11.5.2-COFFEE QUALITY-COLOUR IS VERY IMPORTANT
Colour is very important
The colour should be even and bright
, especially so for mild, washed arabicas, which should never be dull, or mottled, or faded (going whitish).
Buyers dislike greens of uneven, faded, blotchy or dull colour because this hints at poor processing, incorrect moisture content and/or premature ageing of the coffee. All of these translate into reduced liquor quality, progressively becoming dull (bland) and common (ordinary). Remember that the buyer knows the actual shipment will still take time to reach them, so if the advance sample sent by air already shows such signs, the coffee itself may look still worse on arrival.
Drying affects the colour.
Like wet processing, drying is also of extreme importance. At this stage a coffee's quality can literally be destroyed. Correct harvesting, processing and drying require
maximum management input
: having spent an entire year tending to and investing in the crop, do not then entrust its harvest and handling to poorly trained, unsupervised labour. Many potential candidate coffees fail to make it to the specialty market, and certainly to the exemplary segment, because their green appearance shows shortcomings during drying and storage.
The green appearance of naturals (dried in the cherry) habitually shows a brownish tinge and beans with brown silver-skins (often called foxy beans). In naturals this is quite acceptable, but for wet-processed (washed) coffees these are negative aspects because they can translate into fruitiness, sourness and even an over-fermented taste. The knowledgeable liquorer will usually downgrade such a washed coffee even before it is liquored. But even if the liquor is satisfactory, the coffee may still be rejected because the green appearance suggests it could hide something -
the coffee looks unreliable.
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