Sweet Maria's Weblog

Roasted Coffee: Burundi Kayanza Mpemba & Zimbabwe Chipinge

March 19th, 2015 (above: antique and vintage home roasters in the SM office)

We keep our coffee selection fresh here at Sweet Maria’s (see our recent blog post for more information about that.) We've started off the new year with some excellent coffees from Burundi and chose to roast my absolute favorite, the Kayanza Mpemba. We are also offering a coffee from Zimbabwe for the first time in eight years and I am very happy to offer it as the second roasted coffee in this installment of our bi-weekly subscription.

Burundi Kayanza Mpemba City +

We had a pretty clear idea for the Burundi Kayanza Mpemba's roast profile going into our roast day. So, I decided to take the opportunity to roast a few different batches to a some different roast degrees within the city to city+ range. This mélange blend has great balance. It's one of my favorite coffees from our roasted coffee subscription so far. It has a nice vanilla sweetness and a pleasant citrus acidity that come together a bit like candied orange peel.

Zimbabwe Chipinge...

Adios! We're Out! Hooray!

March 19, 2015

Historically this is the time of year when our selection of coffee slims down dramatically, as we await new crop arrivals from some key origins. You wouldn't think that is something to celebrate... but it is!

Green coffee isn't a fresh product in the way we define other produce.  it's not lettuce or peaches, it's a dried seed. Then again it's not like that bag of dried black beans I bought 3 years ago, behind all the cans of soup in the pantry.

Coffee has seasons, and there is an ebb and flow to availability. Past crop coffee flavors are quite distinct to most palates and interfere dramatically with the flavor quality in the cup, ranging from paper/cardboard notes to burlap/dried-grass taste. Not good. 

So what's all the "Hooray!" about? We have sold out of our last lot of Central American coffee, our last arrival from the last crop, and the timing is perfect. Our new crop Centrals are knocking on the door. Mexico Chiapas is a week away, the first new harvest Guatemalas are coming right after that, and El Salvador is out in the harbor waiting in the excruciatingly long line of containers to be unloaded.

The main point is that we keep it fresh here. If you look around the net at everyone offering Centrals now, roasters and others, you can be pretty sure the clock is ticking on those coffees, and if they aren't being cupped carefully and continuously, those agey tastes are probably showing themselves pretty well. 

Luckily we have a strategy to source extensively from origins where the harvest runs contrary to Central America. That's why our list is loaded with East African coffees from Rwanda and Burundi, with Tanzania landing soon. We have South Americans from Peru and the crew is unloading Colombia today at our Wood Street warehouse. Indos are in good supply, and we have the final lots of Ethiopia that cup clean and bright tailing out of stock at this time, as new ones arrive in April.

Roast up your old stock and get ready for the new...

Happy Friday. Here's Six New Coffees.

March 13, 2015

Brazil Fazenda Borgas Yellow Bourbon is a nice basic Brazil, caramel sugar sweetness, roasted nut, and bittering cacao notes. Viscous body makes it a great option for espresso, and milk drinks.

Brazil Fazenda do Sertao is an approachable cup with a nice base bittersweetness. Expect developed sugar sweetness, hazelnut, and cacao/cocoa finish. This is a bodied cup, and will perform well as espresso or a blend component.

Burundi Bujumbura Risca has a complex profile, but cup flavors show balanced restraint. Citrus flavors and acidity meld nicely with tea and spiced top notes, all atop a base sweetness of light brown sugar.

Guatemala Antigua Estate Peaberry has a grounding sweetness of raw sugar flavors, highlighted by baking spices and mild fruit flavors of plum, apple, and nectarine. A malic acidity shines through, and adds structure across a wide roast spectrum.

Peru FTO Argión Villanueva is a great daily drinking coffee from Agrion Villanueva, toasting sugar bittersweetness dominates the cup, with faint dried apple and almond notes, and a well-integrated acidity. City roast is a shade too light and tends to be a tad 'grassy'.

Sulawesi Bone Bone Kalaciri is a bodied coffee, with best results at City+ and beyond. Flavors of muscovado sugar and brown bread take the lead, with hints of peet and tart berry trailing behind. It showcases a well-balanced base "coffee" flavor and is good for espresso.

Another Home Roaster Takes the Leap

It's becoming more common to hear of our customers growing out of their home roasting machines and starting their own businesses. It seems like there's a lot of opportunity out there with coffee drinkers being open to new business models and so many people learning how to roast great coffee at home.


Roasted Coffee: Brazil Fazenda Santa Lucia Yellow Bourbon & Java Sunda Kamojang

March 4th, 2015

This time around we decided to roast two coffees in an attempt to showcase heavier body. We chose one coffee from Brazil which is a country known for producing coffees with outstanding body. I had also noticed our offerings from Java this year possess thicker body and chose the best example from our current green coffee list.

Java Sunda Kamojang City +

We tried a few different roast approaches for the Kamojang, ending the first two on the light side of City+. These light roasts preserved a malic acidity which I thought tasted a bit like cherries. We took the rest of the batches a bit further, almost up to Full City (426 F) developing more of its toffee sweetness, and a heavy body. What you are drinking at home is a melange blend of all of these batches. It came out really nice, and blending the different batches created a cup with depth, body, and a balanced bittersweetness.

Brazil Fazenda Santa Lucia Yellow Bourbon City+

This Brazil is a pulped natural coffee, helping to produce a thick and viscous body, especially reaching toward a Full City roast level. The Santa Lucia is an excellent example of this, and expresses a heavy flavor of baker's chocolate and roasted nut. We kept this in the roaster a bit longer than most of our coffees, extending the time before first crack to near 13 minutes, trying to build sweetness without bringing on ashy flavors that tend to occur in Brazils. The overall roast times were right around 16 minutes - without reaching anywhere near 2nd snaps - and resulted in a really nice Brazil cup.

Want to sign up for Sweet Maria's bi-weekly roasted coffee pairing?...