Sweet Maria's Weblog

Arrival Date

 The Annex: where most of our coffee (as well as MANY others) is offloaded after arriving at the Port of Oakland.

We get excited about new crop coffees, and while there is almost always some new crop coffee landing, this particular time of year is very hectic with arrivals.  I thought now would be a good time to explain more about what exactly the "Arrival Date" in our reviews is referring to.

The arrival date field lists the month that particular coffee landed here at the Port of Oakland.  The most recent dates usually equate to the most recent harvest.  This, however, does not always mean that the cup quality of the coffees with older arrival dates has degraded, or that fresher is always better.  Coffees from Ethiopia, for example, often cup great many months after they landed.  We recently cupped several Ethiopias that arrived late 2012 that showed little to no signs of age, and stacked up amazingly well to their new arrival couterparts.

Packaging in grain pro bags has really helped to facilitate longer storage, but a coffee's ability to stand the test of time can also be attributed to the altitude where it is grown and the way it is handled after being picked.  Pristine milling, drying, and local climate play a big role in creating a coffee with a more stable profile - and farmers in some regions are more able to achieve this than others.  Other determinants include logistics of the region, and how coffee is moved, stored and transported out of the country.  These are all factors we consider when deciding on how much of any particular coffee we purchase.

With this in mind, "Arrival Date" is one more piece of information we include in our reviews as an added layer of transparency.  We don't think of it as a ruler by which you can simply measure a coffee's quality, or part of an equation that determines which coffees are "good" or "bad".  Rather, this is a tool for you to use in order to gain a more complete picture of coffees you're considering buying.  Most important, we continually cup our inventory, checking for quality and consistency in cup profile, and updating reviews and cupping scores when needed.

A Gaggle of New Lots

 El Salvador Finca Siberia Pacamara is a sweet cup with refreshing acidity, allow the cup to cool and you will experience an abundance of citrus notes.

Guatemala Antigua Finca Cabrejo has raw sugar sweetness, malic acidity and juicy mouthfeel.

Ethiopia Illubabor Camp with creamed honey, floral qualities, and nectar-like body.

Tanzania AB Burka Estate with black tea, simple syrup, and baker's chocolate notes.

Yemen Mokha Sharasi has caramel sweetness which pairs beautifully with the fruit and spice notes in this juicy cup.

Makers and Tasters: Tons of Fun in Our Hometown

Last Friday night, we had the pleasure of being guest demonstrators at The Oakland Museum of California's weekly food truck party and Makers & Taster's event. We had a great time sharing what we love in a very casual and relaxed environment with coffee lovers that were surprised they could roast coffee with just a few household items. We have been invited back for their July 26th event so we are planning on bringing more machines along with the trusty West Bend popcorn popper. If you will be in or around Oakland, please drop by this free event. We would love to meet you.


Click here for more on OMCA's Friday night event series and here if you met us on Friday and want to learn more about home coffee roasting.


Five New Coffees

Guatemala Acatenango Gesha is out of this world this year, jasmine, honeysuckle, kaffir lime, and syrupy body express the unique "Gesha" profile throughout the roast spectrum.

Guatemala Huehuetenango Profesor Gabino is a nice bright cup with citrus aromatics, sweet Bartlett Pear, and cocoa powder finish, great SO espresso.

Colombia Pedergal Misael Hurtado Micro-lot has a vanilla caramel aspect, heavy mouthfeel with juicing orange, tamarind, and nectarine notes.

Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha is floral with pineapple, plum, mango and red apple; weighty body makes this another great SO espresso.

Espresso Workshop #28 Taller del Taller is loaded with chocolate, fudge, and tart berry acidity.

Four new mid-week additions

Costa Rica La Candelilla Ave Del Paraiso has effervescent acidity, marmalade, cane sugar, and cocoa powder finish.

Costa Rica Tarrazu Dota Providencia with fruit juice flavors, bolstering body, and toasted pistachio nut roast tones, like Turkish Delight candy.

El Salvador Majahual - Tablon Tempisque is well balanced, with cocoa and almond roast tones paired with mild red apple acidity.

Guatemala Chichimes Francisco Mendez Micro-Lot is like apple juice with silky body, demerara sugar and chocolate syrup finish, this is the first of many lots we will be adding from our new Proyecto Xinabajul. We are very excited about this new way of sourcing outstanding, unique lots from higher elevations in Guatemala.