Costa Rican Naranjo Caracol Peaberry

This is my last home roasted coffee for a while.
I think I may have saved the best for last.  If not the best, then tied with the best.  It doesn’t surprise me, because there’s something about Costa Rican beans that always sends a low and groovy pulse directly into the pleasure center of my brain.
I roasted this up to a deep, beautiful dark dark brown, what they call a City + roast, and have waited until it’s nearly gone to write about it.  That is because I’m starting to burn out on having to report on the coffee — I just want to enjoy it.
And my coffee loving friends, I have enjoyed this one immensely.  It has a medium bold flavor, well balanced in acidity — just enough to give it a little bite, but not enough to burn a hole in your colon — and features a sweet, wood-smoke flavor with berry and walnut highlights.
And with that, I’m out of green beans to roast, and also my roaster — that air popcorn popper I bought off of eBay — it’s starting to sound like it’s going implode and die.  So, I think I’ll be buying myself a proper roaster, and in the meantime I’ll drink and review pre-roasted beans.

Sweet Maria’s Kenya Kirinyaga-Thimu Peaberry

SweetMariasLogoI blazed these peaberries to a awesome Full City roast amid a glorious storm of flying chaff, floating and drifting off my second story balcony and all over my neighbor’s porch and parked cars.

It’s a bit of a mess.  But good coffee is worth it.

And this is good coffee, though I’m not as impressed with it as I have been with others I’ve gotten from Sweet Maria’s.

The good:  Nice and fresh (of course!) and featuring a natural rustic sweetness.  Rich and tasty.

The bad:  The winey-berry notes are awfully subtle, to the point where after the first blush of flavor this coffee comes off as bland.  No complexity and no character.  My guess is that this bean would best be used in blending, to tone down another coffee, rather than be used as a single-bean brew.

A good thing to remember if you’re into blending.  Which I’m not.  I just want to grind, brew, and drink it. 

Oh, and roast it occasionally.

Sweet Maria’s Brazil Coromandel-Fazenda Sao Joao

SweetMariasLogo"Coromandel-Fazenda Sao Joao?"

I dare you to say that three times, fast.

Yet another home roast, I cooked these up to what they call a "full city" or very dark brown, but not black.  Once again, my $7 eBay air popper turned coffee-roaster did a great job, producing yet another brew that is so good it’s blowing the bell curve for the rest of my non-home-roasted reviews.

Home roasting is the way to go, people.  Seriously.  Buying green beans is much cheaper, they keep for a long long time without you having to worry about them going stale.  It takes less than 15 minutes to roast enough to last you a week.  It tastes better than you can possibly imagine — assuming you’ve never had uber-fresh roasted coffee before.

If you just can’t be bothered with the zen task of home roasting, then I highly recommend you buy from a micro-roaster such as some of the ones I’ve featured here.

Sermon over.  I’m climbing down from the fresh-coffee-smelling podium.

I kind of blew the ending, didn’t I?  I already stated this coffee is awesome.  Well, let me also say that it has a strong, full body without being overwhelming, a very rich taste, with overtones of walnut and dark chocolate.  There’s a good, active zing without being overly acidic.  The aftertaste fades to a warm, comfy wood-smoke glow, leaving you with a sense of peace and well-being.

Or at least it does me, because I’ve got enough to last me a while and I’m so happy I do!  This, my friends, is a bona fide groovy brew.

Sweet Maria’s Colombia Choco


At first sip, I got why they call it "choco."  The taste carries a very strong chocolate current — sweeping, really.  It couldn’t taste more chocolate without actually adding chocolate to it.

And, no, this is not a "flavored" coffee.  It’s pure coffee beans, bought green, roasted by me on my apartment patio in a air popcorn popper yesterday afternoon.

This coffee is so freaking delicious it’s blowing my socks off.

There’s a raisin touch to it, too, a winey fruity note singing sweetly in tune with the chocolate-coffee combo.  This is serious Sunday afternoon jazz coffee.  This is happy wedding reception on the beach coffee.

Forget Jamaican Blue Mountain.  Forget all those Costa Rican coffees that I love.  This one has them beat.

This coffee is seriously rocking my world.

I roasted the beans to a very dark, shiny brown, but not black.  I’m not an experienced coffee roaster — this is maybe my fourth batch in my life — but I’m doing something really right, and the beans that I’m getting from Sweet Maria’s are unbelievably wonderful.

Conclusion:  This coffee is totally groovy.  To the extreme.

Sweet Maria’s Cameroon Caplami Java

image This is going to be hard.  I drank my entire mug of coffee already.  Before I actually do the review I’m going to have to go make another.

You’ll be seeing a lot of Sweet Maria coffees reviewed here because I have a big selection of them, all green beans, and as it turns out my popcorn popper / coffee roaster does a wonderful job roasting them to exactly the darkness I like:  deep rich brown with a gleam of oil, but not black.

If you have never tried coffee that has been roasted within a few days of you drinking it, my friends … you have never had coffee.

I’m serious.  I am spoiled.  And you know, I can see a future where you can buy green beans anywhere, and everyone has a home roaster.  It makes sense, because green beans are less expensive, keep a long time without going stale, are easier than you’d think to roast, and taste 5000% better than something that’s been sitting on a store’s shelf for months or years.

Okay.  End of sermon, beginning of review.  I have a freshly brewed mug of this Cameroon Caplami Java in my hand.  The beans were roasted yesterday afternoon.

There’s nothing outstanding or special about the smell.  It smells like fresh coffee, which is good.  But there is no hint to the surprise that awaits.

At first sip, this coffee is light and tangy, the taste crisp and crystalline.  Then unexpectedly the flavor blooms like the swelling music of an orchestra — strings, wind instruments, brass, drums, all exploding into an intense and dramatic aria that makes you tingle and your head swim from pure joy.  Then the flavor fades down in a comfortable warm hug, with nutty tones and a lingering tartness that feels cozy and relaxed.

I could drink this all day long.

If the Queen of England were visiting my house I’d proudly brew her a cup of it.

It’s that good.