Sweet Maria's Home Coffee Roasting

Sweet Maria's Coffee Library: Coffee FAQs - Roasting, Brewing, Everything!

Follow the links below to articles written by Tom & Maria (and a few great pieces by others in the coffee trade); some facts, some opinions, some mine, some not.

Article Categories:


All articles are provided for informational use only, and you are solely responsible for any bad stuff that may come from any crazed home coffee roasting experiments you undertake...from electric shock to a shockingly great cup of coffee! All for the love of of our favorite brown beverage... You also need to ask to re-publish any of this information! No "scraping" allowed.

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New Sweetmaria's Weblog has current comments about newly arriving coffees and other such things. Also check out our separate Roasted Weblog. Yep, we're making logs here. For our weekly roasted coffee we have Sweet Maria's Roasted Weblog. And check out our on-line back issues of our printed Tiny Joy newsletter, which you receive along with your orders from Sweet Maria's.
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Further Readings and Internet Resources

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Tiny Joy
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Green Coffee Beans: We are very proud of our unroasted green coffee selection of 70+ types. Each is meticulously cup-rated, and selected from particular current crop lots, representing the "best of the best!"
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This page and most of the articles within are authored by Tom Owen and Sweet Maria's Coffee, Inc. and are not to be reproduced without permission. Please respect authorship and ask!

Sweet Maria's Coffee Library Topic Categories

General Home Roasting FAQs
and Tip Sheets

Sweet Maria's Home Roaster Tip Sheets- for both currently available machines and discontinued models
Home Roasting Methods and Modifications Sweet Maria's Brewing FAQs and Tip Sheets



Other Roasters, Obsolete Roasters

Roasting and Green Coffee Evaluation Topics:
Articles by Sweet Maria's

  • I maintain a sort of nifty Coffee Roaster Image Gallery page- just a jumble of all the roasters I have used, and ones I have come across on trips.

  • Antique Home Roasters: Home roasting has a long history in the United States, when farmers and rural folk had to do most everything for themselves. If you are interested, here are some of the old home coffee roasters we have...

  • Don't ask why, but we keep a page just for obsolete products ... RIP

Espresso Equipment and Other Coffee Equipment

Roasting and Green Coffee Evaluation Topics:
Great Articles from Other Sources



Coffee Travels:
Our Coffee Trade, Farm & Cupping Trips

I don't document every trip, and yet this category has grown rather large... hence 2 columns

Coffee Travels:
Our Coffee Trade, Farm & Cupping Trips




  • 3/10: I'm not finished yet. I keep generating material from this recent Africa trip. I was writing some actual commentary. Here is a link to the Kenya Travelogue, and here you can find commentary from Ethiopia -Tom
  • Tom took a trip to Sumatra and Sulawesi in November 2008; it was a looonnng trip that seemed all too short. I divided the pictures into
    • The Aceh District of Sumatra (actually north of North Sumatra!) which includes Takengon and the areas around Lake Tawar
    • .... and then Sulawesi and Tana Toraja, an amazing, mystical place, where I handily whacked my head crawling through a tunnel in a Toraja traditional burial cave. It still hurts. -Tom
  • Tom returned from a Cupping Competition in Peru September 2008 with a handful of pictures, and some thoughts on why Peru coffee isn't as respected as it could be ...

  • The shennanigans of the Costa Rica Micro-Millers visit to Sweet Maria's September 2008.

  • I have 2 new photosets for recent trips to Ethiopia's Harar region, and from the first-ever Rwanda Cup of Excellence Competition 2008. You can also view both of these on our Coffee Image Gallery site.

  • Many may not know about the problems internal to the SCAA Roaster's Guild, but it came to a head at the 2008 Roaster's Guild Retreat due to gangs from Mille Lac. Read more ...

  • I had a very interesting Colombia trip to Huila, Cauca and Narino districts in late May 2008 but have been delayed getting the pictures together. You can also see it on the beta images site.

