Witty marketers in the mid-tier coffee sector have done a great job of combining roast style, geography and brew method into coffee bag descriptions.
Certainly by doing this you create emotional and situational buy in, as well as the freedom to ride the line between blends that consist of both premium and consumer grade coffee.
Some you may be familiar with are:
– Breakfast Bend.
Code for medium roast, pleasantly acidic.
– House Blend
Slightly darker, you’re probably going to put cream and sugar in it.
– Espresso Roast
Referring more to a “bold” and even “punchier” blend rather than the brew method. (This probably is the most confusing of all.)
– French Roast
Darker than the rest, also referring to it’s punchiness more so than it’s brew method.
Then you’ve got the full on deceptive origin descriptors that sell on the romance of geography. These include:
– Kona Blend.
Currently you need only 10% of your coffee to be from Kona to call it that. The rest of the 90% is from anywhere but.
So rather than naming your coffee a “situational” blend, you can just give it a fake geographical association that might appear exotic.
We see trucks driving around with “Gourmet Coffee” written on them, we hear commercials and see posters of “Premium Roast” being advertised.
What do these classifications mean and how does that affect us?
(Hint: There is no such thing as brewing or roasting in a “premium” or “gourmet” way. That’s just silly)
As coffee became more of a commodity we needed to find ways to classify the number of defects, screen size and cup quality that a particular sample possessed.
Currently classifications are broken down to these four main sections:
- Specialty grade coffee – (Must be pretty much perfect.)
– No more than 5 defects per 300gs of coffee.
– No primary defects are allowed.
– Free of faults and taints.
– No quakers* permitted and a moisture content between 9-13%
- Premium coffee.
– 8 defects per 300g.
– Primary defects are permitted.
– May contain 3 quakers.
- Exchange coffee
– 23 defects per 300g.
– 5 quakers allowed.
- Below standard or off grade coffee
– 86 defects per 300g.
Primary defects include;
Black bean, sour or stinkers, cherry, stones.
Secondary defects include;
Parchment, husk, chipped, insect damage, partial black, partial sour, floater, shell, stones, water damage.
*Quaker is an unripened coffee bean. It often has a wrinkled like surface and they do not evenly change color when roasted.
Brazil as a different classification scale but it is very similar.
Now go impress your friends next time you drive by one of these claims.