When you buy a pack of coffee, the beans you’re holding have had a long journey from the coffee bush to the shelf. Part of the process is grading, where beans are sorted to remove any defects and ensure a top quality cup of coffee. There’s no universally accepted scale of grading, and each country has developed their own, which can be confusing. Many countries use a ‘1 to 5’ grading, with 1 being the best and 5 being unusable, but there’s lots of variation.
The grading process is a vital one, as defective beans can have a big impact on flavour. Defects can be caused by many factors including weather conditions, careless harvesting, poor storage, improper processing and many others. Mouldy, unripe, overripe or damaged beans can cause acidic, bitter, sharp, earthy, fermented, harsh or rancid flavours, so it’s very important they’re removed.
Another factor affecting taste is ‘quakers’, a term used by the coffee industry to describe unripe coffee cherries where the beans haven’t developed properly, and don’t roast well. The majority of quakers are removed early on, as if the coffee’s being wet processed the quakers will float to the top and can be skimmed off. For dry processed coffee, the quakers are removed visually, which is a more difficult and less reliable method. Another check for quakers will be carried out after the roasting process, as they lack the compounds to turn a true rich colour and remain pale and easy to see.
Here at Rijo42, we’re very careful about selecting our coffee beans to ensure the highest quality. That means that the bag of coffee you buy will have been picked, graded, dried, processed, roasted, stored and finally packaged, to make sure you have a fantastic cup of coffee. To buy our coffee beans, take a look at our main website at www.rijo42.co.uk.