Sweet Maria's Weblog

Yemen Coffee Bonanza (and Tea! and Indonesians ...)

Yemen Coffee Bonanza! It's a first; we currently have 4 distinct Yemeni coffee selections at Sweet Maria's, and one tea. Yes, tea ... coffee tea ... made from the dried skins of the coffee fruit! It's called Yemen Qishr Tea and is a very unique experience. These Yemeni coffee lots are clean and balanced compared to selections from the past, and at least 2 (Ismaili and Sharasi) result in some of the best Single Origin Espresso I have had this year! Yemen Mokha Ismaili is spicy, lush, velvety, and a bit more earthy than the others. It's the best Ismaili in 2 years. Yemen Mokha Mattari has winey fruit and chocolate, my favorite brewed cup. Yemen Mokha Sharasi is a lot I found in Yemen last November, delicate, fruited, refined, and an incredible SO espresso. We have other arrivals too: Indonesia Flores "Jade" is unlike the previous offers from this tiny island, rustic, intense, more Sumatra-like. Speaking of Sumatra, we have a great Sumatra Organic Mandheling that cups better than the numbers indicate. Read the review. And here's robusta you can drink as a French Press brew! (Although we still recommend it chiefly for espresso blend use: India Robusta- Jeelan Estate Sitara.  Yemeni Qishr Keshir Quishir ....

Guatemala Antigua Finca Retana Yellow Bourbon

All of our coffees have their merits but this particular Antigua is a truly special lot. Tom, Derek, and I cupped it this morning and were blown away by the sweetness and fruited qualities in our sample roasts. The lightest test roast was amazingly lively but one notch higher the flavors were more balanced and seemed about perfect, this was a City to City+ roast level. We targeted this on the Probat and ended up going only to 425 degrees with the roasts finishing around the 16 minute mark. First crack came on at 401 and continued up until 411 degrees.  As Tom mentions in the review, the care taken in processing this coffee really shows in the way the bean holds its structure with a beautiful crease and very little swelling. We hope you will appreciate the emphasis on the origin flavor characteristics with nary a hint of roast flavor to cloud this fantastic Central American coffee. Can you tell how much we like it here?

Peru FTO Cuzco - Ccochapampa Coop

Sorry I'm a few days late with the post but we've had a busy week since we added so many new coffees over the weekend. This coffee is a very mild one and we went for a light City roast to draw out the origin character. This meant going only to 432 degrees on the Probat with a final roast time of 18 minutes. I did do slightly larger batches than normal which accounts for the longer roast time. We have enjoyed the results for the past two days here in the warehouse, and noticed more spice notes today after 48 hours of resting. The cup is pleasant, balanced and has the waxy body Tom mentions in the review.

some compelling new arrivals

We have some arrivals that should interest folks greatly. First off, great Harar is back! Fruited, spicy, rustic, complex. I think it's a general "up" year for Harar but this particular lot blows the rest away: Ethiopia Harar Horse DP - Lot 17406. Perhaps one of the most spendy coffees of the year is this Bolivia Cup of Excellence - San Ignacio. It's only fair to call it a "Nano-Lot", truly sub-Micro, and we have to limit it to 1 Lb. per person. (At this price it might be wise, but it is certainly worth it! ) And oddly enough, we have only a small amount of Costa Rica Dota Conquistador to offer, hence the 2 Lb. limit. But it's a nice cup this year. Colombia Antioquia - Jardin Cerulean Warbler has one of the oddest names, but read the review and you'll see that it is both a great, delicate cup, and part of an interesting conservation project. And probably least exciting to the majority of you all, Colombia MC Decaf - Huila Tolima. But it has a very bright fruited cup, an exemplary decaf

What the .... Starbucks buys Clover?!

As someone who is on the fence about the Clover (love the idea, like the people, have some reservations about the cup) ... I am shocked. A lot of respectable people have been cheerleaders for the Clover , and I imagine they feel really burned. But think of all those small places that coughed up $11k per machine (or a bit more). What's it worth to them now if Starbucks will have one just across the street. Clover was part of a quality initiative to elevate the level of brewed coffee, to give the independent a better chance against the chains. Of course, it's a very savvy move by Starbucks, something called "recuperation" in culture studies. But it's a sad day for specialty coffee (it that term still means anything). Now what the hell is the Mastrena? Just another robot espresso machine ... Tom