Gawking At Green Coffee

A Two Part Video Series Taking an Up Close Look at Green Coffee

To close out my long-standing, and long delayed project to build sample trays of unusual green coffees, I made a video explaining as best I could the peculiarities and particulars of each example coffee. Given how many samples there are in the trays, and that each coffee has a bit of a backstory, this ended up being an incredibly long-winded video!

I imagine there’s a very small set of people who would be interested in a project like mine. It certainly is a bit OCD. I also imagine an even smaller set of people who would watch a video about it that was over an hour long!

But for all 3 or you out there, “Hello!” We form a group that is not part of the current fashion. Maybe that’s a good thing, I don’t know. One thing for sure is is that algorithms and AI will likely not plunge down these rabbit holes as readily. You can’t fake this kind of stuff, nor would you.”

These videos are super long I know, and if you make it to the end of both parts you deserve some sort of award! This is not green coffee<coffee grading, it really is gawking. I hope something in here is useful to you though.

Part One: Looking at Standard Varieties up Close

What can you learn by looking at green coffee? Can you tell the variety, the process, or where the coffee is from? The answer is complicated, but before cupping coffee and relying on taste became the primary way to determine value, experienced traders would study green coffee and rely on their sight for clues.

Part Two: Unusual, Interesting, and Exciting Samples

This video discusses some unusual green coffees (as well as parchment samples etc), some commercial grade coffees, defects, robusta samples and a few other oddities. The coffee found in a Cuban village is a real mystery to me!

4 Responses

  1. As a new home roaster I really enjoyed this 2-part series. Coffee just has such a rich and interesting history, including the lineage of the actual beans themselves. I’m curious if you and Dan find there are certain varietals that consistently produce great coffee or if the soil, climate, altitude, farming practices, and processing have a greater impact. I imagine be the answer yes to all of the above. But if all the latter factors are equal, is there really a significant difference between varietals? For example is a Central American Java varietal very different from a Caturra or Maragogype in terms of flavor quality? I ask because I am drinking the Nicaragua Altiplanos Java from Jinotenga. Compared to another Nicaraguan bean varietal from Jinotenga I have tried, I can’t say I can tell a huge difference. Now that certainly could be in part to my inexperienced palate and the fact I am using a more “primitive” roasting technique, aka VKP popcorn popper, although I am now pretty darn good at getting good consistent roasts with very little scorching. I digress…. Thank you for putting this series together. Consider me a nerd. I’m all in.

    1. There’s cases where the variety really comes through in the cup for sure. On the positive side there are Ethiopian types and Gesha. In side by side tasting I bet you would notice the Java variety from Nicaragua, but I think without a direct comparison, it might just seem like a nice coffee. There’s probably more cases where the variety of coffee has a negative taste, but hopefully you aren’t getting those from things that Sweet Marias. because those coffees we went by. Usually those are hybrids that include some robusta genetics and have more challenging green and herbal flavors. Not that all herbal flavors are bad but usually it’s not what people want in their coffee. But the fact is if all those other factors, you mention like processing selection, etc., aren’t done well then even if the variety of coffee, the altitude and everything else is really great it doesn’t matter, the coffee won’t be good. It’s like going out and buying an excellent fillet of fish and then cooking it really badly. It really doesn’t matter that it was so good to start with.

  2. No, the coffee I get from Sweet Maria’s is great. I’m just still learning and wonder if I’m just very “green” in my journey. I sometimes hesitate to comment because I feel like my roasting process might overcome or mask the great qualities of certain beans. I very much appreciate you all and how you go beyond just selling quality beans. You really do a great job of educating us home roasters!

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