Sweet Maria's Weblog

a thin slice of hawaii

We have a small lot of Hawaii Kona - Kowali Typica XF (1 Lb limit, sorry ... there is very little). The recommendation on the roast has changed from our earlier lot this year (FC, FC+) to a real sweet spot I found around C+.

a new one, an old favorite, a weird one

We have yet another Oaxaca coffee offering. As I mentioned before, this seems to be an "up" year for the region, and these two lots exemplify uniquely different Oaxaca cup character. This second arrival, Mexico Oaxaca Pluma - Don Eduardo has an interesting fruied and winey subtext to the cup, with good tangy chocolate at FC (Full City) roast. I was really impressed with the Brazil Screen-Dried Moreninha Formosa we offered early in the season, and wanted to bring it back. But this is a fresh late-harvest lot arrival, with outstanding body and chocolate roast tastes at FC+. And for you espresso-blend tinkerers, we are offering the unique flavors of India Monsooned Robusta once again!

coffee conference melancholia

it is time once again for the scaa convention, this time down in happening long beach,ca . yes, the long beach near the oil fields, near the port, near l.a.; the long beach everyone talks about. (maybe i can sneak over to San Pedro for some excitement). i must confess a certain dread. it's a massive swarm of people from all over the globe, and Iowa too. And 94% of them have absolutely no relevance to what we do here at sweet maria's on a daily basis. well, the coffee business has never been much about coffee, sadly. and to the extent that it is, this includes a wide range of interests from flavoring extracts, to shiny designer accessories, from those hapless puck-polishers with sage-infused micro-foam to powdered chai latte pushers. then there is the Coffee Cognoscenti, the group of scaa insiders with rows of badges pinned to their sleeves, running around to speeches, forums, panels and workshops. Invariably, it's those who are selling something (themselves), either directly as a consultant, or with an eye to climbing the rungs in the coffee industry, or for general status. They have something to gain by appearing knowledgeable in front of others. And there there is me and the rest of my ilk, mildly traumitized, skulking around, keeping our heads down, trying to avoid conversations and glean what little there is from the trade show floor. i know, it's probably the same in your industry ... conventions are much alike. if you were on the student board in high school, if you went to the pep rallies, if you got your picture in the yearbook a few times, you probably have no problem with conventions. so hurrah for the coffee convention, the generic high-profile keynote speaker, the ribbon-wearers and panelists at "Pushing the Right Button: Choosing a POS System" and "Location? Predicting Potential Business Success". I will be issuing a facinating report on "dust-bunny size and location in the convention hall foyer" postscript: my grumpy 2007 scaa report has no pictures of dust bunnies, sadly. -tom

kenya aa kiambu -kimathi; mexico fto oaxaca pluma

Kenya has arrived. Our first lot of Main crop, Auction Lot Kenya is here: Kenya AA Kiambu - Kimathi. The initial cup results are outstanding (but the full review is not complete yet). Kiambu regional coffees, along with Meru and Thika districts, were the first to distiguish themselves in the cuppings this year, with Nyeri and Kirinyaga regions peaking a bit later. We have quite a few selections coming, but it takes between 6 weeks and 10 weeks to work out all the logisitcs and actually receive each lot. So this Kiambu is our first of many excellent lots we have already bid upon and won in the Kenya auctions. On a different note, it looks like it will be a fine year for Oaxaca, if our first new crop arrival is an indication: Mexico FTO Oaxaca Pluma. The light roast have a great toasted almond tone, while it turns to tangy bittersweet chocolate at FC/FC+ roast. We have another Oaxaca lot arriving late next week too, which will offer a contrasting cup (a fruited and winey hint). But in overall scoring this FTO lot remains on top for more dynamic brightness, and excellent aromatic character. Okay, we need more pictures here in this "blog" so here's my favorite tire photo from my last origin cupping trip -Tom

guatemala, nicaragua - more centrals unloaded

The roll call for Centrals continues with two new arrivals. Guatemala Fraijanes - Finca Agua Tibia is extra nice this year, tons of spice and tangy chocolate. And we have an outstanding Nicaragua FTO Esteli - Miraflor Coop, with almond roast notes, milk chocolate and clean fruit in the finish.