Sweet Maria's Weblog

mneb and fto shg ep, fyi, asap

A mouthful of abbreviations. Just when I thought that the entire crop was a bust, we received this Bolivia FTO SHG EP Caranavi with an outstanding, bright, lively character apple, hazelnut and mild chocolate notes. And after a long absence, we have an India arabica (non-monsooned) lot: India Mysore Nuggets Extra Bold has unusual dry-roasted peanut notes, low acidity, good body ... and makes a very compelling single-origin espresso.

Where's the Centrals?

Well, up until now they are out of season, and the early samples I have cupped are unworthy of offering; lower grown and rushed through processing at the dry mill. Remember, coffee is a crop. Sure, greens store well, but still it is important to buy during the peak of the harvest. It would be irresponsible of me (and run totally counter to everything we do here) to buy lots I knew were inferior, simply to plump up our inventory. Coffee is not soap-on-a-rope. Buying and offering coffee is not like stocking canned goods down at the A&P! (Although I wish it was sometimes ... it would make my job a lot easier).

Now, the Centrals are indeed on there way. We have 2 Costa Rica lots arriving Thursday April 12. (Indeed, I leave tonight for Costa Rica to cup some 86 lots of Tarrazu, Dota and Naranjo special lots, hoping to find 1 or 2 that stand out). Mexico Chiapas and Oaxaca are "on the water". Our first Guatemala is coming in 10 days. Ôø?We also have some outstanding, fresh South America coffees from Peru and Colombia which offer the same cup profile as Centrals: bright, snappy, clean, floral, etc. So please be patient, my roasting friends, and know that we are going to have a heck of a lotta great Centrals on our list within the next few weeks. New micro-lots from Chiapas, special Guatemala estate coffees, Costa Rica is holding their first Cup of Excellence this year ... lots of new things happening, and the result will be some pretty interesting new offerings this season. -Tom

a tidal wave of new coffee arrivals

So many new arrivals at once. Some lots were delayed in shipping, but everything seemed to come in at once! Therefore, it's all I can manage right now to give you a list of links and some short descriptions - Tom

yemen, espresso competition, and stuff.

We are waiting on some other new coffee arrivals (and a couple new merch arrivals too) but I wanted to highlight the Yemen Mokha Sana'ani. Sometimes we switch to a new lot, and forget to underscore the fact, or even mention it! This new crop Sana'ani is quite dynamic and has some very lively bittering chocolate and spice notes. This lot exemplifies the postitive aspects of "leathery" flavors in a better way than any Yemen I can recall. Yes, leather can be good! We also have a new Sumatra Tapanuli WP Decaf which is quite nice (an very useful for a base low-caf or no-caf blends, espresso too). In fact, 60-40 with the Yemen Sana' ani as the later is an amazing low-caf blend. On a different note, this weekend up in Petaluma, Sonoma County, is the WRBC Barista Competition. I'll be giving a presentation about sweet maria's, home roasting, and what-have-you. If you have any idea what I will be talking about, please email me and let me know.

sort-of, kinda, halfway-ready-to-go new coffee arrivals

I keep re-roasting and re-cupping these lots to finish the reviews ... but they ARE indeed available, and I am half-way done with my descriptions. I blame lack-of-sleep due to my new status as "dad." It is making me inarticulate. Well, more inarticulate. Anyway, we get people looking for Central American offerings, wondering why our selection in that area seems half-hearted. Well, it should be at this time of the year! If you are wondering where the Costa Rica is, I remind you that it would be a crime to offer a CR coffee at this time of year: it would either be old and on the edge of extinction, or a low-grown, too-young coffee from the new crop. But here is a truly "peak-of-harvest" offering that has the same bright, lively acidity of a CR lot: Colombia Organic Nari?±o - San Lorenzo . We also have 2 micro-lot Peru offerings from small growers I met on my last trip to the Cuzco region of the Andes: Peru Tunquimayo - Juan de Dios and Peru Las Delicias - Zenon Vargas. The reviews are coming pronto ... they just need the finishing touches. And we also received a favorite Brazil of mine from last year, Nazareith Dias Perreira and Aprocam (the farm matriarch, and the name we sold it under last year, and the cooperative, Aprocam). This year, we use the farm name: Brazil Carmo de Minas - Fazenda Sertao. -Tom