Sweet Maria’s Emailer Roundup – June 2020

Our monthly digest from the Sweet Maria’s Email list, announcing new coffees, new content and new events!

June 2020 offerings are all listed here, for your reference. If you want to read about our arriving coffee, events, product and news, sign up for our emailer.

June 1, 2020

June 1, 2020 - Latest Coffees

Another great video. Some ambient scenes from the Kafa zone of Western Ethiopia, a look at a couple nice coffee farms and cats getting along with buzzards.

Big Creek Roasters

As Montana prepares to enter Phase 2 of reopening the economy, cafes and restaurants are able to increase their capacity, while maintaining social distancing. One of those cafes is Big Creek Coffee Roasters in Hamilton, Montana. Big Creek is a Sweet Maria’s customer for over 15 years, and a Shrub customer since 2010.

Guatemala Fundamentals

Have a look at an overview of our coffee buying in Guatemala, replete with links to farm video-tours and roasting fundamentals articles for these super versatile coffees.

June 5, 2020

July 8, 2020 - Latest Coffes
July 8, 2020 – Latest Coffes
Colombia Machín Rosemberg Martínez – Tastes like a coffee that underwent long fermentation, flavors recall champagne and sugar cane wine, panela sweetness, apple cider, honey and plum skin bittering.

Ethiopia Dry Process Shakiso Korommii – Rides the edge between aromatic fruit and rustic undertones, raspberry, berry-like acidity, dehydrated fruit, strawberry-rhubarb pie, earthy cacao and sandalwood. Good for espresso.

Colombia Caicedo Las Alegrías – Stewed fruit character against a rustic raw sugar backdrop, accents of canned plum, fresh basil, dark berry and bittersweet roast flavors.

Nicaragua Dry Process Buenos Aires Maracaturra – A wild and fruited coffee with rustic sweetness, wine-like berry notes, cooked cherries, tamarind, orange creamsicle, a flavor of cranberry lambic beer.

Peru San Francisco David Garcia – Unrefined sweetness of demerara and sugar-in-the-raw, a baked apple flavor that straddles a sweet/winey edge, cocoa-dusted walnut, dark grape and chocolate torte.

Sumatra Aceh Bebesen Auliya – “Classic” Aceh coffee character albeit cleaner than most. Earth tones, peat moss, light fruit and sweet with molasses, a ribbon of dark cocoa and baking spice aroma.

Costa Rica Don Oscar Limones – Sweet to bittering characteristics respond to roast development, toasted sugar, moderate acidity, chocolate roast flavors, reverberant bass notes, carbonized sugar aftertaste. Chocolatey espresso.
Guatemala Update

We talked with our export partners in Guatemala to assess thttps://legacy.sweetmarias.com/library/guatemala-a-post-harvest-update-from-origin/he effects the COVID-19 pandemic has had on post-harvest production and preparation for the upcoming harvest season.

El Salvador Recovery

Last weekend, Hurricane Amanda wreaked havoc on El Salvador, causing massive flooding across the country and loss of life. The coffee season is winding down and work is underway to uncover roadways in order to move coffee from the rural areas to the ports, where some of the worst damage was encountered.

July 9, 2020

June 9, 2020 updates
  • As we monitor our shipments closely, it’s clear that our next Ethiopian arrivals will be from cooperatives in the West. Look for fresh coffee by the 1st week of July (hopefully sooner!) from familiar co-ops like Nano Challa and Biftu Gudina, as well as several that are new to us this year.
  • We have had a great response to our 20% Off Guatemala Overstock sale. Note that it is on 6 selected lots, chosen because they were larger lots and wouldn’t run out of stock mid-sale. Don’t miss out on your chance to pick up some of these delicious overstock coffees at a very low price.
  • Our African coffees have been shipping on time from port. The only delay has been with a shortage of containers to load into. 
  • It seems so far that Covid 19 control measures in Ethiopia have been effective with relatively few cases. 
  • The Prismo Aeropress attachment from Fellow Products has been selling quickly, perhaps because the concentrate it makes is so good for iced coffee, and it’s getting HOT out ? .
  • Our cupping lab has been a bit slow recently, as all selections for new crop Centrals and African coffees have been made and we await final Preshipment Samples (PSS) and the first arrivals. 

June 12, 2020

June 12, 2020 - Latest Coffees
July 15, 2020 – New coffees
Ethiopia Dry Process Bashasha Aba Nura – Aba Nura is bodied with mild acidity, dried fruit, unrefined sweetness, chocolate-malted grains, discernible notes of blackberry and dried blueberry fading to a cocoa powder finish.

