The owners are Thompson Owen and Maria Troy, who met in the Masters program at School of the Art Institute Chicago. Thompson (or Thom or Tom, but not Tommy!) is in charge of the green coffee side our company. He evaluates incoming coffee samples and travels to our sources around the world. Maria oversees the business-related, business-type business stuff and big projects. Sweet Maria’s Coffee started in a dimly-lit basement in Columbus, Ohio in late 1997. Basically, coffee options weren't great at the time, and having done a stint roasting before (in New Orleans, a different story), Thompson wanted to find green coffee and roast at home. That was no easy task in the Ohio of 1997. A local roaster offered to sell green coffee at 10% off the roasted price. It dawned on Tom that, factoring in 18-20% weight loss, he was actually paying extra for the favor of having them not roast his coffee. Given that all their coffee tasted smoky because they didn't maintain their machines, he figured it was still worth it. But it seemed like there must be a better way.
Armed with a cursory knowledge of how to code html in a text editor, Tom made a web site. Then, realizing that doing business in a dark basement was generally a bummer, he found a small, well-lit, and also well-hidden retail location. While SM then became a small coffee shop and roastery (with a 12 kg Diedrich), it was really just a location to do the home coffee roasting mail order business.
Tom and Maria moved the company to Emeryville, CA in 2002. Emeryville is a city wedged between Oakland and Berkeley, across the bay from San Francisco. It used to have the largest scrap heap of crushed cars in the state. Now, there’s a giant Ikea and a fancy shopping center. Times change.
We moved to our first Oakland warehouse on 21st Street in 2005. It was a huge upgrade for us ... but we grew out of it. At times we had coffee and merchandise stacked to the ceilings. Ever play the video game Tetris? Well, our amazing crew had to play the real life version every day with boxes and bags of coffee.
For more Sweet Maria’s company history, check out the "Who we Are" page that we posted sometime around 2005.
We moved up the street to our current Oakland warehouse during the summer of 2016 and are still only a few minutes from the port of Oakland, the Specialty Coffee port in the US. The majority of top grade coffees come through here - and you know it, New Jersey! Cupping with local coffee brokers and picking up coffee from the local warehouses has made up for all the annoyances that come along with being based near some of the trendier areas in California. We have a staff of dedicated folks that work tirelessly through the week to make sure your orders are shipped to you ASAP. This location is larger than the last, which means more room for coffee and our staff can work a little more comfortably.
We have a retail area too which means you can come down here, buy some coffee and actually take a look at home coffee roasting equipment in person. Our pick up rack is in the same space so you can grab your online will call orders here too. Parking can be a little scarce so feel free to park in the red zone front of our storefront if you plan on being here for a few minutes. Please don't enter from the rear of our business. There's a lot of dangerous, fast-moving stuff going on back there.
Location: 2823 Adeline Street, Oakland, CA 94608
Phone: 510-628-0919 (local), 888-876-5917 (toll free)
Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
Also see our Ordering Policies page.