Cup Testing New Crop Coffees and Other Harvest Updates

Looking further into the future at coffees from the new harvest

The term “new crop” gets thrown around quite a bit, and it can be difficult to interpret exactly what people mean. We often talk about “new crop” landing when fresh coffee arrives. But in many cases, the actual “new crop” is just getting underway at this same time back at origin.

Right now is a good example where we have several containers of fresh coffee from Rwanda and Burundi hitting our shores, when at the same time the coffee cherry is starting to mature on trees at Rwandan coffee farms. We won’t receive that coffee until the very end of the year, but I think you get my point.

Be that as it may, the coffee landing now is from the latest crop that’s available, and as fresh as you can get from that part of the world.

A collage of images from Sweet Maria's Instagram account of sample roasting, cup testing and a whole lot more.
A collage of images from Sweet Maria’s Instagram account of sample roasting, cup testing and a whole lot more.

We are currently up to our ears in green coffee samples from the new crop in several coffee origins, cupping table after table in our Oakland lab. Of course, we won’t receive these coffees for several months, but the work is underway to secure our volumes from some of our biggest coffee origins.

Under normal circumstances, we’d shoulder much of the cupping work at origin coffee labs. But these are anything but normal circumstances and travel is on hold for at least a few more months.

In Ethiopia, the harvest is basically over and coffee lots from the new crop are being transported to mills in Addis Ababa. We’ve already logged nearly 100 samples, and contracts are being signed for shipments. With our first Ethiopia container shipping next month, the prospect of an early arrival looks promising.

A full table of green coffee samples, all roasted and ready to cup. Antigua, Guatemala.
A full table of green coffee samples, all roasted and ready to cup. Antigua, Guatemala.

Parts of Central America are still recovering from the devastation caused by hurricanes Eta and Iota. While most higher elevation areas we buy from in Guatemala (Huehuetenango, Antigua and Chimaltenango) were spared major crop damage, the hurricanes made for a longer than normal wet season, and as a result, a late harvest.

We’ve been in close contact with our partners in Guatemala who are reporting that volume in the highland areas wasn’t affected and have already sent us our first box of farm samples. We’re shooting for early coffee from Antigua and the surrounding areas, and are hoping for the same from some of our Xinabajul partners in Huehue, though the rains are still tapering off in some areas.

The harvest is winding down in Nicaragua and Costa Rica, though they too experienced later than normal harvests because of the heavy rains slowing cherry maturation. Our contact at Cafetalera Buenos Aires (Nicaragua) expects to have our first box of samples en route to us in two weeks. These include coffees from Finca Buenos Aires, La Laguna, Acopio Suyatal, and more.

An array of images from our Coffee Shrub Instagram account showing coffee roasting, sample testing, and coffee travel.
Photos shared to our Coffee Shrub Instagram account showing coffee roasting, sample testing, brewing, and coffee travel.

We spoke with our export partner in Costa Rica this morning and it looks like initial samples from Helsar micromill in the West Valley, as well as some coffees in the Central Valley, should arrive in the next two weeks. The harvests in Tarrazu and Chirripo always come a little later, and we’re looking to late March as a realistic ETA.

Making buying decisions from fresh farm samples is just the first step in the long transcontinental journey ahead. After all the contracts are signed, the coffee still needs to be milled, loaded into a container and onto a shipping vessel, then unloaded once it reaches Oakland.

Check out our Green Coffee Outlook for a more detailed look at the transit status of specific coffees once they’ve been contracted. We update this list monthly.

Or live in the moment and check out our current green coffee offer lists on Sweet Maria’s and Coffee Shrub.

2 Responses

  1. I am a very happy user of your coffees. I was fortunate in being introduced to your coffee by a
    fellow user in Houston Texas who visited me in San Rafael and insisted that we drive over to Oakland and sample your coffees .
    I look forward to picking new coffees when you are able to open your facility. I would much rather sample a coffee and personally take several bags home.
    I still have much to learn but gradually am making better quality of taste as I get more experience . in the meantime I invite guest over for sampling different coffees.
    Thank you for being available for shipping coffee.
    Leonard S Hoffman MD
    40 Wolfe Ave
    San Rafael, California 94901
    phone 713-899-9731 cell
    I probably have ordered 10-15 lb bags in gthe last 2 years.

    1. Hi Leonard,

      Thanks for giving us the opportunity to supply your coffee for all these years!

      I write this as someone who was a fan of Sweet Maria’s before an employee myself. I was taken a back by the broad selection of coffees to choose from on my first visit to the Oakland warehouse over a decade ago. That’s something we continue to strive for, a wide representation of coffee producing countries, and the best selections we can find.

      We look forward to re-opening our doors for customer pickups, but for the time being have had to temporarily pull that option to maintain a safe workplace. When we do re-open our doors to customer pickups, you can bet we will broadcast the news in our emailer! (hope you already receive that, but if not, you can sign up at the bottom right of our homepage).

      Thanks again for dropping us a note Leondard.

      -Dan

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