Have you ever seen the expression on the face of someone who, for the first time, gets a taste of really good flavorful high quality coffee?
You almost always hear the universal, "Wow, ...what kind of coffee is this?"
Then, the unwary consumer goes shopping for that particular type, country, region, or quality and has a disappointing experience trying to find something that can match that same flavor and aroma.
You've most likely observed or experienced this yourself. In fact...
Just the other day, I received a newsletter from a roaster who touted a special exotic African coffee, rated 97 points, which he offered for sale at $20.95 for 12oz, plus about a third more for shipping.
Well... I like to see what people are selling, so I thought I'd like to get a taste of that, ordered a 12oz bag and, after it arrived, promptly brewed a pot with my favorite Bonjour French press... How'd it taste?
Flat!! Completely flat taste...Almost no flavor at all. And, the roast date was from just a week before.
So... What went wrong?
The coffee may have cupped good at origin, but after roasting... it failed.
The main defense against this type of situation, is to begin with high quality beans, resulting from a combination of good plant husbandry, picking, washing, drying, milling, grading, transport and storage.
At any one of these stages, the beans can degrade, affecting the ultimate quality of the roasted coffee for the consumer, even if it passes the test in your cupping room.
So... what can you do?
KEY NUMBER ONE: Choose High Quality Beans
There are a lot of myths out there, but high quality beans are able to withstand environmental conditions much better and continue to provide a superior cup that will last longer over time, whereas average to poor quality beans may taste acceptable at one point in the process, but degrade quickly thereafter.
In short, dense beans free from defects and other faults, uniform in size and formation, with a proper moisture content and a balanced acidity, will maintain the flavor profile after the roast in a more consistent and enduring manner than inferior beans.
Why? Because these types of beans are more resistant to oxygen degradation...
High quality coffee beans will resist going flat following the degassing process after roasting, and retain its taste and aroma for a much longer period of time.
KEY NUMBER TWO: Characteristics of High Quality Beans
Understand the characteristics of high quality beans and acquire those with as many of the following traits as possible. Each of these has a cumulative, positive effect on the taste profile of your roast:
- High percentage free from major defects.
- Moisture content between 8.5% and 10.5%.
- Color, generally grayish-green with bluish tint.
- Dense beans, uniform in shape and size.
- Straight one-line center cut.
- Free from sticky sliver skin.
- Gives a better cup at a medium roast than when very dark roasted, even when your intent is to create a dark roast.
- Brilliant, shiny appearance after roasting, but not from an oily external film.
- Color and cup profiles will not change much during storage, from six to twelve months.
KEY NUMBER THREE: Enhancing Your Return On Investment
High quality beans maintain a superior return on investment in tangible ways.
When creating blends of superior quality, beans with the attributes mentioned above will typically be much more flavorful with regard to aroma, body and flavor, requiring a smaller percentage used to achieve your taste objective.
Also... because the beans roast faster, as a result of proper moisture content, you will experience a percentage loss during roasting of only 8% - 12%, verses with lower quality beans which will typically lose between 17% - 20%.
Even as a single origin coffee, you can maximize the best combination of roast profiles to use with beans having different characteristics, even from the same origin (or even the same variety) and blend them together to create a very unique and fantastic single origin or single estate roasted coffee.
Finally, you'll maintain customer loyalty and repeat sales when the flavors in your coffee don't dissipate as readily after packaging and a reasonable period of storage.
BE CAREFUL WITH YOUR COFFEE SAMPLES:
One thing to consider when storing coffee samples is that, over time, without proper storage your coffee samples can change dramatically, even within days.
In our experience, samples delivered and stored in plastic bags can taste much different at a later date than the same coffee cupped at origin or received in the mail.
This is caused by micro-climate changes as a result of moisture that accumulates within the interior of the bag and on the beans, even when not visible to the human eye. You can prove this to yourself through a simple test:
TRY THIS EXPERIMENT:
Take several 100 gram samples of high quality very flavorful coffee with good balanced acidity and put them in sealed plastic bags. Keep them stored without opening for two weeks at room temperature. After two weeks, cup them again and compare and contrast the results against a matched sample kept in porous natural fiber or paper bags... You decide.
To preserve your green bean samples as close to the original as possible, we've found that, when stored in natural fiber or paper bags, you'll experience a very similar cup as you did during your first cupping... even up to six months.
Our green coffee sourcing business, Intellidon Origin Direct, has had great results using this type of samples storage. We think you will too.
Until next time... Keep striving for that perfect cup!
Authored by Steve Josephs and Jackson Kanampiu
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Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Steve_Josephs/157334