Jan – Feb 2000: A Matter of Taste; Napoleon Would Be Proud; Web Page Upgrades

A Matter of Taste
Finding the coffees you like is no easy task, but the reward is great. I hope our Coffee Cupping Reviews* help you select coffees you might like, but it is going to take some experimentation and a few blunders to flesh out your preferences. And coffee presents some special problems; the tastes are subtle and complex compared to other beverages, and the language to describe them unfamiliar.

The most important way to quickly define your tastes is to keep a coffee log. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy; it could be as simple as tearing the sticker labels off the bags of coffee you like and putting them on a sheet of paper. But keep track of which coffees you liked best and how dark they were roasted when they really impressed you.

When you find a coffee that you really don’t like, consider it a great success! It’s a solid starting point to determine a coffee flavor you don’t like, and which coffees to scratch off your list. Perhaps it is “earthy”. You will find this in Sumatra in the form of musty/earthy flavors, in Ethiopians — but only the dry-processed ones. Look for that word in the cupping reviews and its a good clue to avoid that coffee.

Or maybe bright coffees with citrusy acidity are unpleasant to you. Avoid some Kenyas, the Panama Lerida, and other “bright” Centrals. The wet-processed Ethiopians like Yirgacheffe are also citrusy. You can see that a taste characteristic is not strictly geographical. If you loved an East African like a Zimbabwe, it doesn’t mean you will love an Ethiopians Harar in the same way, despite them both being African. The difference between Sumatra and Timor is pronounced even though both are Indonesian. Even within a sub-region, primary taste characteristics can be extremely different: a Ugandan is nothing like a neighboring Kenyan. For this reason you find that knowing a little about coffee always seems insufficient given that conventional wisdom is often half-true, and singularities abound!

And remember this: our coffees have character! If its a character you like, you’ll be thrilled. If its one you don’t, you will know it right away. But that doesn’t mean its a bad coffee. I put a lot of work into cupping coffee from every coffee brokerage I can to find the truly exceptional origins, and from specific lot numbers of the same name to find the best bags. But its a committee of one ( just me!) that makes cupping decisions. Your results will differ…

Napoleon Would Be Proud…
It appears that little ol’ Sweet Maria’s will be the only coffee retailer in the U.S. with coffee from the Island of Saint Helena (otherwise known as the island where Napoleon was exiled and died). In a deal brokered by Scott Reed (affably known as the Hamburgo-ler in my shop), the only shipment of 500 lbs. of this coffee is coming here. Amazingly, it was sent out impromptu from the island in November on the first available boat, since the regular bi-monthly boat to the South Atlantic isle broke down. Alas, that boat was headed the wrong direction, to South Africa and not to the Americas. More humorously, the measly 500 lbs. was put in a full shipping container that normally holds 37,500 of coffee. I have no explanation for that. The coffee has since bounced around the globe, and was in Canada last week. I expect it in mid-January.

What’s the coffee like? Pure gold! Coffee was brought to St. Helena in 1735 and the seedstock has remained pure since then! It’s a unique heirloom variety, and all coffee production was operated by the Dutch East Indes Co. until it was largely abandoned and the trees were left completely untended. But the coffee cultivation was revived a decade ago, and new coffee trees were carefully re-cultivated from the 100+ year-old ancestral Yemeni plants.

The cup clearly displays its Yemeni roots with flavors that are reminiscent of a washed Ethiopian like Yirgacheffe (since indeed this coffee is washed). But it has an overall lush island character one would expect from such an environment, reminiscent of mild and subtle notes in Kona. But it is remarkably complex too.

Web Page Upgrades
We have switched our web page to a new server based in Chicago and you can expect to see some improvements over the next few months. Since I still do everything myself, there’s a definite learning curve involved, but our web pages will soon be searchable, we will be adding a very subtle shopping cart type system to make the order form more convenient, and other significant bells n’ whistles. The page is already being served on from the new machine. Security for orders should be as good or better since the secure servers are at the same location. There will be a site map too. You will never see an animated graphic, advertising banners, or frames on our pages though. No gimmicks, just trying to make the page a tad less difficult to navigate!