El Salvador Finca Matalapa Lote Cumbrita – Approachable cup, pecan shortbread aroma, layered raw sugar and nutty roast tones, a twist of spice powder and opaque, bittersweet cocoa when roasted dark. City+ to Vienna. Good for espresso.

Yemen Mokha Matari – Rustic appeal, freeze-dried fruit, earth and spice notes, leathery, cocoa powder, squash, sandalwood oil, chicory root..as complex as they come! Good for espresso.

Staff Picks Sample Set – Need a little help choosing green coffee? Try a recommendation from our staff! Our team members are taking turns promoting their personal favorites from our green coffee list – this set comes from our merchandise manager, Ryan.
new stuff
  • Our merchandise manager, Ryan is back at it with another Sweet Maria’s staff picks sample set. See what coffees she chose this time around.
  • We just started carrying this cool new mug from Japan. It has a capacity of 250 cc, or just over 8 fluid ounces. It fits the Aeropress as well as the Prismo attachment, but it’s very snug with the latter. The pattern is from a traditional kimono and the glazes are classic cobalt blue with a brown accent on the handle.
new mug

June 17, 2020

live stream
July 17, 2020 – New Coffees
Tune in to Facebook Live on Thursday, June 18th for another informative live stream where we will cover all things related to home coffee roasting and home brewing.

Ask us anything you want! General topics? That’s up to you. We’ll answer your questions in the live chat but are looking for suggestions for topics. Email questions to [email protected] before 6/18. The video will be posted after the live stream is over so you can watch at your own convenience.

Thursday, June 18th
1pm PDT
Facebook Live
From the archives
  • Ever wonder how caffeine is taken out of decaf coffee? Is it actually addictive? A diuretic? Check out our classic library article where we explore caffeine’s role in health and ecology. There’s some photos of actual extracted caffeine in there as well. Hopefully they don’t make you too queasy.
  • The way a coffee smells plays a huge part in how much we enjoy it…but how about vinyl records? Doesn’t as better smelling record sound better? Hmmm… well, find out as Dan and Tom sniff a few record sleeves around the cupping lab.
  • Check out ourtravelogue and insights from Tom’s 2019 trip to Timor Leste.  Timor Leste produces great coffee, especially if you enjoy the subtle herbal and spice notes common in Indonesian coffees but the origin itself still faces a lot of challenges
Iced Coffee/Cold Brew
It’s iced coffee/cold brew season and there’s more than one way to brew it. Adjusting your coffee to water ratio can make a nice a nice concentrate that you can pour over ice. Concentrate can be taken to another level with an Aeropress and Prismo attachment and to the level of manual espresso with the Flair machines. The Bruer is made for cold brew. It takes a while to make a batch but it’s worth the wait.

June 19, 2020

June 19, 2020 - Latest Coffees
June 19, 2020 – Latest Coffees
The very popular Moka Kadir is back in stock and we just added this great decaf that barely tasted like a decaf. Check out he Rwanda Honey Process Ngororero! It has great body along with fruit notes and bit of sparkle.
El Salvador Finca Matalapa Peaberry – Light roasts have a correspondingly light body, easily boosted with development, raw sugar, bittersweet, mild acidity, malted grain and chocolate cherry accents.

Ethiopia Kafa Farmers SWP Decaf – This Ethiopia hardly tastes like decaf. Moderate body, flavors of caramelized fruit, brown sugar, dark chcolate malt, spiced hints and citrus rind.

Rwanda Honey Process Ngororero – Sweet malted flavors, Dutch cocoa and hints of dried stone fruits. Body and roast tone with brightness that provides a bit of sparkle but not sharp. Delicious brewed coffee.Good for espresso.

Sweet Maria’s Moka Kadir Blend – Rich chocolate flavors come through in layers, with rustic sweetness, fruited notes of natural dried stone fruit, and finishing hints are leathery, herbal, fruited, and of course bittersweet. Creamy mouthfeel and works well for milk drinks. Good espresso.

Colombia Urrao Fray David Moreno – Berry-toned and fruit-forward for a washed coffee. Flavor notes of pancake syrup, raw brown sugar, cooked berry and a tart/sweetness that reminds me of pomegranate balsamic reduction.
Colombia trip cancelled

We had to cancel an upcoming trip to Colombia but things are still looking up as the range of samples we just received from Inzá, Caicedo and Urrao is encouraging.

Origin Updates
Rwanda recently received much-needed rain that will help some of the areas that are still growing coffee. About 30% of Rwandan stations have stopped buying for the season and those that remain open are receiving reduced volumes as the end of the harvest approaches.

Brazil forcasts large yields of coffee over the coming weeks and expects local labor to be sufficient in most areas, however mechanical harvesters are used wherever possible to speed up the process.

