Sweet Maria's Weblog

New Coffee: Excellent Colombias and a New Ethiopia

Colombia Finca La Esperanza - Brayan Joven is such a complete coffee, dynamic yet well balanced, top notes that seem to multiply as the cup cools. Characteristics range from Honey sweetness, to plum and cherry fruits, to a fruit-juice acidity - a real standout, suited for competition! We've begun to work with a new intermediary in Colombia, gaining us access to producer groups new to us. This first container is nearly all from one group in the Timaná region of Huila, and I have to say, quality is more than up to par, a few exceeding our expectations. 

Sweet Maria's Container Sampler - Colombia 10 x 1LB samples of each lot of coffee that was in this Timaná container. Not every coffee will be available on SM (we buy for Coffee Shrub too!), so this is truly the only way you will be able to try all of these coffees. There's only 150 available, and so we are limiting 1 per household.

Colombia Organic Tres Parques - Apia is a fruit forward Colombia, long sweetness, and brightening acidity.

Ethiopia Dry Process Gey Harar....

Roasted: Colombia Huila El Templo de Palestina & Guatemala Huehuetenango Cuilco

October 16, 2014

As the weather gets cooler and the daylight ends earlier, brings forth a good time to introduce coffees with chocolaty sweetness. These two subscription coffees give a nice example of that Fall time nostalgia. A big slice of pumpkin pie and a cup of either of these two coffees will bring an excellent match.   


Colombia Huila El Templo de Palestina City+

The dry grounds smell of juicy sweet cherries, and once brewed the aroma announces oatmeal cookie and spice. The finish has a semisweet cocoa mouthfeel and a clean apple-like acidity. 


Guatemala Huehuetenango Cuilco Full City

This cup is full of chocolate notes that range from milk to dark semisweet. The aftertaste is almondy, sweet and creamy. There is also a nice malic acidity in the finish that is well preserved in this Full City roast. 



Danny Goot





A Tale from the Land of the HandyBrew

October 13, 2014

We sold out of the HandyBrew many months ago. In the meantime, we have been in close communication with the manufacturer (the folks who also make the Clever Coffee Dripper) as they put a lot of effort into creating a new model. It's now back in stock with a new look and improvements that will make an even better HandyBrew brew.


We are celebrating this Friday with new coffees

October 10, 2014

Colombia Finca La Primavera - Gerardo Bravo is balanced by candied sweetness, malic to tartaric acidity, and black tea. Fruits pop up in the cooling cup, apple, cherry, and plum.

Colombia Timana Principales Lotes brings forth solid sweetness, honey, dark sugar, apple, and a malic acidity.

Guatemala Chimaltenango La Pampa Gesha This Gesha has perfumed florals, clean honeyed sweetness, tropical fruits, and brilliant acidity.

Timor Eraulu Lauana Villages. This fully washed Timor shows banana, pineapple, plum, and apple with a underlying sweet/...

Quality Control: Sample Roasting

Our Probat P3 Electric 3-barrel sees A LOT of use!

October 7, 2014

We are officially hitting the tail end of the busiest time of year for receiving samples in our cupping lab. It’s no secret that the bulk of our coffees come from Central America and East Africa, and as such, we’ve received more ‘offer’ samples in the past few months than all of the rest of the year combined. This last year in Guatemala alone we cupped over 600 farm samples. Now, to be honest, some of that number was roasted and cupped at origin - maybe 200 total. But the bulk was evaluated right here in our lab in West Oakland. As such, it seems like an appropriate time for us to talk about our process of green coffee evaluation, and why if you're running a roasting business, it’s important to have an evaluation program in place.

Many of you will find this information useful as a way to better understand the purchasing process on this side of the water. Much of our evaluation of coffee comes from it’s taste (no surprise here), and the sample roaster is an extremely valuable tool to present a coffee’s quality level. But also, I would argue that just as much stock is placed in the roaster, that is, the human being operating the machine, as the machine itself. There are good and bad roasting machines as well as roasting approaches, and we find that much of our home roasting audience are just as careful and attentive to roasting on their home machines as the "professional" production roasters down the street (we talk A LOT about “professional” vs enthusiast around here - and there really isn’t much of a difference, except for maybe equipment). Roasting...