Sweet Maria's Weblog

cups of excellences

Take a look over to the right column of this here humble "BLOG" and you see our latest arrivals of coffee. Lo and Behold! Actual lots from the Rwanda and Bolivia Cup of Excellence competitions. As the coffee buyer and cupper here at SM, even I can't quite believe they actually arrived. Sometimes it seems that the deliveries of these lots take longer and longer and longer. When was I at the Rwanda CoE? Last August? What month is it now, April? Lordy. The good news is this: we have been vacuum packing all of our CoE lots, and they are cupping incredibly good, super clean, vividly bright. Be they tardy as all get out, vacuum packaging has been the savior of these long lost lots, and they are just as they were on the cupping table at the event. The reviews are thorough, check them out ... -Tom

Trip reports from Central America

[caption id="attachment_277" align="alignnone" width="289" caption="Volcan Baru from the Volcancito side"]Volcan Baru from the Volcancito side[/caption]Tom's trip reports from the trip he made in late March to Panama, Costa Rica and Nicaragua are just posted. The trips were short - but action packed! Lots of good information about what we can expect in terms of coffees from the new crop in these countries. And of course, lots of fun photos.- Maria

Songs about Sweet Maria's

Songs about Sweet Maria's, originally uploaded by sweetmarias.

Derek had found sheet music for a song titled Sweet Maria, so I thought I would search the world wide web for other Sweet Maria's references. Wow. Uh, check out the pink panther there too. (?!?)

weighing in, jinotega, nicaragua

A short video clip from last Saturday.

cupped out

Ugh! It's not the quantity of coffee samples you cup each day ... sometimes it's all about the way you cup them. When coffee is really good, it demands your full concentration. I started this morning at 9 AM, but by 4 PM (with no breakfast or lunch, just some fruit and bread between rounds) I am flat out finished. In the early cuppings, I noticed the bowls were about half empty by the time the 4 cuppers were finished (Francisco Mena, the exporter with Exclusive Coffees; Tim O'Brien of Cafetin San Martin, one of the best farmer groups here, Myself, and Mary of Electric City coffee, from the hometown of Michael Scott). Anyway, by the time the last round came around, the bowls look barely touched. Everyone was "conserving their slurps". I have cupped way more samples than this in a day, but not with the intensity we all brought to this cupping. It's such a physical feat, and somewhat exploitative to use your palate this way. It becomes like a tool, like a hammer you are pounding all day until your wrist is sore. But the coffees this season are so good from Costa Rica, well, the boutique little micro-lots specifically. The crop volume is down, but some of these coffees are just spectacular. It could be the cumulative affect, but I think I scored more cups over 90 day than any I can remember. To keep it real, I will take green samples home and recup them in the comfort of my own lab, to make sure I wasn't suffering from traveler's euphoria (or caffeine-induced exuberance). On the flip side, it is great to be excited about CR again. To put it in perspective, this is an origin that had industrialized it's production, all coffees sold under generic mill marks, so much land planted in the awful super-productive Costa Rica 95 Catimor cultivar, that I had given up hope a few years ago. Anyway, be prepared for us to through a bazilion amazing Costa Rica micro-lots at you again this year, my apologies in advance. Helsar Del Zarcero Micro Mill: