Quality in coffee, from the plant to the cup
We believe that coffee quality means more than labels and points. We want to bring you closer to some of those factors. Here's an attempt to name quality factors along the path from the plant to the cup.
Terrain or Terroir
There are over 100 varieties of coffee in the world and they are all influenced by the terrain in which they grow. For example, Arabica plants are of the highest quality but do not grow everywhere. These plants need specific soil and climate conditions to reach their full potential and in most cases this can only be found in certain countries, in certain regions. Varieties that are common in one country may be harvested in another and this too affects the overall characteristics of the coffee. For example, a Geisha that originated in Ethiopia may also be grown in Costa Rica, with similar but not exact flavor profiles due to the difference in terrain.
Coffee needs friends. That's why high-quality coffee is usually grown on farms surrounded by shade trees and plants, rather than in large monocultures. The mineral composition of the soil, the regional climate, the altitude of cultivation, the mineral content of the water, and the surrounding flora and fauna all affect the taste of a coffee.
A professional cup taster can distinguish not only between different types of coffee, but also their origins. For example, a coffee from Brazil tends to be syrupy sweet and nutty, an Ethiopian is more floral and fruity, and a coffee from Indonesia often has a wilder and earthier character. These different flavor characteristics are all signs of individuality and make each coffee special and unique.
The plant itself must be cared for as it grows. Ideally, the farmer will take care of it, providing water whenever needed and using organic fertilizers to produce a biologically clean coffee. When we buy coffee, we look for sustainable land management practices that protect nature. As a Specialty Coffee roaster, it is important that processing methods fit the geographic and environmental conditions of the growing region. For example, large monocultures that lead to soil leaching and loss of biodiversity have an impact on the quality of a coffee, as do unsustainable processing methods that consume large amounts of water in regions where water is scarce, for example.
Harvesting and Processing
In the knowledge section on our website, you will find a lot more information about harvesting and processing, as they play a big role in the quality of the coffee.
Our coffees are harvested by hand, and depending on the growing region or farm, we determine the processing methods that best suit the coffee. From Natural to Honey to Washed Processing, there are many methods used to bring out a coffee's flavor potential.
Once the coffee makes its way from the farm to our roasters, it is our job to treat the coffee with respect. Once the green coffee arrives at our facility, our head roaster test roasts, baptizes, calibrates, measures and repeats the process until the perfect profile is developed. We roast our coffees to bring out the inner qualities of the bean and bring out everything the coffee has to offer. Our espresso roasts are full-bodied, easy to work with (soluble) and have sweetness above all else. Our medium (filter) roasts have a clearer, more transparent and lively character. Using special software programs, our roaster is able to program the findings and target parameters to achieve consistent and controlled results.
The coffee quality does not end with the roaster, the final step is the brewing, either as espresso or filter, at home or in the cafe. We choose to work with reputable coffee machines that offer consistency within our products, as we believe that quality coffee can also be user friendly. Last but not least, knowledge is key when it comes to brewing great coffee. We provide brewing recipes for customers as a starting point to get great tasting coffee. All of our baristas are trained and ready to share their knowledge with customers, in as much detail or as little as they desire.
Quality is not just one specific thing, but a whole chain of events that take place to get a coffee from the farm to your cup in the best way possible.