cal cupping

Why some Coffee brands are synonymous of quality and others are not.

Why some Coffee brands are synonymous with quality and others are not.

Today I just had a coffee that was simply not right. But have you ever thought why some brands are seen as better than others? Illy > Nescafe, Lavazza > Kenco, Taylors > Aldi coffee.

Brands such as Illy, Lavazza, are a traditional offer as synonymous of quality of coffee in the European continent and compared to instant coffee. That in some cases add flavours in an attempt to improve flavours. Yet the quality benchmark established from Illy is being passed by current medium and large independent roasters such as Caravan, Squire Mile or Unio Hand Roast.

What some brands do that enable them to captive the public attention? Most important is their understanding over the complexity in coffee. From the seed to the raw coffee (green bean). The same coffee with same flavour and characteristics can be distributed and traded in different ways. Most Brazilian farmers have at least the first set of dry mills machinery (Beneficio in Brazilain Portuguese) that simply remove the husks and skins.

But with the full set of dry mills machinery at the origin warehouse we can separate the same batch of coffee in 7-9 different sizes that can be traded for different markets. In the Middle East most coffee sold to consumers are roasted and grind very fine so the smaller beans size 12&13 from Brazilian producers is sold to that market. Illy in Italy often buys 14&15 sizes as it is relatively consistent to roast, you can buy quality at accessible price and Illy than grinds for consumer or buys larger sizes to supply roasted cafes.

The 4th Wave orientated by Australians and New Zealanders seek the bigger beans and flavour and is the root Independent roasters in the UK are doing. Bigger beans are more appealing, more expensive and easier to roast as it is more consistent. But most Brazilian coffee is sold 16 up which is about 40% of the Brazilian crop, we bring 17& 18 sizes which is only 20 % of the crop produced by farmers.

We must see that the good thing in coffee is that all coffee can be used and there is little waste when each different bean is used to different things.

We only work with the best farms in Brazil, from award winning coffee to humble farmers who are new to the scene. We try and bring great coffee to the masses and put a little bit if extra income in the farmers pocket.

If you would like to some of our wholesale prices for our Brazilian speciality coffee, get in touch here.


What are coffee defects?

What are coffee defects? (And why the affect your cup of coffee!)

There are about 18 different categories of coffee defects; but  when I was working at Bom Jesus farm I catalogued about 11 of the most important:

1st. Parchment it is when the coffee bean is involved in a layer of outer skin just like in a parchment, the dry mill should have cleaned the bean, but a bean wasn’t processed correctly.

2nd. Sour bean a healthy bean has been fermented either on the tree or on the drying stage without intention. The sour bean taste like medicine. It should be removed by colour scanning machinery.

3rd. Black bean this bean was genetically badly formed. Unpleasant taste. It should be sieved by the colour scanning machinery.

4th. Pink bean the pink bean in Brazil is one of the less common defects. But yet is a badly fermented bean and its density makes it easier to be removed by machinery.

One of the farmers at Sao Lucas making sure to keep defects to a minimum.

5th. Pod, or Cherry this is a dry mill process failure for a pod to arrive in a coffee sack in the UK from Brazil it means the 5 machines that should have sorted out the bean failed in their tasks.

6th. Small husks, stones, residuals, in a 30 kg of the best speciality coffee cupping SCA score 85 is still accept some residuals, still very unlikely. As most dry mills stages target the removal of any impurity. But coffee is a natural product and variants can occur.

7th. Insect damaged beans it occurs by badly management farming practices. It should be sieved by the density machinery but disappear once is roasted but taste is unpleasant.

8th. Fungus damaged bean coffee bean that suffered from rainfall during the drying stage. It taste like rubber. It should be removed by colour scanning machinery.

9th. Unripe bean is a bean that been too early harvested and never got to the right maturation level. Size, density and colour sorting machinery are responsible to sieve them out. After roasted looks like a quacker but taste much worse. The palest bean

10th. Floater beans most common defect in natural coffee beans. It is the beans that density and genetics simply is variant than standards. After roasted turns into lighter brown colour than most. Its characteristics it floats in water even if at the right maturity level. It is difficult to remove through machinery; most are removed in the density selection stage.

11th.  Shell, or broken beans very common defects the shell are big beans that in the roastery after the first crack are likely to split. It does not affect much the flavour and is a varietal genetics problem. Sorting should remove most of these defects.

I have made a PDF which  details defects you can find in most coffees. Downlaod HERE.

As always, if you want to order great coffee with no defects please get in touch for our wholesale prices by filling in our contact form.


Why Does Coffee From Chains taste the same?

Why Does Coffee From Chains taste all the same?

Taste and palled are something very personal. But there are simple yes and no answers to whether clean and fresh water is better than dirty water. Coffee is the same; The more the coffee defects the worse the cup of coffee. Here we will address some simple why questions:

Firstly, coffee chains have an established industry to hit always the same consistency coffee (In the case of your large chains taste is not the focus). They achieve that sourcing the same green coffee with same standards (Brazilian Santos type ¾ or 3/2). This means that the amount of coffee beans defects and blend roast are always the same. A defect is like a rotten tomato, is just not right.

Why independent cafes coffee tastes better than chain cafes?

Secondly, independent cafes have control in what they can serve to their customers. If the café focus is delivering better coffee, they will obviously have less defects. And yet coffee as a natural product will have different defects and some make a cup taste much worse than other defects.

Why can a bag of coffee cost from £4 to £9?

Thirdly, the reason behind the price difference is down to two key facts – coffee flavour and the amount of coffee defects in the cup. If a bean stands out because is broken, looks like shall or is pale or insect eaten it surely will be because the GREEN coffee wasn’t sorted correctly. The less the defects and the most complex flavour the most expensive coffee.

What we aim is to make people aware of the difference’s coffee can have. Educate people on the impact and importance of coffee in the lives of communities. As we buy from the farmers, we guarantee the traceability and livelihood changes we can deliver when British drinkers try our direct traded coffee.