39 episodes

Our audio recordings about coffee from West Oakland, CA and beyond, mostly from Thompson Owen.

Sweet Maria's Coffee Thompson Owen / Sweet Maria's Coffee

    • Education
    • 4.5 • 43 Ratings

Our audio recordings about coffee from West Oakland, CA and beyond, mostly from Thompson Owen.

    Tanzania - A Morning in Moshi

    Tanzania - A Morning in Moshi

    This recording is a 28 minute unedited recording of a morning in Moshi, Tanzania May 25 2023. It’s the kind of “waking up” recordings I often do when traveling, both as personal note taking, but sometimes the material I turn into podcasts. This time, I thought I would also upload it to youtube, with images and video clips. So on youtube there’s some added visual information, but it’s not synced to the recording. Images and vocal do not match. But of course they are all from the same trip to Tanzania. Here is the You tube link to hear / view this with images.

    • 27 min
    Tourism-Travel-Coffee (Part 2)

    Tourism-Travel-Coffee (Part 2)

    This is the second part of of a podcast recording, focusing on tourism coffee and coffee marketing. I read from the article Tourism: Globalization and the Commodification of Culture about Disneyfication, and McDonaldization, read a text from a Starbucks bag about coffee travel adventures through an Indiana Jones / colonial adventurer lens, listen to Dangerous Grounds tv show promo reel that infuses coffee travel with xenophobia, and connect it to the current way roasters talk about coffee buying more as a social mission than something they do so they have a product to sell. The latest approach includes incredible claims like “Kevin [coffee buyer] discovered that small scale poor farmers produced some of the most complex and incredible coffees in the world, yet they had no experience of what was happening to their work thousands of miles away or its tremendous value and appreciation by specialty coffee drinkers.” Poor coffee farmers! Here comes Kevin to save you!
    So what’s the answer? I don’t have one but it would hurt to kick it down a notch, and just try to learn when you travel. Would it?

    • 39 min
    Tourism-Travel-Coffee (Part 1)

    Tourism-Travel-Coffee (Part 1)

    I've been a little obsessed lately with reading about tourism and travel narritives, and seeing how these line up with my work as a coffee buyer. What I find is that ideas that interest me in coffee are not really discussed in the coffee trade, and I am not sure who is interested in these things. Trigger warning: if the term "culture studies" or "the other" set you off, don't listen to this podcast. (joke, but not really I guess). This first episode doesnt really get into things much. Hopefully you can listen to part 2 as well.  -T

    • 29 min
    Kenya Coffee Cupping

    Kenya Coffee Cupping

    It’s been nearly 4 years since visiting Kenya, and I am excited to be back. When I travel for coffee I tend to make audio recordings over morning coffee, and sometimes I edit these into podcasts later. Kenya trips that focus on cupping can be intense. It’s a marathon of tasting, and very intense coffee at that. I talk a bit about the approach I think Kenya requires in terms of coffee sourcing, and later about the grades of Kenya coffee outside of specialty types. Traveling often leads me to thoughts about the history of coffee production and trade, and with Kenya the specific history of colonialism here. And I end with a song! A 45 single I found in a stack near Nairobi by Fadhili William & The Black Shadows, Hakuna Mwingine. And that’s a summary of this 30 minute podcast recorded mostly in Kenya, in February 2023.

    • 30 min
    Ethiopia 5 - Shakiso - Guji Coffee & Very Loud Prayers

    Ethiopia 5 - Shakiso - Guji Coffee & Very Loud Prayers

    It’s Sunday morning in Shakiso town but it’s not peaceful and quiet by any definition. I am talking about coffee in the area, but I’m competing against the decibels of the Orthodox church and their loudspeaker. I am not sure if this is very “listenable”.
    It sounds ok to me, but I am used to these morning prayers and just tune them out. It might not be so easy in a recording. Anyway, it’s here for you to listen to … or not! 

    • 11 min
    Ethiopia 2 - Jimma, Coffee Travel and Coffee Marketing

    Ethiopia 2 - Jimma, Coffee Travel and Coffee Marketing

    I am in the larger town of Jimma, I think the euphoria of returning to the dirt roads of Ethiopia wore off a bit. It was probably all the dust. Feeling a bit drained, but still happy to be back in Ethiopia, I reflect a bit on coffee travel. I have always had a problematic relationship with using coffee travel to sell coffee, to create marketing material. But in the end I feel coffee can be a pretty straightforward product, and that’s not bad at all. I was going to skip including this one honestly, but decided to keep it in the end.

    • 8 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
43 Ratings

43 Ratings

bring ffjgcc ,

Calming Voice, insightful viewpoint on coffee

I’ve been buying green beans from Sweet Maria’s for 5 years or so and only discovered this podcast a few months ago. I enjoy hearing about the different cultures, coffees and histories of the countries he visits as a green coffee buyer. Thompson’s calming voice lends itself well to the monologue format of the show. I will continue listening to every episode he produces, even if it’s only me and 4 other people listening. Sometimes I even try to buy the beans he discusses in the episode.

Thankful for podcasts ,

So chill yet informative

Thanks for the podcast, Thom! One part relaxing and meditative, and one part informative, this podcast hits the spot for low key yet high quality meanderings into the world of everything green coffee.

PoaRunner ,

Quirky and fun

I have been a customer and found this podcast recently. Thanks! I love the details, the reality, and the humor. A great way to learn about coffee and the culture around it.

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