's a very good blend, but it doesn't quite have the smooth cocoa of the Moka Kadir, and it lacks some mouthfeel that the robust gives.

I just did my first batch of SM's Polar Expresso and am waiting to try it. I almost hope I don't like it too much, since it was only a seasonal blend and no longer is available!
 
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