Peruvian co-ops and producer orgs are distributing food and technical assistance  to their members, reducing the need to travel into towns. This support is aimed to promote loyalty within members as competition to purchase parchment coffee remains steady.

June 24, 2020

Coffee Under UV

Our recent Instagram post about using UV light to grade and check green coffee for defects was popular so we thought we would keep the conversation going. This coffee came from Dure Dako, a new Ethiopian cooperative we are excited about. But something happened, either at the dry mill, or perhaps in transit. What you see in the post below is the sample viewed under UV aka black light. We test samples when they arrive in Oakland with UV for moisture level and water activity. This lot measured 13.6%. In our experience, Ethiopian coffees have low moisture content, around 10% or even 9.5%. Also, a wet process coffee should not show this much luminescence under UV. In the end, we trust cupping and it had a basic profile with a taste of cardboard and astringency in the finish. Sadly it was rejected and we continue to look for other lots from the co-op to take its place.

UV - Instagram
Ethiopia Update

As Covid continues to spread in Addis and the number of recorded cases is increasing in Ethiopia, we have heard reports from a coffee trader that some traders are in fear of higher than usual amounts of green coffee being stuck at ports. This is due to cancelled shipments that were supposed to go to coffee consuming destinations. He said that there have been reports of this season’s Ethiopian crop being of lesser quality which he is skeptical of.

Bialetti Kitty Brewer

The Bialetti Kitty moka pot is the most recent addition to our line of brewers. Does it brew espresso? Not really. But if you like a strong, dense, concentrated cup of coffee, the Kitty will be a good addition to you coffee brewer cabinet. We like the heavy duty construction, and you will too when you think about how much pressure is building up inside as it heats up on your stove top. Oh yeah, it works with induction stove tops too.

June 26, 2020

June 26, 2020 - Latest Coffees
June 26, 2020 – Latest Coffees
Guatemala Proyecto Xinabajul Chalum – Sturdy sweetness, walnut note, cheap chocolate, a dried apple note underscores malic-type, acidic impression. Chocolate flavors are more substantial at Full City. Good for espresso.

Guatemala Cuilco Finca El Regalito – Elegant at City roast level, an undercurrent of muscovado sugar sweetness accented by tangy lemon, black tea, dried currant, honey and shining acidity. Hallmarks of a competition-level Guatemalan coffee.
Product Updates
  • Nostalgia makes the best popcorn popper for home roasting and we finally have it back in stock. It roasts coffee right out of the box and surprisingly stands up to all the rigors of home roasting (even back to back roasts). It comes with a free green coffee sample set.
  • We just started carrying the Kitty moka pot from Bialetti. We are big fans of the heavy duty stainless steel build and although it doesn’t brew true espresso, it creates a unique cup that’s very concentrated and bodied.
  • Behmor coffee roasters should be back in stock soon. We are looking to have them in our warehouse in the next two weeks. Thanks for your patience. They are great machines so we are eager to start sending them to your doorsteps.
Hot Rod Roasters

RETRO WEB PAGE ALERT. The following link is only intended for those interested in photos of awesome photos of homemade coffee roasters from the late 90’s and early 2000’s

June 30, 2020

Difference with decaf

Roasting decaf can be tricky. Decaf green coffee is considerably darker than non-decaf. This means it’s hard to tell by sight what roast stage it’s at while it’s roasting. First crack can be quieter too. Sometimes you can’t hear it at all. If you are roasting dark, past Full City, the beans will take on a blackened, matte appearance that can make any experienced home roaster question if they should have stopped the roast a few minutes ago. So, how do you roast decaf? It’s not easy, but time, smell and experience will definitely help. Check out our recent IG post where we showed the difference between two Ethiopias roasted to the same level. One decaf, one non-decaf. There’s quite a difference.

Instagram - Decafs
2 Late Coffees
Last month, Sweet Maria’s team member Ryan shared a list of her favorite coffees and we offered it as a Green Coffee Sample Set. Since then two more caught her attention.

Colombia Urrao Fray David Moreno – Berry-toned and fruit-forward for a washed coffee. Flavor notes of pancake syrup, raw brown sugar, cooked berry and a tart/sweetness that reminds me of pomegranate balsamic reduction.

Guatemala Cuilco Finca El Regalito – Elegant at City roast level, an undercurrent of muscovado sugar sweetness accented by tangy lemon, black tea, dried currant, honey and shining acidity. Hallmarks of a competition-level Guatemalan coffee.
SR800 In Stock

The Fresh Roast SR800 is back in stock and it’s a great upgrade for anyone familiar with electric popcorn popper roasting. it allows your senses access to the sights, sounds and smells of the roast process but it’s a step up since it collects chaff, gives you heat/fan control and roasts more than 2x the amount. All this with a footprint about the size of a small blender.

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