Sweet Maria's Weblog

The "Other" Air Crazy

September 3, 2014

West Bend recently introduced a new Air Crazy popper (82418R) to their line of appliances. It shares the same name crazy name as the original version we carry (82416) but it's actually very different. We were excited to try one as a coffee roaster since it has a higher wattage. We were a bit disappointed to see that the hot air vent was at the bottom of of the cylinder which in our experience is not good for coffee roasting since chaff can get stuck under the screen and possibly cause a fire. We have heard of folks successfully using machines with "bottom screens" so we figured it wouldn't hurt to give it a shot.

Just so you don't have to keep reading to find out if it worked or not...It didn't work. Don't buy one for coffee roasting.

Still with us? Basically, this new machine just shoots a flume of hot air up the center of the bean mass, either ejecting raw beans or turning them black and oily in seconds. This is a recipe for a fire or at least a big mess. In no way is this a complaint aimed towards West Bend. They are a great company and aren't in the business of making coffee roasters so we should all consider ourselves lucky that they have, in the past, created machines that work well for roasting. These folks know their popcorn so this new device is probably excellent for popping fluffy, crispy corn.


Another Heavy Week of New Coffee Additions

August 29, 2014


Colombia Huila El Templo de Palestina is a versatile coffee, with white grape and apple, moving toward fruited chocolate and citrus rind at darker roast levels. Our next full container of Colombia coffee arrives in late September.

Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul - Edwin Castillo is an absolute stunner of a Guatemala coffee and another from our "Proyecto Xinabajul", where we pay small farmers a higher premium for their best coffees. Berry notes, Dutch cocoa, juicy fruits and malic to tartaric acidity, it's what we look for in a micro lot coffee, and worth every bit extra we paid for it!

Guatemala Huehuetenango Cuilco is a great example of how smooth and balanced Guatemalan coffees can be - dark sugars, roasted nut, body, and well-integrated acidity.

Ethiopia Kaffa - Michiti Cooperative is a Western Ethiopia coffee that boasts juicy body, and fruited notes that accentuate that aspect. Expect lots of stone fruit flavors as well as a floral element that adds complexity.

Kenya Kirinyaga Kamwangi AB has a multitude of citrus flavors and acidity, which is practically sparkling. It's a clean brewed cup, and one that I'd consider "classic" Kenya cup profile.

Kenya Nyeri Tegu Peaberry is a small bean coffee (these suckers can take quite a bit of heat!), with a cream caramel sweetness, orange marmalade, and herb tea. We found the 'sweet spot' at City+, and being so dense, it benefits a lot from a couple days rest.

Eight New Coffees Including Espresso Blends

Sweet Maria's Ethiopiques Blend, a yearly favorite. Made up of three new crop washed coffees (all 90+!), this one is an absolute killer in the espresso machine, and a super complex brewed coffee - syrupy sweetness, array of fruits, striking florals and acidity.

Sweet Maria's Altiplano Blend is also back up on the site. It's made up of 2 Guatemala coffees, as well as a newly landed Nicaragua. Totally "Classic" espresso profile, chocolate, citrus, body, and slight nuttiness in the finish. A total crowd-pleasing espresso, and great for milk drinks too!


Just Roasted - Mexico & Colombia "drinking coffees"

August 20, 2014

I define a drinking coffee as a well balanced coffee that is suited for drinking everyday. A drinking coffee is not a middle of the road, mediocre kind of coffee, but one that has the comforts most people can enjoy at anytime. A coffee that does not have too much bright acidity, or that begs for a heavy roast. Sometimes you want to call upon a coffee for a specifically defined taste characteristic (acidity notes, bouquet , fruit, etc.), and other times you just want a nice comforting well rounded coffee to stimulate your mind. I bring you these two great "drinking coffees" for this bi-weekly roasted coffee pairing

Mexico Org. Oaxaca La Lagunilla Cooperative

Clean, fresh, nice bodied cup with peanut up front. At a City+ roast I worked toward maintaining the nuttiness, tobacco qualities while holding on to the acidity to balance it out. 

Colombia Timana de Huila

Full of vanilla and sweet sugars. This Colombia was also taken to a City+ roast and really shines here. The body you can expect from a Colombia and a nice refreshing crisp quality as it cools. Sweetness surrounds this cup both hot and as it cools. 

Side note:

Both of these coffees were taken to a City+ roast but they look different in color and texture. The Mexico Org. Oaxaca La Lagunilla Cooperative is grown at a lower altitude that results in a softer, less dense bean. If you compare the texture of these two coffees you can also see a big difference here due to the altitude. In the taste test between these two drinking coffees, you will notice more acidity in the Colombia Taimana de Huila, which results in higher grown, dense coffee. :) 


-Danny Goot


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A few more coffees hit the list before heading into the weekend

August 15, 2014

Ethiopia Agaro - Nano Challa Cooperative shows cleanliness and slight effervescence. Honey sweetness, mild citrus and florals, this is a beautiful brewed cup of coffee.

Ethiopia Gr. 1 Dry Process Yirga Cheffe Kochore cupped fantastic and stands out as being full of ripe fruits, at their peak sweetness, rounded out by mixed berries, sugar browning flavors, high percentage cacao, and even slight florals. A great dessert pour over!

Colombia TImana de Huila is a great drinking coffee with balanced profile of raw sugar, subtle fruits, and slight cinnamon spice notes. This one makes a great SO espresso option too.