Sweet Maria's Weblog

New Product Photos from SCA 2018 in Seattle

April 22, 2018

Our product buyer and merchandise manager Lily just got back from the SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) trade show in Seattle. Here's a few photos of interesting brewing products that she spotted during the few minutes she had between meetings.

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Sweet Maria's Featured on The Coffee Podcast

April 18, 2018

When the folks at The Coffee Podcast were putting together a series of podcasts focused on coffee roasting, they hit us up for a quick interview about how coffee can be roasted at home. Listen in and share with a friend that needs a little motivation getting started with roasting on their own.

The first half is an interview with home roaster, Andy Snider. We suggest starting  from the beginning and listen for the transition at 15:25 where the next guest is Byron from Sweet Maria's.

You can also listen on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher and Pocketcast.

 

Podcast Episode 19: Kenya Coffee: Growing, Trading and Marketing

April 3, 2018

A while back we had Mary Maina Manyeki visit us in Oakland, and had a great conversation about her experiences as a Kenya coffee farmer. This transitioned into a more general conversation with Wycliffe, a trader and agronomist from Kenyacof, and Kat, a trader from Sucafina USA, about the coffee market in Kenya. I split that generally into Part 1 and Part 2 as the conversation was quite long! This is (again) just a lo-fi recording of a conversation about coffee, but there are many good details in here about how coffee is grown, traded and marketed from the tree to the retailer overseas. Please give it a listen, despite the lack of great production! -Tom

 

PART 1

 

PART 2

The New Postcard

Feb. 27, 2018

If you have ordered from us in the past, you know we enjoy including postcards printed with information about coffee growing origins, processing or just general insights from our position in the coffee business. We are really proud of our latest one because it captures an aspect of one of Tom's photographic projects; shooting realistic macro photos of coffee beans. One of the most challenging aspects of this is how color and brightness can differ greatly between a photo and the real thing. The light you view you coffee with matters a lot too. Look how different your coffee (or anything else) looks when you open a window or turn on a light. This something any coffee roaster should consider if attempting to compare their roasts to any type of photos.

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Proper Pants for Coffee Travels?

Feb. 20, 2018

While much is written about coffee sourcing trips to origin, little is written about pants. The journey to a coffee producing country can be long, and likely you will need pants. Once there, pants will also be useful, not just for modesty, but also protection from small shrubs, bushes if you prefer, and the taller grasses. They will also protect from some biting insects, aside from ants. Watch out for ants while sourcing coffee!

On the plane, bus or train, you are going to want style and comfort. Some of the new blended stretch fabrics are just the right ticket. They are wrinkle resistant and expand on demand ...they will “give” as you “take.” This is especially useful if you suffer bloat while airborne.

For men (and sadly I can only speak to traditional men’s styles or else this would be all about Lululemon), the classic stretch pant might be the Wrangler polyester “jean.” I put “jean” in parenthesis there, because it is not denim. But faux denim is just the ticket for extreme stretch ability. I suspect these originated in the cowboy disco era to “move with the groove.” Wrangler Poly Jean.

Another viable option comes with the Dickies label. You could go with the less flexible work pant or for the Triblend or 50/50 offerings. I find their brown pant to be most appropriate for hiding stains while journeying in coffee areas. And amazingly the color is a perfect match for Agtron 40 degree of roast!

Pant length also needs to be considered by any coffee buyer. A highwater length might be seen as declasse in Tolima, but is practically de rigeur in Jimma. But when in doubt, you usually can make the right decision by following the old saying: "business up top, party down below.”

In terms of pleats or no pleats, there is little that can be added to the debate that hasn’t already been said. But we would point out that pleats can harbor germs and small pests.

“Pants can say a lot about the man”, as a man once said. And your pants might scream out the wrong message to your coffee supply chain origin relationship partners. Short pants = no! You don’t want that! You need to be taken seriously even though you want to be “down with the people” but you aren’t.

Nor do you want to be pigeonholed as an elitist who just popped in to snap a few pictures and have some authentic experiences before returning to...