Sweet Maria's Weblog

Giotto Professional and Premium Espresso Machines

Since the SCAA show in Atlanta, I have been looking to offer a new espresso machine.  Why start to offer an expensive espresso machine in the midst of the Great Recession?  Well, I guess it is because I am contrary by nature.   And these machines are so nice! With a tool like this you  can make excellent espresso at home.   We are offering two models: the Giotto "Professional" is a plumbed-in machine that, interestingly, can also be used without plumbing it in. See my note on the details page. The rotary pump has sufficient power to draw water from an external container. The "Premium Plus" has a water reservoir and is designed to be used without plumbing lines. We tested these machines for nearly 2 months before offering them, and feel they represent both solid design and solid craftsmanship in their build. Paired with a good grinder and some basic espresso technique, you can truly produce great espresso time and time again with these machines. Both the machines are based on the same chassis and same body design, and share many components including the proven E-61 group head design. The key differences are significant, but do not make for a long list. There is the difference in pump type (the Professional, is a rotary pump machine and the Premium Plus, is a vibratory pump machine). There is the water uptake between the plumbed-in vs. non-plumbed-in designs, as well as the drip tray in the Professional that has a drain hole, whereas the Premium must be emptied manually. To be straight forward, we think that the plumbed-in Professional model suits the needs of the home enthusiast much better than the Premium Plus, and, even when run using external containers for the water supply and drip tray waste, will make for a much better experience. That's our bias. As I said, we tested the machine for 2 months or more, and have a lot more information on this Giotto Details page.

New blend - Sweet Maria's New Classic Espresso

Sweet Maria's New Classic Espresso blend We are adding a new Standard espresso blend today that we plan to keep in stock. Note that this Standard is lower-toned than our brighter lighter-roast Workshop series. This is a second take on our Classic Italian Espresso blend. Tom is calling this Sweet Maria's New Classic Espresso blend. Thick body, almond, chocolate; it's a classic Euro-style espresso profile but it's Robusta-free. A mix of traditional and modern = New Classic. Check out Tom's review

New arrival - Panama Esmeralda Gesha -Lot 2 Caballeriza

Panama Esmerelda Gesha We are happy to announce an Esmerelda Gesha today: Panama Esmeralda Gesha -Lot 2 Caballeriza, a 1500meter coffee from Jaramillo Boquete ... Please read Tom's full review but expect layers of floral and fruit tastes. We only bought this one coffee in the auction so we are limiting this coffee to 1lb so everyone can get to try it.

New Coffees, New T-shirts!

We're adding 5 very different coffees today, some very interesting new offerings and some old favorites. First up is the oft-requested and in-shop favorite Guatemala Finca San José Ocaña. This is a classic Bourbon-like wet process coffee with chocolate, concord grape, and spice. We also are adding an unusual dry-process Moka offering: Hawaii Ka'anapali Estate DP Maui Moka. Look for maple syrup, honey, oily body. We have roast suggestions in the full review. Next is a rare find from Indonesia: Sulawesi Wet-Process Toarco Peaberry, different from a wet-hulled Toarco, with a sweeter and cleaner profile and brightness. Another new Kenya to add: Kenya Nyeri AA -Kagumo Coop, a sweet, floral, bright, yet balanced coffee vac-packed at origin for freshness. And finally, it's Brazil Dry-Process Mogiana, a thick-bodied mild fruited coffee we've loved in the past, check out the full review for this and the others. We made new t-shirts! A new Logo T-shirt and a revised version of the Brave the Smoke t-shirt (the last one was from over 9 years ago, so if you have one of those - you are an old-timer! -Maria

Roast Coffee Pairing #17: Kenya v. Kenya

Why do we offer so many coffees from the same origin? Well, we thought we would illustrate the differences between lots from the same country, same crop year, same processing, to show how different one coffee can be from the next when you are dealing with the specific lots the way we are. With generic, blended Kenya AA or AB coffees, there is probably more similarity than difference. But with our farm or co-op specific lots, there are marked differences. First up we have the Kenya Kirinyaga AA -Gakuyu-ini Factory, this was roasted to a City roast level to ensure the delicate citrus notes are to the fore.  Who wants candy?  A mere hour after roasting this roast is cupping amazingly sweet, so refined and balanced.  Roast times were a brief 14 minutes for each 20 pound batch with final thermoprobe temperatures of 420 degrees.  As a contrast, the second coffee we roasted is the Kenya Kirinyaga -Karinga Peaberry with a more rounded cup profile with a nice helping of jammy sweetness.  Again this 20 pound batch (slightly on the small side for or 12K Probat) was roasted for 14 minutes with final thermoprobe temperature of 420 degrees.  Each week I am attempting to match the roast level of the two different coffees unless the pairing calls for specific roast profiles.  We want you to taste the amazing origin characteristics on display in these fantastic lots straight from the “factories” in Kenya.