Sweet Maria's Weblog

Cascara Cherry: Coffee...Tea...Food?

Sept. 18, 2015

In previous years, our Cascara reviews started out with "coffee, tea..or both!". Well, this year we’ve tagged onto this…”or a snack?”. That's right, we're sitting around eating the stuff, something we just wouldn’t do with previous lots. But this one’s crunchy, tart, sweet, and tastes a lot like dried cranberries...I mean, who wouldn’t want to eat it?! So what makes this cascara different from the sort of “traditional” cascara of years past? While this cascara looks similar at a glance, the work behind producing it is substantially different. This isn’t just a by-product of the coffee processing; it is a very intentional product, using different methods that belong more to a food processing facility than a rural coffee mill. But I think I’m getting a little ahead of myself. First, a little background is necessary in order to provide context. 

What is “Cascara Tea?”


Cascara (or Qishr/Gesher as it's called in Yemen/Ethiopia) is the Spanish term for the dried coffee fruit skin. The fruit of the coffee cherry makes up over 50% of the total coffee cherry mass. During the pulping process, this fruit is removed from the seed and exhausts through a channel into an area separate from the beans. That’s quite a bit of potential waste. Traditionally, the cherry is mainly reused for fertilizing the farm, a nice way to complete and then begin a new life cycle, right? But somewhere along the way in Yemen, the potential to dry the cherry and use as a tea-like beverage was realized, and the production of Qishr tea was born. It tastes tart and sweet, a bit weightier in body than most teas, and considering that the...

Fresh Roasted Coffee

Sept. 17, 2015

Roasted Guatemala Antigua Pulcal Inteligente - from the Antigua region of Guatemala with honey sweetness and blackberry acidity. Roast level: City

Roasted Honduras San Fernando Rodriguez Pacamara - with flavors of tamarind, date, sweet tobacco. Roast level: City+

Roasted Rwanda Nyamasheke Mutovu Cooperative - roasted for single origin espresso has flavors of caramel, cocoa, sweet spice, and a citrus acidity. Roast level: Full City


We have all of these coffees in their green, un-roasted form too.

-Guatemala Antigua Pulcal Inteligente

-Honduras San Fernando - Rodriguez Pacamara

-Rwanda Nyamasheke Mutovu Cooperative

Coffee Roasting Demo at Eat Real Food Festival

Sept. 16, 2015

If you are going to be in or around Oakland this weekend, join us for our coffee roasting demo at the Eat Real food festival. This annual festival takes place at Jack London square which just happens to be about 2 miles away from our warehouse. We are packing up a trusty hot air popcorn popper and some green coffee to show coffee lovers how easy it is to roast their own coffee at home. We'll be on the Marina Dock at 2pm but come by the dock early to check out Black Medicine's iced pressure brewed coffee tasting that takes place right before our demo. If you want to rush home after the demo to dust off your electric popper and try it yourself, we are bringing free samples of green coffee for you roast.

If you love (or even just "like") food, you owe it to yourself to spend the day at Eat Real...and don't eat before you come. The selection of food vendors is always amazing.


Sept. 19, 2015

Jack London Square

Embarcadero West, Oakland, CA 94607

2pm at the Marina Dock

Click Here for the Facebook event page.





Send us Your Dog Photos

September 16, 2015

It's that time of year again. We are hard at work on our annual Dogs of Coffee Calendar and we need your help. In the past, the inside-back cover has been a collage of dogs belonging to our crew or just dogs that didn't make it to the main pages. This year, we want your dog to be there. So send us your favorite pic of your favorite mutt, pup, pug, pitty, lab, poodle, pug-er-doodle or lab-a-poodle and we'll do our best to have them show up in the 2016 Sweet Maria's Dogs of Coffee Calendar.

  • If you send a photo of your cat, bird, chicken, etc, we'll consider it, but no promises.
  • Email photos to sweetmariascoffeedogs@gmail.com or send them to us via Facebook orTwitter.
  • Make sure your photo is in focus. We love fuzzy dogs...not fuzzy photos.
  • If there's some sort of coffee theme in the photo, that improves the chances of of it being selected. No humans please ...a selfie of you with your dog isn't going in. 
  • We can't guarantee that your dog will make it onto the calendar. We'll try!



Nine Great New Coffees

Sept. 11, 2015

Colombia El Nogal Tabi Cultivar - with raw sugar and cane juice sweetness,dried fruit, grape and a floral accent. Both body and sweetness are thick, balancing inherent bittering "coffee" tones well. Great in the middle roast range.

Colombia Urrao -Familia Moreno Microlot - blackberry syrup and cardamom spice notes, along with dried cherry and rindy citrus. A cool cup reveals a tart and floral hibiscus tea flavor.

Colombia Valle de Pavón -Los Palomos - Fruit-forward profile -pineapple, mango, guava, berry and raisin. Spice and floral accents round out this beauty. Good for espresso.

Ethiopia Illubabor Baaroo Cooperative - juicy stone fruit notes, honeyed sweetness, body, floral and spice accents. Tied together by integrated citrus-like acidity. No jarring 'snap', but like lemon oil, a thing of beauty. Good for espresso.

Guatemala Cuilco -Finca El Regalito - Deep toffee sweetness and fruit notes like golden raisin, date, nectarine and apricot, are tied together by elegant, malic acidity. Great for espresso.

Guatemala Cuilco Villatoro-Castillo Microlot - marmalade, dark fruits, tart berry with amazing acidity. Middle roasts have juicy fruits, dense caramel, and citrus brilliance. Great for espresso.

Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul  -Libertad Selvin - cherry popsicle, grape/grape skins, black currant and aroma of peach preserves. Floral honey to cane juice, sweetness has a balancing affect on bittersweet and spiced cocoa notes. Great for espresso

Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul -Don Baudilio - Caramel and nougat, toffee almond, subtle baking spice and fruit...