Sweet Maria's Weblog

Indonesia: A Live Talk with Thompson Owen

Oct. 17, 2017

Tom travels a lot and shoots a lot of great photos. Come by on 10/25. He has an amazing Indonesia slideshow lined up and entertaining stories about his travels. This is an opportunity for you to gain insight on an aspect of coffee that few people experience.


RSVP by emailing byron@sweetmarias.com

Wednesday, October 25th, 2017

7pm - 8pm

Sweet Maria's Coffee


Behmor Roast Profile: Ethiopia Agaro Duromina Cooperative


-October 6, 2017

It'd been a while since I fired up a Behmor 1600 plus, and so I made a bit of a refresher course for myself out of this roast profile review. I burned through about a dozen batches (a couple of them quite literally!) before coming up with the profile outlined below, testing different roast presets and manual modes for a range of coffee origins.

For those not familiar with the Behmor, it's a really efficient table-top roasting machine no larger than a medium sized microwave oven, and with somewhat shared exterior aeshtetics. The interior roasting chamber houses a grid drum that rotates in front of a set of quartz heating elements that are mounted at the back of the roaster's interior. It comes with several preset roast profiles designed to account for personal roast preference, varying bean sizes, moisture content, and densities, as well as ways to augment those profiles in order to fit specific roasting needs. For thos wanting more control over roast dynamics, you can put the machine into manual mode where you're able to choose from five different heat settings (including turning off heat altogether), and two different drum speeds. We've published a few articles outlining the Behmor 1600 plus features, so I won't go into too much detail here, and those looking for more general product information can look HERE.

I learned pretty quickly that simply going full bore with heat in manual roast mode is not necessarily a sound approach with the Behmor. As a safety precaution, the roaster completely shuts down when the temperature sits areound 325-330F, displaying an error code on the LED screen, a function I learned aobut the hard way (see comment in parenthesis in my first paragraph!). So I found myself trying to ride the outer edge of heat intensity by intermittently changing heat application in order to avoid the disastrous over temp shutdown. It's a bit like trying to slow a spilling cup of water - easy to overcompensate, and certainly leading to either losing too much heat or shutting the roaster off altogether.

With all this in mind, I settled on trying to find a decent roast profile for Ethiopia Agaro Duromina Cooperative. In light to middle roasts, Duromina is fairly fruit forward for a wet processed Ethiopian coffee, packed...

A Closer Look at Ethiopia Nansebo as Espresso

Sept. 28, 2017

East African espressos aren't for everyone. I get it. The acidity level of washed Kenyas and Yirga Cheffes can be overwhelming, especially when roasted anywhere north of Full City+. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, and when it comes to espresso, our recent arrival Ethiopia Sidama Nansebo is an Ethiopian single origin (SO) espresso worth considering.

As brewed coffee, Nansebo stands out. It has some of the hallmark characteristics of Sidamas - foral, stone fruit, citrus and more - but in lower volume than others on our list. But what really stood out is your ability to easily manipulate the cup characteristics with roast development, taking a bright, citric cup, to a muted, bodied and incredibly honey-sweet coffee with just a few shades of roast development. Add to this versatility big body regardless of roast level, and you have a great SO espresso candidate.

For the sake of showcasing this flavor shift by roast development, I roasted one batch to City+, and the other a stretched Full City ("stretched" meaning I drew out the time after first crack by dropping heat in order to develop sweetness). I'm roasting in a Quest M3s sample roaster with a batch size of 85 grams, and using only airflow adjustments to influence roast development (you can read more about that on our Shrub site, here).

My City+ roast had a first crack (1C) time of 6:15, temperature of 396F, and finish time of 9:00 minutes, temp 419F. Full City roasting was achieved with a 1C time of 6:05, temp 395F, and finish time of 9:40, 428F. I maxed airflow across the drum at the beginning of 1C, a minute sooner than the City+ roast, in order to draw out sweetness and mute perceived acidity. 


Sweet Maria's is Hiring

Sept. 22, 2017

Sweet Maria’s Coffee is hiring a customer service staff member to work in our Oakland retail location.

Job Responsibilities Include:

  • Answering brewing, roasting and green coffee questions via email, phone, and in-person
  • Troubleshooting checkout and website issues with customers
  • Processing online orders

  • Keeping retail space clean and stocked
  • Demonstrating home roasting machines for customers
  • Help creating written and video content

Sweet Maria's Coffee has been in business for 20 years, sourcing small lots of specialty coffee beans and making them available to home coffee roasters. We also provide an extensive online coffee library and offer support to new and experienced home roasters. Our business is mainly internet based, but we have a small retail space connected to our warehouse where you would be working.

This is an hourly, full-time position with health insurance, paid vacation, sick time, and profit sharing. Hours are Monday-Friday from 9-5. Submit resume by email to vivian@sweetmarias.com and include "Customer Service Position" in the subject line. Let us know your experience in coffee or why the job interests you...

Send Your Pet Photos to the 2018 Sweet Maria's Calendar Casting Call

September 20, 2017

We are back at it, working on next year's calendar. Last year, it was all cats. This year, the main pages will feature dogs but the traditional inside-back cover will be a collage filled with photos of our customers' pets...of all species. Send us your favorite photo of your non-human companion and we'll do our best to have it end up in our 2018 calendar (available late 2017).



  • Make sure your photo is in focus. Everyone loves fuzzy pets but not everyone loves fuzzy (blurry) photos.


  • Email one photo per pet. If you can't decide, that's fine. We'll pick our favorite from the bunch.


  • If your photo is coffee-related it will improve the chances of your pet being selected. No humans please...a photo with you and your pet won't make the cut.


  • Pets only. Please don't send us wildlife photos, pics of neighborhood pigeons or bigfoot sightings.


  • More than one pet? That's fine. Send us photos of all of them and we'll do our best to make them all fit.


  • We can't guarantee that your pet will squeeze into the collage but we'll do our best.


  • The deadine for submissions is Oct. 20, 2017



Here's part of last year's cat collage...a good example of how the 2018 layout will look.