Sourcing coffee is one of the most exciting parts about roasting. It is exciting because the location and work of a coffee farmer creates the potential of a roasted coffee. It is important to understand the entire process to recognize what makes memorable coffee. Memorable coffee was what got us fascinated by coffee years ago and why we started this business. To us, memorable coffee is a coffee that etches itself in your memory, like a good meal or a fine wine.
What creates a “good” green bean? I often compare coffee to wine, because great wine is created with meticulous growing standards and then aged and fermented in such a way as to highlight the flavor potential the fruit gives you. Coffee is much the same way. It is first about growing. You start with big questions like country and growing region. Then you ask what farm, and what is the elevation. Each country will tend to provide a framework for what your coffee could taste like. Higher grown coffees often have better potential for acidity, which creates dynamic and complex flavor profiles. The farm it’s grown on makes all the growing and processing decisions. Did you pick the coffee cherry when it was ripe? What varietal is the coffee cherry? Etc. Each step in the process creates a certain piece to the overall puzzle.
Once you have great fruit, you then have to determine how to process the fruit. There are three major processing categories with infinite variations between them. The main idea is removing the fruit from the coffee cherry and drying the seed out. Fermentation is also involved to get the “mucilage” or fruit pulp off of the coffee bean. The beans are then dried, sometimes over the course of weeks, and a final layer of parchment is removed. Each of these steps involves hard labor and meticulous care. There are about 2,000 coffee cherries picked by hand per pound of green coffee and then it is processed, dried, bagged up… It is a labor of love.
Most of our coffees are single origin, simply meaning they come from a single farm or small growing region. We are fascinated by how all of the characteristics of a coffee create its flavor profile and we are grateful for the farmers who do excellent work. We love the idea of partnering with farmers and producers to create a memorable coffee together.