PUT YOUR CURRENT SUPPLIER TO THE TEST
Do you know exactly how much money the farmer is paid for the coffee you buy? Do you know all the links in your supply chain and who is getting paid what? Do you know when your coffee arrived in your country? What else was in the shipping container? What are the conditions of the warehouse where your coffee is being stored? Can you communicate directly with the farmer? Can you visit the farm? Why is your supplier not revealing this information? Can you see how knowing this information can make it possible for you to verify the quality of your product, and the integrity of the business practices of the farm and of the supplier? With Lucatelli Coffee, the answer to every question above is yours for the asking.
QUALITY POINTS RATING
What is the cupping score of your coffee? If you don't know, then it's not Specialty Coffee and you shouldn't pay more than New York Spot Price, plus actual shipping costs. If you know the cupping score, are you certain the test was performed by a qualified, certified quality tester? Which standard was used? Have you seen the cupping notes from the Q-Grader with your own eyes? Coffee is probably your second greatest expense, next to labor, so choose a supplier who readily provides answers to these critical questions.
USE YOUR FIVE SENSES
Have you tested your current supplier's green coffee beans using all five of your senses? Do the beans have a similar size, shape and color? Do they look even and bright, or white and faded? Do they smell fermented? Do they feel brittle or glass-like to the touch? If so, they've been over-dryed. Are they pliable to the touch? If so, they haven't been dried enough and mold is likely to be present.
GREAT PROCESS YIELDS GREAT PRODUCT
What is the coffee drying process at the coffee estate? Improper drying methods such as mechanical dryers can usually be observed visually. Rapid drying in mechanical dryers results in dull or brown coffees. Make sure the coffee estate is processing green coffee beans immediately upon harvesting. Otherwise you are guaranteed a fermented cup since coffee begins fermenting immediately upon picking. Ask how they use the fermentation tanks and why? Do they separate out coffees that float to the top of the tanks during fermentation? After pulping, do they separate coffees by density before they add them to the tanks? Only coffee estates that have dedicated a significant amount of time to improving coffee quality will know why these steps are important and necessary.
SPECIALTY GRADE COFFEE
Suppliers should not arbitrarily place a designation "Specialty Grade Coffee" on their beans unless they meet specific, stringent qualifications. Yet some do. Specialty coffee is a term used to refer to coffee that has scored over 80 points on a 100 point scale by the SCAA (Speciality Coffee Association of America). There must be no primary defects. The moisture content must be between 9% and 13%. The coffee must exhibit a distinct attribute in one or more of the following areas: taste, acidity, body, or aroma. Lucatelli green coffee beans meet this standard.
If your supplier cannot readily provide answers with receipts to all these questions, perhaps it's time to consider a new supplier.
Buy Smarter. Buy Lucatelli.