Sweet Maria's Weblog

FYI: New Crop Week

We have one new crop Guatemala and two new crop Costa Rica coffees coming on line tomorrow (about noon our time).

Small Quality-Obsessed Coffee Roasters On the Rise!

[caption id="attachment_765" align="alignnone" width="388" caption="Totally Unrelated to Anything. Captain Scarlet.What coffee would the Mysterons drink?"]Totally Unrelated to Anything. Captain Scarlet. [/caption] Yawn. Double Yawn. I feel like it's groundhog day, except this never-ending story is about exciting and fresh-faced coffee roasters who are obsessed with quality and decide to open up shop in NYC, or SF, or some other glamorous place. Never Kokomo, Indiana or Dayton, Ohio. Search "coffee" on the New York Times web site and read the same story, rewritten, over and over. It's the basic premise of "God in a Cup" the gawd-awful book about personality-driven business. Without any substantial information about coffee itself, these stories are just a new type of consumer fetishism, but instead of being on the scale of the grand corporation they are the "humble neighborhood small-batch roaster" makes good and grows, but darn if  they don't do  it in their own anachronistic quality-driven way. No matter how you wrap it, it's a story about conspicuous consumption, about "where do you get yours?" as if it is a triumph of personal character to know which is the best shop to walk into and ask for coffee. If we substitute "coffee" for "perfume" or "Rolex" or typical, highly fetishized luxury goods, does it take on a new aire? And yet it is the same conversation, but with coffee brands. I am only peeved because each time I see a coffee headline, I hope that it contains some small bit of good information, planting some seed in consumer consciousness to change the way they think about coffee a bit. But I fear what we get, repeatedly in the cast of the NYT, is a basic shopping guide for those who want to be "in the know". Unfortunately, they miss that coffee itself is more interesting than the business about business, even if you dress it up in trendy fashion. That's too bad, I think. The odd thing is that these are some really good roasters too, offering good coffee. The roasters they reference and others are worth writing real coffee stories about. Not fluff. -Tom

5 New Arrivals

Seasonal coffee season started this weekend! [According the the Dogs of Coffee calendar.] Here are the new offerings this week... First we have a favorite Kona from Moki's Farm - we will limit it to 2 lbs. per order since it is a small lot. This one is very versatile, with everything from City+ to Full City+ roast recommended, and try it as a SO espresso. Look for floral aromatics and dark chocolate --- this is a great arrival this season! Next we have some nice arrivals with the Costa Rica Cafetin San Martin and Colombia Tolima Florestales - Maximinio Gutierres. the Costa Rica San Martin is from the Tarrazu region and has been ranking well in the CoE. Look for sweet caramel and nutty roast flavors with an apple brightness on this limited lot. Some folks might remember the Colombia Maximinio Gutierrez from this past season. This is a sweet berry profile with cinnamon and apple accents; we have very little of this one and so are limiting sales to 1lb. Rounding out the new coffees is Kenya Kiambu Peaberry - Riuki, a citrusy coffee with lemon and mandarin orange in the cup. This Kenya can be very bright at light roasts and has a plum note at darker levels.   And another great decaf! Sumatra Sidikaland WP Decaf is another coffee that we had custom decaffeinated - it is a...

Roast Coffee Pairing #34: Central America: Compare/Contrast

Here we are comparing two Central American coffees - both from the same region - the same processing method. In a way we are splitting hairs here with two coffees from the same mill, the same region. The difference is the cultivar - in one case Caturra, the other Villa Sarchi. The Costa Rica Helsar Villa Sarchi Solis is classic Costa Rican coffee, mild with great balance, good body and brightness. The Caturra Macho Arce is farmed by Manuel Arce, who calls himself “Macho”, this is another classic, bright, clean cup with similar cup characterisics. There is a distinct difference in the body of these two lots, with the Villa Sarchi having a more syrupy mouthfeel and the Caturra with more effervescence. Both coffees were roasted to a light Full City level to highlight the wonderful balance between chocolate and fruit both of these lots posess. Final thermoprobe temperature of 428 degrees, 15 minute...

Roast Coffee Pairing #33: Name that Coffee!

So, I know there are millions out there waiting for my roast blog posts (tee hee hee), but I plum forgot about it for the past month or so, here are a few lagging posts. For April Fool's we roasted two different coffees and labeled the bags A and B challenging you to guess which coffees they were. And the answer is:

Coffee A was:

Nicaragua Finca San Jose Java Longberry

Coffee B was:

Sulawesi Wet-Process Toarco Flatbean

Thanks to those who participated in this little contest.  I guess the rest of you just drink whatever we send and hope that it is good!  Well, I personally loved the Sulawesi, my wife and I both were waking up to it every morning for a week solid and never tired of it.  I am so impressed with the washed coffees we get from Sulawesi, they strike the perfect balance of sweetness and spice.