27 Jan How We Get You ‘Grade 1’ Beans
We strive to provide a high quality ‘bag of beans’ to all of our customers. There’s a lot that goes into making that happen so I thought we’d share a few of those things with you this month. There are some standards in the coffee business that are used to define quality. It starts with growers throughout the world growing that awesome coffee we’ve all come to love.
Green beans are graded by growers, importers, cuppers, and others. The green beans are inspected and evaluated for various traits. They are then given a score in this grading. For example, the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) and the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI) have developed a process where a ‘coffee grader’ will use 300 grams of green coffee beans to categorize various defects found in the beans. One of the most common categorization scales is ‘Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 3…’. Grade 1 are the beans that have the fewest number of defects noted in a 300-gram sample.
The types of defects found in green beans are:
- Insect damage – the main risk to coffee on the tree or immediately after picking is insects
- Fully Black – frost can damage beans and turn them black
- Under-ripe – underripe beans can curl into a u-shaped bean, leaving ‘quakers’
- Quakers – are only noticed after roasting the bean: they will appear lighter than all the rest of the beans in that roast
- Malformed – a peaberry is an example of a malformed bean (see our last blog)
- Shells – occur when multiple embryos develop in a single seed
- Triangles – another example of a malformed bean
- Broken/chipped/cut – sometimes occurs during processing
- Foreign matter – stones, rocks, any matter other than a bean
- Cherry pods – hulling errors leaving matter on the dried bean
- Parchment/pergamino – beans not fully processed, leaving parchment attached to the dried bean
We purchase Grade 1 beans because we want to provide the highest quality possible. We also visually inspect every delivery of green beans shipped to us upon arrival AND we inspect each roast. We use a destoner machine for our roasted coffee to remove any foreign debris that might have been in the green beans prior to roasting.
The destoner machine is a ‘fluid based’ system where air (the fluid) is used to send the roasted beans through the machine and into the receiving bucket while leaving the heavier foreign matter in the machine’s collection area. We then bag our high quality ‘clean coffee’ for delivery to you.
Thanks again to all of you for supporting us as you do. We hope you continue to enjoy our freshly roasted coffee.