Sweet Maria's Weblog

New Coffee: Blends Galore, Single Origins and Cascara

Sept. 4, 2015
Sweet Maria's Ethiopiques Blend - Incredible espresso and brewed coffee with ultra sweet chocolate flavors, with citrus complexity and prevalent floral characteristics. It's definitely on the wilder side of espresso, but without being "over the top".
Sweet Maria's Altiplano Blend - Lighter roasts show convincing levels of brightness and sweetness, with faint fruit and cocoa top notes. FC and beyond boosts body, sweetness, and chocolate roast complexity. Great for espresso.
Sweet Maria's Workshop #36 - Subiramo - berries, tropical fruit and cooked plum - with darker roasts folding in equal parts bittersweet cocoa roast tones. These characteristics are distilled in espresso shots, with flashes of baking spice and even a floral grace note.
Costa Rica Helsar Cascara - Fruit Tea - It's tea, made from coffee, and you can eat it! These dehydrated coffee cherries are crispy, tart and sweet. No roasting necessary, just steep a fruited tea, or use as a snack in place of dried fruit. Flavors of hibiscus, tamarind, passion fruit, apple, raisin. With or without sweetener, this one's great. Packaged in 4 oz bags.
Colombia Planadas Tolima Decaf - has a beautiful sweetness for decaf coffee, a mix of raw cane juice and demurara sugar. Mild fruit tones come up with banana bread aromatics and red apple in the cup, along with barley tea finish. Good for espresso.

Fresh Roasted Coffee

Sept. 3, 2015

Roasted Ethiopia Guji Zone Akrabi - This coffee shows sweet fruits and soft citrus notes as the cup cools. Honey and muscovado sugar sweetness long into the finish. City roast.

Roasted Rwanda Kivu Kanzu - Brown sugar sweetness, cinnamon aroma, very pleasantly bittersweet - dark cocoa and caramel flavor. City+ roast.

Roasted Liquid Amber Espresso Blend - It's ideal for milk drinks, as this intense bittersweet cuts through the steamed milk. Rustic sweetness, spice, savory notes, long aftertaste. Monsooned coffee and a small percentage of Robusta add crema and body. Roasted to Full City.

Roasted Espresso Monkey Blend  - This coffee is balanced between high and low tones, fruited-chocolate roast flavors, and slightly rustic fruited accent notes. Roasted to Full City.


We also have all of these coffees in stock, in their green, unroasted form. Pick some up along with your roasted coffee and compare your roasts to ours. You may be surprised at how a roasting method and technique can affect the end result and at how there are a lot of "right" ways to roast coffee.

Unroasted Ethiopia Guji Zone Akrabi

Unroasted Rwanda Kivu Kanzu

Unroasted Liquid Amber Espresso Blend

Unroasted Roasted Espresso Monkey Blend



A New Guatemala Sample Set & Five New Coffees

August 28, 2015


Single Origin Sample Set: Guatemala - features 1 pound bags of coffee from the current offers on our list. These are all wet-processed coffees.
Brazil Tres Vecinos Peaberry - balanced with a nice ratio of sugar-to-bittersweet flavors. Roasted nut is present in the lightest roasts, . Slight fruited notes pop out as the cup cools, and the finish is highlighted by fading bittersweet chocolate. Great for espresso
Congo Kivu Nyirigongo Station - has healthy doses of unrefined sugars and aromatic woods. A sweet coffee (deeply sweet, really), albeit rustic and with a counterbalance of bittersweet aspects. As it cools fruits really come alive, rindy citrus, boysenberry, and red raisin, along with dry-spice top notes.
Ethiopia Dry Process "Gey" Harar - one of the better Harar selections we've tasted in a while. Very sweet, mixed-berry jam and a hint of papaya, with an overlay of earth-toned sugars. A strong note of dried apple comes out as the cup cools,
Guatemala Acatenango San Diego Buena Vista - notes of brown sugar, almond, spiced cinnamon and vanilla essence notes in the aftertaste. Full City ushers in high % cacao bar flavors, slightly fruited and with a pleasant bittering touch. There's a great relationship between sweetness and bittersweetness
Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul -Palacios y Castillo - A rock-solid brewed coffee with nectarine and green apple tartness, along with a juicy mouthfeel. There's a lemon note , functioning more as flavor than acidity. The structuring brightness in the middle-roast range is much more in line with ripe peach (skin and all) or red apple.


The Goal

August 27, 2015

We have a new architecture underlying the commerce side of our web site. It's been a retrograde step in terms of front-end features (and back-end too), but it's been a necessary step to get to where we want to go. I wrote  a long, phlegmatic blog post with a very selective history of our shopping carts, and expressing current frustrations from our end (which I know echo frustrations of those using our cart now). A scintillating read. But on the more positive side, I wanted to share some mockup images of what we are developing for the site now. These are my crude photoshop mockups, so don't look too, too carefully. But they sketch out the features we are aiming for. We should some of these features available first week of September.

Green Coffee List


The SM Web Site Saga by T.O.

August 27, 2015

I wanted to share ideas about the future of our Green Coffee List and our Reviews, so click here to jump down the page if you want to skip all my phlegmatic ramblings and see the mockup images that envision our future Green Coffee List. -Tom

(The SM website banner circa 2006)

The Backdrop

I'm not going to be opaque here ... things have been rough on us the last few months.  It has led me to some reflection about 17 years of Sweet Maria's. Please excuse my candor; my style is not the usual press-release pablum.

The web has changed so much since those days when I used a text editor to write basic html and upload the first Sweet Maria's site. That was late 1997, not the early internet by any means, but also not the fancy graphicized browsing experience of 2010 nor the mobile-centric internet of today. 

I reluctantly signed on to a basic shopping cart (Miva Merchant - it still exists!) in 2000 or so, because I just couldn't handle phone and fax orders at that point. And my "secure order form" that was called up by https but sent an unencrypted email (!) wasn't really up to snuff. But in 2000, it wasn't a big issue. These days, both the security requirements and the demand for features is way beyond any of my simple abilities. I'm just a user, I left the room at Dreamweaver 8.0 

Even then, and more-so now, our site is a lumbering behemoth. There are many thousands of unique pages, so many old articles (many still worth preserving, some outdated), thousands of archived reviews, old travelogues, all these are tremendously important to me. Yes, we were always a store too. But shopping wasn't the only activity I was aiming at with this endeavor.  I wanted Sweet Maria's to be a lot more because my focus was and is much more: I wanted Sweet Maria's to reflect myself and my interests in coffee, in culture, and in a broadening understanding of both. 

Sadly, a lot of people are going to be so frustrated trying to find all that content, or to place an order in a reasonable amount of time, that they aren't going to have the patience to share that vision. It's an overreaction I know, but my feeling the last months has been that Sweet Maria's sucks, because our site sucks, and the site is basically our connection with our audience. That hasn't stopped me from my job sourcing coffee, from traveling, making videos and podcasts etc. But it's been a pall...