Sweet Maria's Weblog

Day after Day Job

Part 5: Falling through the cracks. Time management in theory and practice.

What are the greatest barriers between you and your new roasting business? There are certain to be some on your path to turning your hobby into a profession. The most common one is of course capital; the money to get started is usually the greatest stumbling block for any small business. But that said, I’m not going to spend too much time talking about it. You’ll find a way, I believe in you.

Where are you going to find the time to do what you need to do? Besides funding, time is sure to be one of the biggest transition factors in your new endeavor. In this particular scenario where we’re talking about what was once your hobby becoming your full-time job. . You may be thinking to yourself; I’m spending all my off-time roasting anyway, so now I’ll actually be making money while I do it. Well, unfortunately, very little of the time you’ll need for your new business will be spent roasting. This is why building a schedule for yourself is a must. You must be in the business of making time.

I’ll go ahead and admit to being not very good at this myself, but clearly blocking your time for your various tasks will make a tremendous difference in keeping your peace of mind. Keep your schedule sacred. You’re starting this business because you love roasting, so your roasting time must remain your roasting time. This is a good rule of thumb from a quality control perspective as well, but maintaining your focus on your roasts, while not answering emails or phone calls, will ensure that you still have that part of your day to do the thing you love.


Product Guide: Roasting Starter Kits

November 25, 2015

Roasting starter kits, what are these all about? Maybe you've been steady roasting for a while now, and sharing your roasted coffee is your gift of choice around the holidays. What if this year, you shared the gift of homeroasting instead, with one of these Starter Kits? Perhaps you've been roasting in a popcorn popper or a cast-iron skillet and it's time for an upgrade, or you could be tired of your friend, roommate, significant other smoking up the house and scorching all the baking sheets with their coffee roasting and it's time for them to go legit. Whatever your reason, these homeroasting starter kits have everything one needs to roast, track, and store their own coffee, in a nice discounted price for the bundle.


Bag it up! How Our Customers Package Their Roasts

November 24, 2015

One of the nicest things about a home roasting hobby is sharing your coffee with others. Maybe it's something special you roast up for the holidays, give to friends and neighbors on occassion, bring to work to share, or maybe you even start a little home based roasting business

We offer blank bags for roasted coffee and are always curious about how our customers are decorating them. Lately we have switched up our offerings with  Matte White bags that are easier to sticker or stamp....

Product Guide: Travel Mugs & Bottles

Nov. 24, 2015

Travel mugs are everywhere. So why does Sweet Maria's even bother selling products that you can find at department stores, convenient stores, and gas stations?  If you travel or commute a lot, a high quality, durable mug is important. Those cheap-o coffee vessels with leaky lids, thin walls and plastic interiors walls are bad news when it comes to serious daily usage.

All the travel mugs we carry are ones we use ourselves. They are vetted by our personal experience with them. They are durable, easy to clean and have a variety of capacities. Yes these brands may be a little more expensive but we have come to trust them based on experience: we trust their performance and durability.

A good travel mug or bottle needs to be easy to use too. We stay away from offering mugs with complicated levers and tight crevices. Mechanized flip tops and fancy lids are cool but after a few months, develop goop and residue (yuck) that is hard to clean, even in a dishwasher.


Nissan Leak-Proof Travel Mug

We have been selling this mug for years and it's still an employee favorite because of it's simplicity and durability. It's made to take a beating, keeps your coffee hot and is comfortable to drink from. The handle may seem cumbersome but after using it for the first time, you will find that it doesn't get in the way at all.  The carabiner is great for hanging your mug from a backpack. You can always remove it if it bugs you....

Podcast: Coffee Cultivation in Colombia PART 2

Nov. 13, 2015

PART 2 of 2

"This second part is a discussion of coffee varieties like Caturra and Castillo. This isn't really a podcast. It's a recorded Skype conversation. The quality is pretty low. But if you are dying to know details of the issues facing coffee farmers in Colombia, there's some nuggets of wisdom in here (if you can hear them over the car alarm in the background, ha ha). Leonardo Henao occupies a unique position to discuss Colombian coffee. He has training in agronomy and business, works with many small farmers around the country to source and export their coffee, is a confident cupper and roaster, and now is planting a farm in the Urrao area of Antioquia with unique (and technically forbidden) varieties of coffee like Moka, old Caturra, Gesha and Bourbon.  For most, this is dull stuff. Not for me, and maybe not for you."  -Tom

CLICK HERE to listen to part 1

...and HERE to listen on iTunes.