New arrivals today: Rwanda FT Dukunde Kawa Musasa, Guatemala Huehuetenango -Finca La Providencia Dos, and Mexico Chiapas La Concordia Custepec Centrals are arriving, along with African coffees. First up is the Rwanda FT Dukunde Kawa Musasa with candy-like fruit tones and caramel in the cup. Keep the roasts light on this one! Next is the Guatemala Huehuetenango -Finca La Providencia Dos with its honey and syrupy profile. Look for a thick body with stone fruit and a clean finish. Lastly is the Mexico Chiapas La Concordia Custepec with its balanced profile of almond in lighter roasts and caramel flavors emerging as you roast darker.
I was just asked about our current selection of Central America being slim. We are actually adding a Guatemala and a Mexico coffee late this week, but it is too early for many new crop Centrals still. We had a fantastic delivery of Costa Rica coffees, but we are still a month away from the bulk of the microlot arrivals.
A few general comments on SM and our coffees. We sell through many of our lots rapidly and it’s really important to us that the green coffee is new crop. All our Centrals now are new crop. Arrival dates are posted on every review! This is critical, because if we had a Central from 2010 crop now, even stored in Vac Pack or the special Grain Pro bags we use, chances are the flavor profile and cupping score we originally assigned to it would no longer apply; the coffee would be faded in flavor. We know that home roasters buy green coffee to store for some time before using. And I try to take that into account on all the coffees we review and ship.
Look ... it's the arrival date from an SM coffee review.
Freshness and seasonality are not terms you can apply to coffee in the same sense as produce like peaches and avocado! And yet they are not irrelevant to coffee either. After all, it’s not like stocking soda pop on a shelf; it doesn’t last forever, and when it’s gone we can’t just go make some more.
As a side note, I have been asked about Sumatras and their mysterious absence on our list right now. There has been a lack of cup quality on the arrival samples I have cupped lately, so we have pulled it from the list. We have a shipment leaving Medan within a couple weeks, so that is still about 6 weeks from arrival. But we should have a nice wet-hulled Sumatra before then, based on some recent samples I have been cupping here. -Tom
Three stellar adds today: Costa Rica Chirripo Los Crestones -Finca Alaska, Ethiopia Wet-Process Jimma -Duromina Coop, and Hawaii Ka’u “Rusty’s Hawaiian”. As we ramp up out of the slow season, we are very happy to be adding these three great coffees. Look for toffee, hazelnut, and a dense body in the Costa Rica Chirripo Los Crestones -Finca Alaska. This is a classic Central and needs a good resting after roast. Next up is the Ethiopia Wet-Process Jimma -Duromina Coop. This is a sweetly fruited cup that takes on more chocolate accents with darker roasts. This is the first of a few more coffees we’ll see from this new coop and new system at origin. Last on the list today is the Hawaii Ka’u “Rusty’s Hawaiian” with a 1-lb limit per order. Look for honey, sunflower seed, caramel, and tea in the cup with a long finish from this Kona-like coffee. Click-through to read more notes about these coffees.
For this week’s pairing we chose two coffees more or less at random. The concept of pairing certain coffees to showcase this and that seemed limiting. So, for the foreseeable future we will be selecting two outstanding lots and roasting them just to be enjoyed. You don’t have to think about the way they compare or contrast. Ethiopia Wollega is a remarkable cup, with intense sweetness laden with fruit notes. Roasted to a light City+ level with final temperature of 425 degrees and roast time of 15:00. Papua New Guinea Baroida has more rustic sweetness with a nice piney note and chocolate. Roasted to Full City with final temperature of 435 degrees and roast time of 15:30. We hope you enjoy our new open-minded approach to the bi-monthly pairing, with so many great coffees to choose from why not?
Too new: Small Yemen lot and Brazil COE added today! We’ve added Brazil Cup of Excellence – Fazenda do Sertao and Yemen Mokha Sana’ani. Let’s start out with the Brazil Cup of Excellence – Fazenda do Sertao, a yellow bourbon from a farm we’ve stocked before but this time it’s a small COE lot so we are limiting quantities. Look for mandarin orange and tea-biscuit at lighter roasts, while darker roasts bring out the bittersweet chocolate notes. The Yemen Mokha Sana’ani is also limited because of lot size and folks will remember the cup profile from this favorite: winey and spicy tastes with apricot and cinnamon in the finish.
It has been a goal of Sweet Maria’s Coffee since Tom started the business in the fall of 1997 to provide a BOATLOAD of information about coffee. Like we say on the front page of our website – “We are more than just another on-line shopping cart, we are a virtual coffee university.” After all, that is what keeps us interested; otherwise we could be selling widgets or diapers or bolts.
Over the years, as we have amassed a large pile of photos and articles about all things coffee (from multiple travelogues with hundreds and hundreds of photos, to opining on the state of coffee), the library has grown to be an unwieldy mass of stuff. All of the pieces reflected our thinking at the time, but some of that now seems out of date. So a major revamping was in order – not just to freshen up the look of the pages, but to build in a structure that would ultimately make it more functional too.
Now, if one were to proceed from a purely rational point of view, this would be fairly easy. The more Tom and I thought about it though, we started to think of the Coffee Library as a bookstore, and the sort of bookstore that we would like; a sort of funky independent bookstore where books and photos are piled willy-nilly and it is super fun to browse and browse from one thing to the next, seeing where looking takes you. We were not interested in a mainstream bookstore like Barnes and Noble or Borders Books where the aisles are wide and well marked and it is all somehow less interesting. So we wanted to keep something of that tension, keeping our library accessible (since otherwise what’s the point?) but having enough there that browsing is fun.
I hope we have struck the right balance. You can see the results at www.sweetmarias.com/library
The library is built on the Drupal platform, so we can tag images and articles. You will also be able to log in and comment on articles, photos and videos. The log –ins will be the same between the cart and library – so one log-in works in both places – but just not yet. But go ahead and use the same log in and password – we will make sure it works. Currently the library is mostly just links to the older articles – so the full functionality is not quite there. But as we move forward – I think you will notice the difference. -Maria
This is one of our favorite roast coffee pairing ideas: roast the two coffees that form the most ancient blend in coffee history – Mokha Java. In this instance we roasted Java Kajumas Taman Dadar and Yemen Mokha Sana’ani. Both were roasted to Full City+ in 15 minutes with final thermoprobe temperatures of 440-444 degrees. Try blending these two before brewing in various percentages. Java coffee has a rustic, deep toned body with foresty notes and low acidity. Yemen coffee is wilder with fruit laden tobacco notes and leather hints. They work together really well to both mellow out certain aspects and highlight subtleties that might be a little overwhelming on their own. But, heck try them on their own, then blended and you can really see why this blend has been cherished since time immemorial.