The Lean Times [We were discussing the nearly complete lack of Central American coffees in our offerings when Tom remembered that he wrote about this in a past Tiny Joy. He has a good memory because I found it in the Nov-Dec ’04 edition! I am reproducing part of that here since it is still relevant. – Maria]
We get an occasional customer who resists the preponderance of information on our web site that coffee is, indeed, an agricultural product. Yes, it comes from a shrubby tree with beautiful, deep green leaves and lovely white flowers that come and go in the course of a week. And the fruit that emerges comes and goes too, as does the really spectacular, small lots of coffee that we manage to corral into our warehouse. Dear imaginary and stubborn coffee lover; we are not talking about laundry detergent or soda pop here. It’s not a matter of simply ordering more and stocking the shelves full. There is an ebb and flow to our list of coffee offerings that, naturally, reflects the crop cycle itself.
So where are we in that cycle? We are in the gap when the really good mid-harvest Central American coffees begin to sell out. A quality conscious company like ours that only buys based on Cupping is a method of tasting coffee by steeping grounds in separate cups for discrete amounts of ground coffee, to reveal good flavors and defects to their fullest. It has formal elements and methodology in will not go out and buy replacement lots from what the brokers have to offer. Yes, I could go out at any time and get more Costa Rican or Salvador or Panama coffee ranges from medium quality lower altitude farms to those at 1600 - 1800 meters centered in the area of Boquete in the Chirqui district near the border with Costa Rica. Some farms feature. But the Green coffee refers to the processed seed of the coffee tree fruit. Coffee is a flowering shrub that produces fruit. The seeds of the fruit are processed, roasted, ground and prepared as an infusion.: Coffee left after all the good stuff goes is not something that interest me, nor do I think it would interest you. The range of coffee that I would even consider buying from brokers is less than 5% of what they offer, meaning that there are thousands and thousands of bags out there that are Specialty coffee was a term devised to mean higher levels of green coffee quality than average "industrial coffee" or "commercial coffee". At this point, the term is of limited use, since every multi-national coffee broker by grade, that come in nice bags, that might be A "coffee estate" is used to imply a farm that has its own processing facility, a wet-mill. In Spanish this is called an Hacienda. A Finca (farm) does not necessarily have a mill. (And Finca coffee, but that do not have exemplary “In coffee talk, it refers to a coffee-producing region or country; such as, "I was just at origin." Of course "Origin" for most product we use is not a beautiful farm in a temperate climate, character.”
My hypothesis is that a home roasting person who decides to spend money on a roaster, and the time to roast and brew correctly, PLUS the time reading and learning a bit more about coffee, is not going to want to buy average green coffee even if it costs $1 per lb. less. You will NEVER get an extraordinary cup from an ordinary green coffee. Sure, you can ruin a good coffee in the roasting or brewing, but that is another can of worms. It’s the old “garbage-in, garbage-out” maxim. – Tom circa 2004
We are in that situation now – Refers to fresh shipments of green coffee within the first month or two of the earliest arrivals ... not quite the same as Current Crop, which means the most recent harvest. As a stable dried Centrals are shipping this month – and ought to arrive in April, and that means we ought to have them posted for sale by the end of April, beginning of May. That goes for Costa Rican coffee is typically very clean, sweet, with lots of floral accents. hey are prized for their high notes: bright citrus or berry-like flavors in the acidity, with distinct nut-to-chocolate roasty flavors.: Can a and Guatemalan coffee is considered a top quality coffee producer in Central America. Due to our proximity to Guatemala, some of the nicest coffees from this origin come to the United States. : Guatemalan growing regions. New crop Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both in the cup, and the way they run their trade, everything is topnotch.: Kenya is the East African powerhouse of the coffee world. Both is “on the water,” due in mid to late April (there is a lot of water between Oakland and the east coast of Africa!) More new crop Hawaiian coffees are coming – both Kona coffee comes from farms along the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii: Kona coffee comes from farms along the Kona Coast on the Big Island of Hawaii. Coffee is grown at elevations and Ka’u coffee this year. In the meantime, lovers of Ethiopian coffees ought to be very happy, as we have great both wet- and dry-processed Ethiopians to offer. And we have There are several types of Abyssinia, but they are not from Ethiopia but rather Indonesia. Abyssinia 3 = AB3. PJS Cramer, a Dutch plant researcher, introduced this variety in 1928, supposedly from Ethiopia seed stock. It was and Papua New Guinea (PNG) occupies the eastern half of the island it shares with the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya, part of Indonesia. The two primary areas for coffee production can be grouped roughly as offerings that we have not had in recent years. – Maria
The study of the agronomy of coffee, its chemistry, or other improvements: The study of the agronomy of coffee, its chemistry, or other improvements. There are coffee research organizations throughout the world. In Central America, – What’s next?
I reported before on our involvement in the Global Coffee Quality Research Initiative (GCQRI). This project is funded primarily by coffee roasters to advance research in improving coffee quality, and improving the volume of quality coffee produced in the world. It’s not as if there is a lack of great coffee out there, but we are definitely on the threshold of seeing production of really good Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible for around 75% of the worlds commercial coffee crop.: Arabica refers to Coffea Arabica, the taxonomic species name of the genus responsible drop, given greater consumption and agricultural issues with pernicious pest and disease. And, despite the nay-sayers of global warming, everywhere I go farmers are commenting on changes in their local climate and how it impacts their crop. I am lucky; I am sitting on the preliminary Research Planning Committee for the GCQRI and the nascent projects I am hearing about are intriguing.
