Latest Posts

  1. Video: Guatemala 2019 Coffee Clips

    Video: Guatemala 2019 Coffee Clips

    A few fairly low tech clips and some thoughts on coffee processing and coffee buying in Guatemala.

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  2. Aillio Bullet Roasters. Sold Out...Again. Why!?!?!

    Aillio Bullet Roasters. Sold Out...Again. Why!?!?!

    Sometimes you don't want to dodge a Bullet

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  3. A Symbol Of Sweet Maria's Past

    A Symbol Of Sweet Maria's Past

    The original sign from our original storefront.

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  4. Sweet Maria's Emailer 12/13/2018

    Sweet Maria's Emailer 12/13/2018

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  5. All About The Clever Coffee Dripper

    All About The Clever Coffee Dripper

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  6. Choosing a Pour Over Brewer

    Choosing a Pour Over Brewer

    Three questions you should ask yourself.

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  7. We Are Not Nuts Over Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

    We Are Not Nuts Over Styrofoam Packing Peanuts

    We hope to protect your breakables with environmentally safe packing material sooner than later.

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  8. Larry Cotton's Dog Bowl Roaster

    Larry Cotton's Dog Bowl Roaster

    Sweet Maria's customer, Larry Cotton's awesome heat gun/dog bowl roaster featured in Make: Magazine

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  9. Bullet R1 Roaster Maintenance: Basic Cleaning

    Bullet R1 Roaster Maintenance: Basic Cleaning

    Tips for keeping your Bullet R1 clean. How often depends on how much you roast per week or month! But a clean roaster is a happy roaster...

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  10. Aeropress Plunger Cleaning

    Aeropress Plunger Cleaning

    If your Aeropress plunger is excreting some sticky stuff. Don't worry, it's harmless but you probably still want to know how to clean it off, right?

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  11. The Bullet R1 Meet Up. Video & Highlights

    The Bullet R1 Meet Up. Video & Highlights

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  12. Sweet Maria's Supports Doctors Without Borders

    Sweet Maria's Supports Doctors Without Borders

    Sweet Maria's is supporting Doctors Without Borders throughout September

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Farm Gate Coffee™

Farm Gate Coffee™

Farm Gate Coffee is the name we give to our direct trade coffee buying program. Farm Gate pricing means that we have negotiated a price directly with the farmer "at the farm gate," that is, without any of the confusing export and import fees. The prices we pay for our coffees are above Fair Trade minimums, and with our Farm Gate coffees we can easily verify that the good price we pay makes it to the people who do the work, and are responsible for the great cup quality of our coffee. Farm Gate is a simple principle that allows coffee producers to make premium prices in reward for coffee quality, and to reinvest to improve quality even more in the future.

We guarantee that Farm Gate prices are 50% over Fair Trade (FT) pricing, but often they are 100%+ more that FT minimums. We support FT, and continue to offer FT lots. Fair Trade is a co-op certification - that is, it does not allow certification for small independent farms - it is for co-ops only. We do support coffee co-ops, but they are often not what consumers might think. There are many excellent co-ops, and many that are large, powerful, corrupt, and mired in bureaucracy. We avoid the bureaucracy of coops that sometimes do not share premium prices with their farmer members. Fair Trade certifies that the co-operative received the FT price, but it does not guarantee that the men and women who produce your coffee were paid the FT price. Fair Trade is also not based on the quality of the product, so in many ways it has a commodity mindset at its core, that coffee is coffee, just like corn is corn.

On the flip side, bear in mind that FT is a global standard, is verified by certifiers that make regular (if infrequent) visits to the coops. We don't have a third-party certifier. Instead we substitute our direct involvement at ground level in the buying process with farms, and we know what they received if we are paying them through a middle-person. In this scheme, exporters and importers have a changing role, offering a service as logistics coordinators (and an important one at that) rather than coffee resellers. Any coffee bought off an importer/broker list does not qualify for Farm Gate, and we do still buy some coffees that way because they are good quality. Further, lots from origins where hundreds of tiny farms contribute to even the smallest importable lots, such as Sumatra, or Yemen, can't qualify for Farm Gate in many cases nor can Auction Lot Kenyas, even though we pay extremely high prices for all these coffees, and know from direct observation that a premium reaches the farmer.

Please enjoy our crude Farm Gate Logo with the knowledge that it doesn't cost 10¢ to put it on a coffee bag, the FT advertising fee on top of all other fees, that goes to Transfair USA .