• Softs, brokens and raggedness

    Softs often go together with pales but a roast can also present a general aspect of softness. In this case the beans are generally open, and the centre-cuts are not well defined and may be brownish in colour. Some cultivars have a tendency towards soft roasts, especially when grown at low altitudes, but in the main softs are caused by poor drying and immature (very coated) coffee.

    Bleached, soapy, mottled, discoloured and blighted beans usually show up in the roast as softs or quakers, and also as pales. Careful sorting of the green beans helps to eliminate them but it is difficult to achieve 100% accuracy.

    Broken beans in a roast reflect inadequate separation during processing (both wet and dry), over-drying, incorrectly set equipment, and the presence of misshapen and deformed beans that have broken up during the roasting: all problems related to processing therefore, although some cultivars do produce larger proportions of deformed beans (elephant beans). In some cases, drought or nutrition stress seems to result in larger numbers of small elephant beans (these are of considerable concern to the grower as they mostly break up during processing and roasting).

    Ragged roasts also suggest the wrong coffees have been mixed together. For example, droughted coffee has been mixed with good coffee, or incompatible cultivars have been mixed such as larger flat-shaped beans with smaller, rounder or boat-shaped beans.
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