Sweet Maria's Weblog

Four new lots to celebrate the Fourth of July

Honduras Finca El Pimiento Microlot is a refined cup with brown sugar sweetness, almond milk quality, and milk chocolate tones.

Brazil Carmo de Minas Dry-Process Peaberry has a surprisingly light body for a natural, gen ma cha tea quality, and bittering baker's chocolate notes.

Yemen Mokha Ismaili has loads of dried fruit such as tamarind, strawberry, apricot and banana along with spice hints and cacao.

Brazil Mogiana WP Decaf has demerara sugar, toasted sesame, and milk chocolate in a surprisingly sweet cup.

Iced Coffee

It's hot here in Oakland...not as hot as other parts of the country but hot enough to make us crave iced coffee. We thought this would be a good opportunity to try out all those different methods we have been scoping out on different websites and traditional recipes we have done before.


The Drip-From-a-Bottle-Into-an-Aeropress Method

Prima Coffee recently posted an article with a cool cold brew drip tutorial that didn't require an expensive drip brewer. A 1 liter plastic bottle with the bottom cut off and a hole poked into the cap, when turned upside down, serves as the tank in which ice and water are held. You want to make a hole small enough to allow about 40 drops a minute. Use an Aeropress funnel as a holder for the upside-down bottle. This will suspend the bottle on top of a plunger-less Aeropress containing a filter, in it's usual place, ground coffee with a little chicory and another filter (trimmed to fit) on top of the coffee. Use whatever decanter you want. Mason jars and small French press beakers work well. Get ready to sit and stare...it's gonna take a while. A fast dripping bottle takes an hour to fully empty itself. We thought the coffee turned out tea-like and lemony, with a nice mouthfeel and good body. It was surprising how clear many of the tasting notes were and that as a cold coffee, how true to our coffee review it was.

-200g ice

-300g water

-40g coffee (we used Ethiopia Sidama Deri Kochoha)

-12g chicory


Six Great New Additions

 El Salvador Finca Matalapa Bourbon with fresh caramel, complex notes of pear, apple, and mild citrus, good "classic" SO espresso.

Guatemala Finca Candelaria - Lote Cedro has clean sweetness, layered chocolate, and works well at darker roast levels.

Guatemala Huehuetenango Finca Rosma has luminescent acidity of green grape and black tea with a hint of lemon, Rosma is such a unique cup and excels as SO espresso.

Colombia Huila Bruselas is very juicy with great mouthfeel, honey and caramel sweetness balance wonderfully with fruited aspects like nectarine and ripe plum.

Rwanda Nyamasheke has a natural sugar sweetness, a hint of vanilla, and saturated black tea finish.

Sumatra Onan Ganjang Cultivar is clean and syrupy with cherry cola sweetness, stone fruit nectar, herbal hints and Rolo candy-like caramel/chocolate hints.

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.