Quite a few projects involve scientific collaboration to bring new technology to the old methods of the coffee industry. NIRS (Near Infrared Spectrophotometry) is a newer tool for analyzing chemical markers and has already yielded breakthroughs in coffee research. Under GCQRI, one possible project is to form an open NIRS Database of Quality Coffee samples from all growing areas. New samples could be submitted by roasters for cost-effective and complete analysis of all the The co-presence of many aroma and flavor attributes, with multiple layers. A general impression of a coffee, similar to judgments such as "balanced" or "structured" factors that contribute to flavor and quality, and then the sample would be indexed among all other known samples from that region, providing a global context for understanding differences in The overall impression in the mouth, including the origin character as well as tastes that come from the roast.: This is the overall impression in the mouth, including the above ratings as well as tastes. It ties right into another project, described as such “Identify Main green coffee candidate molecules strongly impacting quality.” Yes, it is true. We don’t know what it is in coffee that makes it taste good. Using older techniques, we have some pretty good ideas, but many things have been left unclarified. Coffee is just so darn complex. The project design would involve rapid Running coffee through a screen with holes of a fixed size to sort beans for size.: Running coffee through a screen with holes of a fixed size to sort beans for size. techniques on the thousands of metabolites in coffee and then set out to correlate and identify those related specifically to cup quality. When we know that, we know how to test for quality components in future studies. Another project along the same lines involves sensory evaluation, cupping as we call it. The project is called NextGen Coffee Sensory Evaluation.
Traditional descriptive cupping has it’s place; it’s how we find coffee we like, and describe it to our customers. And some biochemical screening techniques have come along lately. (Everyone recalls the press for the “electronic nose” a couple years back). But what about relating the two to form a broader understanding of coffee quality? In the current methods, humans do not reliably attain repeatable results in Sensory Analysis is a broader term for all qualitative evaluation of food and beverage. In coffee, it is a better term for what we call "cupping." (I am talking about the kind of cupping that can be a basis for scientific study of coffee quality, not the kind of cupping for someone to find and describe flavors).
On the other hand, current chemical evaluations might tell us if a compound is present, but doesn’t tell us what that means … and there being a lack of understanding of which core compounds relate to quality, how do we know what we are looking for? So this new technique would involve a panel of tasters that would calibrate and agree on levels of quality and flavor attributes, then run the sample through a battery of these new, rapid techniques to validate the finding. Repeat this, and you find out exactly what chemical components are behind flavor attributes that coffee roasters find valuable. When these findings are informed by the other two project approaches I already mentioned, you form a much greater understanding of exactly what it is we find desirable in a good cup of coffee, which can then be used to discover ways to grow higher quality coffee in producing countries.
You might ask yourself, why doesn’t all this exist already? It might, but it would be locked in a vault at Nestle in Switzerland. And nobody else has had the means to define and fund research that centers entirely on coffee quality. Producing countries focus on fighting disease and pests, and on higher yields. Both of these are important, but in the absence of a buyer’s regard for taste quality, we end up with hybrids that have Robusta usually refers to Coffea Robusta, responsible for roughly 25% of the world's commercial coffee. Taxonomy of Robusta is debated: some sources use “Robusta” to refer to any variety of Coffea Canephora, and some use genes; Ateng is a common name for Catimor coffees widely planted in Sumatra and other Indonesia isles.: Ateng, with several subtypes, is a common name for Catimor coffees widely planted in Sumatra and other Indonesia isles., Sarchimor is a disease-resistant hybrid, crossed between Villa Sarchi and Hibrido de Timor (HdT), CR-95, An Arabica cultivar from Kenya, a dwarf form with resistance to CBB (coffee berry borer) and CBD (coffee berry disease) : Ruiru 11 is named for the station at Ruiru, Kenya where it was developed, Castillo is a selection of the Colombia cultivar that has become the most commonly grown coffee in Colombia. It is preferred to the older resistant variety, Variedad Colombia in some regards. Cenicafe developed this variety, etc. It’s only this type of collaboratively funded research that can pool resources to address the concerns of quality-oriented coffee business, and by extension, all those who drink coffee because it tastes good. Those who lift a cup of coffee to their lips and think “Boy this tastes like an economically-produced large-scale agricultural product” or “Boy, this instant coffee is awful but I saved myself 11 minutes I would have wasted grinding and brewing a good-tasting coffee” … well, we just can’t help you.
That’s the coffee experience of the ’60s and early ’70s before the rebirth of the small roaster, and we don’t want to go back to that! You can find out more on the GCQRI site. Ongoing Roasted Subscriptions I recently created an Ongoing Subscription for the Twice-Monthly Roasted Coffee Pairings. It works just like a regular subscription – we charge and ship you 2 pounds of roasted coffee every two weeks – on an ongoing basis – until you tell us to stop. For more about our roasted coffee offerings. – Maria