    I did a lot of cupping in Guatemala City looking for special lots, and then some quick trips to farms in the nearby states. Check out my Guatemala Travelogue. What, another Guatemala trip a few weeks later, with the family (Maria, Ben, my Mom, Myself), and yet another Guatemala Picturelog for 2008.

  • I can't go to the Tolima area of Colombia where our Las Florestales is from ... there's too much FARC Guerilla activity in the area! But our coffee sourcer for this lot, Genevieve was able to go.

  • A whirlwind tour of Costa Rica Micro Mills in mid February 2008!

  • January 2008: India ... another example of gross camera addiction. I took 1350 images, and narrowed it down to 302 for my India Travelogue. There's also a brief essay.

  • Here's a travelogue of my trip to Ethiopia in November 2007 to cup at many exporters in Addis Ababa, and get ready for the new crop coffees.

  • It took a week to sort through them all, but here is my little travelogue for Yemen in November 2007, just 350 photos or so. You can view it here, or on our new beta site Image Gallery. It's one of the most intriguing coffee origins, and one of the best trips I have taken.

  • A short but sweet cupping trip to the Dota, Tarrazu and Naranjo regions of Costa Rica.

  • Since we are finally offering Daterra Yellow Bourbon, I have made a page to describe Daterra Farms, including a snippet of my travelogue and photos of their amazing coffee processing system.
  • A real short trip to Motozintla, Mexico, "land of the squirrels," way south in Chiapas state at the border with Guatemala.
  • Here's my totally uninformative picture book of the 2007 Roasters Guild Retreat and a matching, very curmudgeonly comments about the 2007 SCAA Conference in Long Beach
  • Peru, what an amazing place, what a screwy place in terms of coffee. If I seem too harsh, 395 photos in a travelog (and a video to boot) should show the enthusiasm I also have for Peru ... there are 7 pages of thumbnail images, and I hope you find some of it, if not most of it, interesing: Peru Coffee Tour 2006
  • Travelog for Guatemala Cup of Excellence and other Guatemala travels 2006

  • Travelog for El Salvador Cup of Excellence 2006

  • I posted new travelogs for my recent trips, with all my coffee competition cupping scores and the final results. First off was the 2006 Best of Panama competition, then off to to Honduras Cup of Excellence 2006 in San Pedro Sula, and finally the 2006 Nicaragua Cup of Excellence competition in Granada, Nicaragua (a beautiful colonial town). I hope you can tolerate some tongue-in-cheek commentary, with a smattering of useful observations. Lots of pictures, and some of them actually have something to do with coffee! -Tom

  • Back from the Brasil Cafe do Cerrado 2005 event , but off to Bolivia Cup of Excellence (hurricane permitting)[hurricane was not permitting - here are the Bolivia 2005 winners though]. I had time to parse 800 photos and ended up with about 150 that I just had to share. Why do I do this? I don't know. And be warned that a lot of it is not about coffee, strictly speaking. -Tom

  • Since we are finally offering Daterra Yellow Bourbon, I have made a page to describe Daterra Farms, including a snippet of my travelogue and photos of their amazing coffee processing system.
  • January harvest trip to Nicaragua and El Salvador and a whole mess o' pictures, as usual. Check out the Nicaragua - El Salvador Travelogue

  • I have finished the travelog for my Colombia Trip, which includes the 2005 Cup of Excellence competition. It's a different format than before, more and I put a lot of work into it. I hope you get something out of it... And there is a special feature: What does a coffee cupping room sound like? Well, I made a little stereo recording while walking around the room at the 2005 Colombia CoE.

