- Location: Oakland, CA
- Website: sweetmarias.com
In the world of intense coffee passion and - dare we say it - geekery, Sweet Maria's looms large. If you have ever even considered roasting coffee yourself, then you've almost certainly checked out Sweet Maria's.
Sweet Maria's is known as the expert source of in-depth, DIY coffee advice. They specialize in green coffee beans, home roasters, tutorials, and DIY guides - all written in owner Tom's friendly and witty style. But even if you haven't ever fired up your popcorn popper for the perfect coffee roast, Sweet Maria's probably still has something for you.
Sweet Maria's got started in the Midwest (Columbus, Ohio, to be precise) and after some years there moved to Oakland, California. Tom and Maria (yes, there's really a sweet Maria) run the place with just a few employees, close by to the port of Oakland. This just happens to be the specialty coffee port of the United States. So, as Tom says in his shop introduction, the majority of top grade coffees come through this port and it's a real advantage to be there.
This little operation doesn't look so small, though, if you judge by the website. Sweet Maria's is a friendly, busy, chatty treasure trove of information and passionate knowledge about coffee.
Like we said above, the main thing they are known for is information and supplies on home roasting. They have a selection of over 70 varieties of green coffee beans and plenty of home roasting equipment.
But they also offer all sorts of coffee brewing equipment, including vacuum siphon brewers and Chemex and drip brewers. They also offer a selection of roasted coffees, coffee books and posters and other accessories. Any coffee store that offers a house branded cupping spoon is just so for real - you know it!
We have never ordered directly from them, but their prices are good. If you are at all interested in coffee, check out their site - it makes a fascinating read as they discuss why they offer one brewing system and not another, or the subtle differences in regional blends. They call themselves a coffee university and we've found that to be true.
And if you're close to Emeryville, near Oakland, stop by and visit! They seem quite a friendly bunch.