Sweet Maria's Weblog

Kenya Postcards

Nov. 5, 2015

If you have received an order from us in the recent weeks, it probably included one of our Kenya postcards with a collage of Tom's great photos on the front and on the back, a brief history how Tom began buying Kenyan coffee along with an explanation of why we don't use auction numbers as coffee titles anymore.


Here's the front....

Three Great Ways to Brew Coffee at Home

For years, our home roasting starter kits have been a very popular way for our customers to start roasting their own coffee. We wanted to offer the same convenience for your home coffee brewing. Here's a few kits that that we think will make brewing coffee a lot more enjoyable.


Day after Day Job

Part 4 Being an Engaged Roaster (without Marrying Your Job)  


Knowing that what coffees and roasts perform best in a press pot or drip brewer with a blade grinder, and asking your whole bean customers what they’re using at home, will go a long, long way in winning your customers’ confidence. As a roaster, you definitely want to be selling whole bean coffee for home brewing in addition to brewing and selling by the cup. This is where your best margins are. As I said earlier, there are roasters popping up left and right and there are fewer opportunities for wholesale out there .


In terms of further education, there are a number of quality classes, books, and articles out there. I firmly believe that talking with other roasters, sharing experiences, and learning from others has tremendous value. But if you were to do one thing on your own, there is an exercise that will make an incredible difference in your roasting, and teach you how to taste what’s going on in the roast. It’s as easy as this: 

  • Step one:  Do two roasts of the same coffee, and make  a simple but dramatic enough adjustment in one of the roasts 
  • Step two: Taste the difference. Note what difference that particular adjustment made in the profile. 


This is not meant to be a “right and wrong” test, but rather a test that gives you two markers by which to make some judgment and direction towards preference. It might be that you prefer neither of the two markers, but somewhere in between or even beyond the markers. But now you have a reference, and reference is knowledge, and knowledge helps you get better. The other side of this exercise is that you’ve now made 2 distinct products with the same raw material. Not only does this exercise give you a better understanding of roasting, but also it gives you a new way to engage with your customers.


Here’s the thing. Roasting commercially does not have to take the joy out of roasting, but it so easily can. Do you want to start your business because you think you’re good enough to be pro, or is it because you see a real opportunity for a business in your area doing something that captivates you?  There are so many pressures on a business to be some other than what your idea of...

Calling all Franken-Roasters

Oct. 30, 2015

If you read our recent post about the home roaster design contest we are sponsoring, you may have seen that we are looking for photos of your home-grown coffee roasting creations. If it's in the works or something that you have been using for years, we want to see it. Once we get a few cool design submissions, we'll showcase them all right here in a week or so.

Please send us photos and a short description to info@sweetmarias.com

This Week's Fresh Roasted Coffee

Oct. 30, 2015

One pound bags...roasted on 10/28

  • Roasted - Guatemala Antigua Pulcal Inteligente - from the "Inteligente" block of the Pulcal Coffee Estate in Antigua, Guatemala. Roasted to City+. Inteligente is a complex coffee. There are notes of ripe plum, pineapple, blackberry, asian pear and pleasant acidity. It also has a fair amount of sweetness, like light honey and caramelized sugar.


  • Roasted - Ethiopia Agaro Nano Challa - from the Nano Challa Cooperative in the Agaro area of Ethiopia. Roasted to a City roast level. Nano Challa has an intense floral aroma and refined honey sweetness. There are mild fruit notes and a ginger snap cookie flavor.