  • I am back from Kona and the 2004 Kona Cupping Competition and made a travelogue of the event ... which feels a bit incomplete. Even with a limited time there, it makes a big impression and there is no way to convey it in a few photos. -Tom

  • I have finished my rather extensive travelogue from Brazil 2004 Cerrado Competition and Coffee Tour. Maria thinks I am nuts. I spent 3 days trimming down my 600 pictures to a mere 179, and writing the decriptions for each. There is just so much I learn on each new trip, so these web pages are as much for myself as you everyone else. I hope you get some
  • I finally finished a complete journal and slide show for my trip as a judge at the 2004 El Salvador Cup of Excellence Competition!

  • I also did a "slide show" of pictures from the Nicaragua Cup of Excellence coffee competition, 2004 . It took me a long time to get the pages together and so I am sorry it lacks detail. But there are some nice images...

  • I created a sort of quick and temporary page of images from last week's Costa Rica trip. More to come...

  • There's a new pictorial of my 2003 trip to the Bolivia Coffee Competition in 2 sections Page 1 and Page 2, and a short Bolivia Movie too!

  • I have made a "slide show" of my trip to the 2003 Best of Panama cupping competition.

  • My Honduras Cupping Trip 2003: Part One is the competition and tour of the Northern coffee lands. Part Two is the tour of the Southern coffee lands near the capital of Tegucigalpa.

  • I have a lot of information and pictures from a tour of Nicaragua this year, including judging in the Cup of Excellence competition.

  • Tom's 2001 SCAA Convention Report ...bitter, very bitter.

  • I had a couple comments and pictures from the 2003 SCAA Conference in Boston.

    A new page from my trip to the Panama Cupping Competition in early April 2002 is done!

  • I have finally completed a lengthy pictorial page on my Trip to the Guatemala Highlands, April 2001


Health Concerns, Caffeine, Decaffeinating

The Ecology of Coffee

Coffee Producing Origins:
Interesting Articles from Other Sources


The Odds and Ends!

Coffee Cutivation and Technical Aspects.



  • I tried to put together a pictorial about how I grow coffee plants at home. This is dated now, and I have over 60 plants with at least 25 unique cultivars represented, including robusta types, liberica, excelsa and other non-arabica coffees.

  • A friend sent me a couple interesting photos from India, which I turned into a page about Exotic Coffee Cultivars

  • My review of El Salvador 2004 Cup of Excellence includes a visit to the ProCafe Experimental Coffee Farm with lots of Cultivar Pictures!

  • Coffee vs. Wine, the debate goes on. This was the article I prepared for the March Tiny Joy, before editing it

  • How about Home Processing Coffee? Well, you need coffee cherry to do that. I brought back some extra from Costa Rica so I gave home wet-processing a try

  • I had made a page that concerns Buying Bags of Coffee, essentially some insights about dealing with brokers and why I feel like home roasters and startup roasters should be cautioned away from doing so. Might sound self-serving, but there's other reasons for this position... Nice pictures too!

The Coffee Trade:
Sweet Maria's Other Pictorials
  • An updated look at Organic and Fair Trade coffee in Ethiopia, as of 2004

  • Coffee from the Island of Saint Helena is something we get when it is available and when it is good. But the crop is very limited, and there have been problems with reliability lately. Whether we will have it again is a unsure...

  • Our coffee shipment on the way from the Isle of St. Helena. Here's some wonderful pictures!

  • It's the middle of the busy season but it's also time for the Brazil Coffee Auction! I posted a list of the winning coffees and a few comments and our lot, the Boa Vista (due in March)

  • Here's some comments and pictures from a recent cupping of India Coffees with Ken Davids, and a tour of Mr. Espresso's wood-fired roasters.

  • I had a nice visit over at Intelligentsia in Chicago, a roasting company I hold in high regard...

  • We have a special page dedicated to our winning lot of 2002 Brazil Cup of Excellence Auction Lot, Fazenda Boa Vista



Tiny Joy, our newsletter, in plain text web format (and later in .pdf)

(This is not fancy, just the articles really, so everyone can have access to them. It is not a complete list, our '97 and most of '98 are missing, as are a few from '00.
The layouts get a bit messed up when they are converted from print to web, but it is all there...)