Four reasons why we prefer high-quality coffee beans.
Four reasons why we prefer high-quality coffee beans.

Four reasons why we prefer high-quality coffee beans.

Since we discovered high-quality coffee from specialty roasters a few years ago, nothing else has come into our cup! And we are not alone with this attitude: The demand for specialty coffee is now the fastest growing branch in the coffee industry. In the US, specialty coffee has increased its market share from 1% to 20% in the past 25 years. A similar trend can also be seen in Europe and Asia. For example, the UK specialty coffee market is growing by 13% annually. This development is also reflected in our circle of friends and acquaintances: Fortunately, the number of fans of specialty coffee is steadily increasing here.

What is specialty coffee anyway?

In 1974 the term specialty coffee was first used by Erna Knutsen. She used it to describe coffees that have special taste characteristics. The term is protected by the Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) guidelines.

Specialty coffee describes particularly high-quality, top-quality coffees that achieve at least 80 out of 100 possible quality points (cupping score) according to a firmly defined tasting and evaluation process. The determination of the cupping score is carried out by certified Q graders.

The international scoring model according to SCAA has a long tradition in the purchasing process for specialty coffees and helps roasters immensely to assess the quality in the purchasing process.

Why we prefer high-quality coffee beans.

coffee plant from pixabay

We are happy to pay a few dollars more for an outstanding coffee taste because the quality differences between beans from a discount store and beans from a specialty roastery are simply enormous. High quality is no accident. There are many reasons why specialty coffee tastes so good. Below we have listed our four reasons why we prefer high-quality coffee.

  • Direct trade with fair prices
  • Transparency & traceability
  • Gentle roasting process in drum roasting
  • Fresh roast of the coffee beans

Direct trade at fair prices

Top-quality green coffee is increasingly being purchased by specialty roasting companies directly from farmers in the growing countries (direct trade). With direct trade, the roasters express that the coffee is not obtained from an importer, exporter, or another third party, but directly from the producer. Only those who know their coffee farmers personally can convince themselves of their cultivation methods and motivate them to improve the coffee quality even further.

Direct trade also means that, as a roastery, you are committed to sustainable, partnership-based cooperation with coffee producers and understand the living conditions of the local people. Specialty roasters pay the farmers stable and fair purchase prices, which are usually well above the world market price for coffee.

The higher price that the farmers get from direct trade coffee is motivating for the farmers to constantly work on improving the coffee quality. At this point, the commitment of the coffee circle should be mentioned, which implement social projects with long-term partners in the growing countries in the areas of education, health, and coffee cultivation and thus improve the quality of life of the local people. Because for every kilogram of coffee sold, 1.20 $ goes into social projects that the coffee circle implements together with the people in the coffee regions. Many projects have been successfully implemented since 2011. We regularly order specialty coffee at the coffee circle, because we are making a small contribution to a sustainable world. And by the way, the coffee tastes delicious!

Transparency & traceability

We cannot be satisfied with the indications 100% Arabica and country of origin “Brazil” on the coffee packaging. In our opinion, top-quality coffee is also characterized by whether specific information has been given about the origin of the coffee, the method of cultivation, the height and processing, the coffee farmer or the cooperative, the coffee variety, and the degree of roasting. Because only when there is full transparency from A to Z in coffee production can the highest quality be ensured during roasting and finally in the cup. And it is precisely this transparency that is lived and promoted by specialty roasters.

The origin of the coffee is completely traceable and the information on the packaging is very detailed. When you buy coffee from specialty roasters, you can have a clear conscience that a fair price has been paid to the coffee makers.

Gentle roasting process in drum roasting

coffee roasting process from pixabay

High-quality green coffee requires a longer and gentle roasting in a drum roaster. In contrast to many industrial roasting systems, in which the beans are roasted with very hot air (550 – 600 ° C) and in a short time (3 – 4 minutes), the roasting process with long-term drum roasting takes 15 – 20 minutes and takes place at temperatures between 180 and 240 ° C. The disadvantage of roasting in the huge industrial plants is that the roasting process in the bean is not even.

The high temperatures ensure that the beans are roasted dark on the outside, but due to the short roasting time, the roasting process in the core of the bean has not yet taken place. The result is that the aggressive irritant acids such as chlorogenic acids are not broken down and remain almost completely in the bean. The weight loss of the beans is less, which leads to a higher profit margin for the large roasters. In contrast, with slow drum roasting, the beans are also roasted in their core and the acids are gradually broken down by the longer roasting.

Another argument in favor of drum-roasted coffee is that it can cool down “completely relaxed” in the air after the roasting process. In the industrial roasting process, however, the coffee is usually cooled with water after roasting. The beans gain weight again, the profit margin increases. And unfortunately, more water in the beans also means less taste for the same amount. That doesn’t bother the price-conscious consumer very much. The main thing is cheap! That bothers us a lot. That’s why we don’t buy beans from discount stores.

Fresh roasting of the coffee beans (roast date)

Another argument why we buy whole coffee and espresso beans from specialty roasters is that we make sure that the coffee is freshly roasted. After roasting, coffee from the discounter is transported to a large warehouse, from where it is successively delivered to the various nationwide branches. During this time, the coffee ages and loses a large number of its valuable aromas. And if you’re unlucky, you buy coffee that has been on the supermarket shelf for several months. That has nothing to do with fresh quality goods.

Therefore, when buying beans, make sure that the roasting date is stated on the packaging in addition to the best-before date. For beans from large roasters, you can search for information on the roast date for a long time. At numerous specialty roasting companies, however, it is now common practice to indicate the roasting date on the packaging. And some companies write the following note on the coffee packaging: “Please use the contents within 14 days after opening”.

Coffee is a fresh product and should be treated that way.

We would be delighted if you could leave us your reasons for buying top quality coffee beans in the form of a comment below.

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