Sweet Maria’s Green Coffee Offerings on 01/15/00

Coffee is a crop; it comes and goes! Our web page always has the latest list of offerings: www.sweetmarias.com

***Central American*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Costa Rican Dota Tarrazu $5.30 $10.07 $23.06

Costa Rican Tarrazu LaMinita $7.30 $13.87 $31.76

Costa Rican La Pastora Tarrazu $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Guat. Antigua -La Tacita Estate $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

Guat. Antigua -Maragogype $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Guat. Antigua -Santa Barbara $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Guat. Organic Atitlan -Songbird $5.65 $10.74 $24.58

Guat. SHB Huehuetenango $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Mexican Oaxaca Pluma -Fino Rojas $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Mexican Chiapas La Floresta Est. $4.90 $9.31 $21.32

Mexican Peaberry Hamburgo $4.30 $8.17 $18.71

Mexican Maragogype $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Mexican Organic Pluma -Loxicha $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Nicaraguan SHG Gavilan Estate $4.60 $8.74 $20.01

Nicaraguan SHG La Illusion $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

Panama Lerida Estate 99/00 $4.90 $9.31 $21.32

Salvador Organic Los Naranjos $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

***South American*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Brazil -Berrador Estate Acaiá $4.45 $8.46 $19.36

Brazil Cerrado-Monte Carmelo $4.40 $8.36 $19.14

Brazil Cerrado-Oberon 17/18 $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Brazil Serra Negra 17/18 $4.55 $8.65 $19.79

Colombian Organic Cauca $5.30 $10.07 $23.06

Colombian Reserva Del Patron $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Colombian San Bartolo Excelso $4.55 $8.65 $19.79

Peru Org. Chanchamayo ’99 $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

***African, Arabian*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Congo Kivu $4.50 $8.55 $19.58

Ethiopian Djimmah Gr 5 $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

Ethiopian Ghimbi Gr 5 $4.75 $9.03 $20.66

Ethiopian Harar Gr5 Horse $5.70 $10.83 $24.80

Ethiopian Sidamo DP Gr4 $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Ethiopian Yirgacheffe Gr2 $5.90 $11.21 $25.67

Kenya AA Gichunji 98/99 $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

Kenya AA Kirinyaga 98/99 $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

Yemen Mattari Al-Haj $7.00 $13.30 $30.45

Yemen Rimy $6.9 $13.11 $30.02

Zambia AA Lilyvale Estate $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Zimbabwe AAA Pinnacle $5.60 $10.64 $24.36

***Indonesian, Indian*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Indian Monsooned Malabar $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Indian -Pearl Mountain Estate $4.90 $9.31 $21.32

Java Aged Old Brown $6.20 $11.78 $26.97

Java Gvt. Estate -Kayumas $5.10 $9.69 $22.19

Myanmar Arabica -Rubyland $3.50 $6.65 $15.23

Papua New Guinea Mile High A $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Sulawesi Toraja Gr 1 JP Prep $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Sumatra Mandheling Gr1 DP $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Sumatra OrganicGayoMtn.Gr1 $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Timor Grade 1 -Aifu $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

***Islands, Blends, …*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Dominican -Montana Verde Estate $4.80 $9.12 $20.88

French Chicory -Roasted $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

Jamaica Bl Mtn. Mavis Bank Est. $TBA $TBA $TBA

Maui Kaanapali Moka $7.40 $14.06 $32.19

Isle of Saint Helena $TBA $TBA $TBA

SM’s Moka Kadir Blend $5.80 $11.02 $25.23

SM’s Espresso Monkey Blend $5.00 $9.50 $21.75

Sweet Maria’s Fr.RoastBlend $5.50 $10.45 $23.93

Malabar Gold Espresso Blend $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

***Decafs*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Brazil Santos SWP Decaf $5.40 $10.26 $23.49

Colombian Natural Decaf $5.20 $9.88 $22.62

Ethiopian Sidamo Co2 Decaf $6.20 $11.78 $26.97

Guat. Organic Atitlan SWP D $6.55 $12.45 $28.49

MexicanEsmeralda Natural D $4.70 $8.93 $20.45

Papua New Guinea Org SWP D $6.00 $11.40 $26.10

Sumatra Mandheling C02 Decaf $6.20 $11.78 $26.97

***Premium Robustas*** 1 lb 2 lb 5 lb

Indian Kaapi Royale Robusta $5.15 $9.79 $22.40

Indian Monsooned Robusta AA $5.30 $10.07 $23.06

PapuaNewGuinea Washed Robusta $3.90 $7.41 $16.97

Sweet Maria’s Coffee Roastery

9 E. 2nd Ave. * Columbus Ohio 43201

ph/fx:614 294 1816 * orders:888.876 5917

web: www.sweetmarias.com

email: [email protected]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.