Sweet Maria's Weblog

Yellow Bourbon - Indonesia Flores

El Salvador Yellow Bourbon We ran out of the Orange Bourbon, but the sister lot El Salvador Yellow Bourbon Cultivar is now here. Bourbon coffee is a classic cultivar, named for the island of Bourbon (now called Reunion) where it was originally cultivated. When we call it classic, we mean not just the fact that it is a lower-yield, heirloom plant, and that it has a very dense seed that roasts well, but also the cup character. Bourbon (pronounced Bore-Bone), especially those from El Salvador, are neo-typical Central American coffees. They are bright, aromatic, balanced, semisweet or bittersweet, chocolatey and have a creamy mouthfeel. Most of this cultivar have fruit that ripen to a red color, hence Red Bourbon, Orange Bourbon (rare), and then there is Yellow Bourbon too. Yellow Bourbon tends to be more fragile on the tree and in harvest, so in many areas (with Brazil as an exception) you do not see much Yellow Bourbon. We have special Yellow Bourbon from Guatemala (Finca Retana in Antigua) and then there is this lot of El Salvador. It is from a farm I visited last year called El Molino de Santa Rita. The cup has a toasty sweetness in the fragrance, and the wet aroma has clean fruited notes, with a touch of lemon in the lighter roasts. The cup flavors are bright and crisp at City to City+, and have honeydew melon hints at Full City roast. I like the complexity that emerges at FC roast where bittersweet notes mingle with refined, sweet fruit, and extend well into the aftertaste. Toasty sweetness is present from the start to finish in the aromatics and cup here. It has a great balance overall, making it a quintessential classic Central American flavor profile. We also have new crop Indonsesia Flores - Bajawa Highlands, which is an interesting full-bodied cup much like our new lot of Bali arabica. Flores is a small island (360 km from tip to tip) in the Indonesian archipelago around 200 nautical miles East of Bali. Flores was known as Pulau Nipa (Snake Island) before the Portuguese arrived and they renamed it Flores (Flower Island). A very long thin Mountainous land with incredibly diverse terrain, and numerous active and inactive volcanic peaks. The Bajawa Highlands are one of the most traditional areas of Flores. Bajawa is a small town nestled in the hills and is the centre for the Ngada people of this high, fertile plateau. The coffee is grown between 1150 and 1400 meters, which is actually quite respectable altitude for Indonesian...

Kenya-Kona-Kosta

We have another late harvest Main Crop Auction Lot Kenya arrival, a bright, dynamic, fruited, slightly winey offering: Kenya AA Nyeri -Gachatha Coop. We also have an early Kona that despite being a mill-mark coffee (not a specific farm), is an outstanding cup: Hawaii Kona Greenwell Extra Fancy. And if our huge selection of Costa Rica micro-lots wasn't already daunting enough, we have another addition. Costa Rica Dota Peaberry Special is a lot I hand-selected earlier in the season, and was milled just for us. It's a bit winey, with good depth and chocolate tones.

New Panama Lots & Extra Nice Brazil

It's late to be receiving Central America coffees, but we had some lots of Panama squirreled away for later in the season, and they are some really nice coffees. Panama Organic La Berlina Estate is 100% old-growth Typica cultivar, and has solid balance and good body, whereas Panama Boquete Organic Los Lajones is a bright cup, like Lerida, with lemon accents. We also have a new crop, top quality Brazil from a Cerrado micro-region, that makes great brewed or extracted (espresso) coffee: Brazil Coromandel -Fazenda Sao Joao. In fact, I made one of the most stunning, floral, vibrant SO espressos from this Coromandel lot, roasted to Full City. And for you who need to detoxify a bit, Indonesia Organic SWP Komodo Blend is back in stock.

The Coffee Haj: A first trip to Yemen

Yemen Saihi ValleyIt took a week to sort through all these 900 pictures, but my little travelogue for Yemen is ready more or less, just 350 photos or so. You can view it here at Sweet Maria's, or on our new beta site Image Gallery. It's one of the most intriguing coffee origins I have visited.  We  went to get the lay of the land, and get some sense of the very complex network of traders, collectors and importers within the country. I went with Duane from Stumptown (Portland/Seattle), and we bounced along the incredibly steep, rocky terrain for a week, breathed a lot of second hand cigarette smoke, chewed a lot of qat (see the travelogue to find out about qat), sat on the floors of the locals, a slept there once too. Hopefully this will mean some interesting Yemeni offerings for both our companies in March or so, when main crop Yemeni shipments start to arrive.

Cupping in Addis Ababa

Vegetable Market in Addis AbabaHere's a travelog of my trip to Ethiopia to cup at many exporters in Addis Ababa, and get ready for the new crop coffee. It was a brief time, but I learned a lot ... and the market in Addis is great! (The woman in the image insisted I take a picture of her beautiful vegetables!) You can also check out these images on our Image Gallery test site.