Sweet Maria's Weblog

Clever Dripper Pricing: The Inside Scoop

June 16, 2015

Ever notice how a lot of products sold online share the same price? This is due to MAP (Minimum Advertised Pricing). Whomever is selling these products to retailers asks that they don't sell them for under a set amount. This is the best way to keep all involved companies sustainable and to maintain the value of the products being sold.

So why are we enrolling you in Merchandising 101? Well, it's because we are dealing with a frustrating issue that we wanted to be transparent about. From a business standpoint, it's a bit illogical to write an article all about how you can purchase a product that we sell, for less, from someone else, but we think this is pretty important.

As you may know, Sweet Maria's and our wholesale company, Coffee Shrub are the importers of the Clever Coffee Dripper. This means Sweet Maria's sells them directly to our customers and Coffee Shrub sells them by the case for a discounted price to retailers. We ask our retailers to sell them for an amount no higher than the price we sell them for. This keeps things fair across the board. MAP is a standard way of selling products...car parts, electronics, cosmetics, garden supplies, etc.

So here's the issue. The Clever Dripper is sold by a number of resellers on Amazon.com. When one of these resellers drops their price below MAP, it's difficult to track them down and ask them to raise their price. We are normally able to contact them and the price is set back to normal but in the meantime, the other companies selling the Clever are at a huge disadvantage and lose money.

So, I Should Pay More, Just to Support This MAP Thing?

It's totally up to you, but there are a lot of companies out there that are dedicated to selling quality coffee products at sustainable prices. Companies that break MAP are looking to shave a few sales away from these honest companies. Some MAP violators will even lower their prices during evening and early morning hours to fly under the radar. The extra dollar or so that you pay to buy from an honest reseller helps them to stay in business and continue to offer great coffee gear.

I noticed someone selling Clevers on Amazon for less but the dripper looks different...

Here's 8 New Coffees

June 15, 2015

Bolivia Organic Caranavi Imperial - date sugar sweetness, notes of dried apricot/raisin and a hazelnut-chocolate flavor in the finish.

Bolivia Organic Taypipla Estate - base sweetness of brown sugar is topped with notes of dried berries, black currant, and dark chocolate.

Colombia Inza de Cauca - fruit flavors and acidity, along with burned sugars and fine dark chocolate. Good for espresso too.

Panama Horqueta La Gloria Estate - cane juice backed by bittering cacao notes, roasted almond and a pleasant tea-like acidity.

Kenya Gatundu Karinga AA - concord grape, plum, black currant and deep brown sugar sweetness. All the exotic Kenya flavor without extreme citric brightness. Good for espresso too.

Kenya Kiamabara Kii Peaberry - loaded with pink grapefruit and fresh orange juice, cane sugar/simple syrup sweetness, and floral citrus oil.

Sumatra Lintong Dolok Sanggul - great rustic syrupy sweetness, cinnamon bark and black tea. Malty roast taste, and fruited chocolate.

Tanzania Mara Tarime - sweet and bittersweet notes, features blackberry fruit, bakers chocolate bittersweet flavor, with a spiced accent. Exceeded our expectations at both light and darker roast levels.

Roasted Coffee Subscription: Rwanda Kivu Kanzu and Organic Uganda Cheema Kapchorwa

Friday June 12th 2015

We have two coffees from East Africa for this installment of the bi-weekly roasted coffee subscription. I like to choose at least one coffee we describe as "approachable", this time around the Certified Organic Uganda Cheema Kapchorwa fitting the bill.

The Cheema Kapchorwa has good overall body and sweetness as well as very low acidity. It is a great coffee for folks who don't usually go for the fruity and floral tastes in other African coffees and more similar to a Central American coffee. I roasted it to a Full City level in order to develop more sweetness. This cup has flavors of dark cacao, roasted nut, raw honey, and vanilla. It's something that everyone in the household can enjoy.

I also do my best to choose a second coffee that has a little more to it. Whether it is in the acidity or sweetness or just an interesting origin, I look for something that might peak a bit more interest for the avid coffee drinker in the house. The Kivu Kanzu from Rwanda fills this second slot. I chose to roast this coffee to a City+ roast level. This coffee reminds me of black tea with a twist of lemon and a little honey stirred in. The citrus acidity also has a hint of green melon as it settles on my palate and there is a bit of caramelized sugar in the finish. This is a well balanced cup.

I roasted a...

The Nostalgia Electric Coffee Roaster (Popcorn Popper)

June 3, 2015

We usually have our popper antennaes up, searching for popcorn poppers that will roast coffee. After some testing, we found that this air popper by Nostalgia is great for coffee roasting. It has vents on the sides of the roasting cylinder, the plastic body is thick and it gets hot enough to turn coffee brown.

We will continue to sell the Westbend Air Crazy (it will be back in stock soon) but thought we should offer this one as well since good coffee roasting poppers can be hard to find.


What's the difference between the Nostalgia and the Westbend?

Aside from aesthetics and the thickness of the clear plastic lid, the main difference is our lack of experience roasting with a Nostalgia. We have used and abused the Air Crazy for years and can stand by their durabilty. We use them in ways we shouldn't during testing and roasting demonstrations and they have held up better than expected. We have tested our Nostalgia as much as possible over a short period of time and have had great results but we aren't sure how well it will perform in the long run (we'll let you know in a few months).


Why is it $10 cheaper?

Who knows. In most cases we don't have much control over the price of the products we sell and there's so much that happens as appliances like these follow the path from design stages to store shelves. The only difference in quality we really noticed is the thinner plastic lid. If you will be using the lid every time you roast, expect it to warp, especially around the slots near the opening....

Here Comes a Tidal Wave of New Coffees

Colombia Herrera Finca Las Florestales - flavors of berry jam, fresh squeezed orange juice, kaffir lime note and cacao nibs and ripe plum with immense body in darker roasts
Colombia Elias Finca El Azulejo - is balanced, with sweet caramel juxtaposed by roasted nut, and a rindy citrus note. As it cools, the profile gives way to honey and black tea. A well-rounded coffee, and one that will prove well in espresso applications too.
Ethiopia Guji Zone Akrabi - is laden with unrefined sugars and florals, like muscovado sugar and lilac...also sweet fruits, and soft citrus notes.