Sweet Maria's Weblog

Revisiting our Current Burundi Selections

August 11, 2015

Before our Burundi stock is completely whittled away, I thought now's good a time as any to pull samples of current coffees to taste how they're holding up. We also happen to be cupping very fresh Burundi samples from the new harvest - selections still a few months away from being available - and so a chance to see how the current lots stand up to incredibly fresh coffees from the same stations. I have to say, the level of quality in the coffees we're selling is astonishing, and a testament to the affects proper rest has on a coffee's cup-profile. Flavors taste fully-realized and without any of the 'edginess' that comes with real freshness.

We're down to two final coffees, surprisingly unique from one to the next. Both were roasted to right around City+ for the cup notes. I also happened to roast one batch of Ruyaga to Full City (don't walk away from your roaster!), a happy accident that spawned a few shots of espresso. ...

Five New Coffees

August 7, 2015
Our first coffees from Urrao, Antioquia have arrived - Colombia Cup of Antioquia - Hugo Sepulveda, and Colombia Cup of Antioquia - Jose Leobardo. Both coffees were in the top 50 of 2014, Hugo actually took 5th place, quite a feat when you consider there were over 800 entries last year! These two coffees represent our introduction to the region of Urrao, a highland are tucked away in the northwest corner of Antioquia with a strong small-holder coffee growing tradition. We paid a handsome price for these two coffees to keep them out of the auctions. They show extremely unique cup profiles - cleanly fruited and integrated acidity - and perhaps most importantly, this purchase helped solidify our interest in growing a buying program in the region. Consider these a window into "what's to come", as we have 1/2 container-full of Urrao micro lots and blends landing in the next couple weeks.
Colombia Cup of Antioquia - Hugo Sepulveda - cups like a competition winner - fruit punch, stewed stone fruits, mulling spice hints and well-integrated acidity. Descriptors build as the cup cools, an array of fruit-juice flavors, backed with thick, honey sweetness, and mouth-cleansing finish.


Colombia Cup of Antioquia - Jose Leobardo - cups with fruit-forward complexity, from tart berry to orange-infused honey. The body is lush like fruit juice, and deeper roasts bring on a delicious dark-chocolate flavor to the mix. Amazing for espresso.



Fresh Roasted Coffee

August 6, 2015

Here's four new coffees just roasted yesterday. Enjoy!

Burundi Kibande Ruyaga roasted to City+This coffee has flavors caramel, honey sweetness, citrus acidity.

Cameroon Mifi Bamboutos Mountain roasted to City+. This coffee has flavors of pumpkin, sweet yam, brown sugar and spice.

Moka Kadir Blend roasted to Full City. This coffee has flavors of dried apricot, plum, tobacco, layered chocolate and dense, thick body.

Espresso Workshop #35 - Aruuugas! roasted to Full City. This coffee has complex chocolate tones, citrus zing and dark fruit notes.

Podcast: Morning Sounds from my Coffee Travels

August 4, 2015

For many years I have recorded the ambient sounds I awake to while traveling in coffee-producing countries. Without many podcast ideas lately, and not really wanting to hear myself talk much, I thought these might be interesting to hear as ambient sound. But I found I had to add a voice-over track to explain where I was, and what was happening at the time. Oh well, here it is...



Click here to listen to the rest of our podcasts.

Let's Take a Break and Have Some Coffee


Taking a look at our offer lists the last few days, I realize that a huge part of our job is keeping coffees separate. Sure, we excel in many other areas too (we are coffee "sourcerers" afterall!), but after taking into account that we currently have over 80 different lots of coffee for sale between Coffee Shrub and Sweet Maria's, I find myself greatly appreciating our warehouse crew's attention to detail, keeping each lot separate from the filling stage all the way to the picked and packaged orders.


Starting here as a warehouse worker myself, I know that even without tasting all of our coffees you get a sense of just how diverse coffee can be - from the array of 'green' smells released from a fresh bag of raw coffee, to the visual differences that come with varying processing methods and varietals. But when it comes to comparing coffees, there really is no substitute for tasting. And that's what we did this week - gather the whole Sweet Maria's team around a folding table to taste and talk about four very different coffees.


The Gangs All Here


This wasn't about parsing out obscure flavor descriptors, or looking for minor differences in cleanliness and acidity. It was to illustrate that in some cases, the stark contrasts we see/sense in the green coffees we handle are just as easily tasted in the brewed coffee. You don't need a refined palate to taste the difference between Yemen and Sumatra, or dry and wet processed coffees from the same part of Ethiopia. And if you're anything like me, tasting different flavor profiles from one coffee to the next only reinforces the way I remember these coffees. 


But perhaps most important, everyone had something to say about the flavors they tasted. You don't have to be a professional coffee taster to do this, and when putting exotic coffees such as these on the table, everyone invariably had a lot to say. So we took a break, tasted coffees together, and talked about the "how"s and "why"s of four very unique cup profiles.