Below are some FAQ we have been asked. For each question we list the question – the date it was asked (if relevant) and then an answer. Wording may have changed.
Coffee Texture Question
Question: Hi, I am looking for beans that would give me thick, syrupy, full bodied coffee? which one of Quaffee beans can provide? I do not want more acidic/bright ones.Date: 22 June 2017.
Answer: It depends on how you are brewing your coffee. If it is espresso any coffee can give you that sort of mouthfeel, you need to get your dose (of coffee in) to yield (amount of water used) ratio to between 1:1.2-1:1.8.
However from your description I would assume you are looking for the more nutty/coca coffee.
If you are looking for more intense roasty mouth feel then the Armonizar or Old/School are the better choice.
About our Packaging
Question:I wondered why it is that your bean packaging is like it is? Date: 22 June 2017.
Answer:There is a long answer to this. We spent about 3 years deciding about the packaging. We really wanted to use local packaging that was recyclable.
After some searching we found this local producer of medical grade plastic bags we could do a test with.
So this is what we did.
We bought the traditional paper bags, the foil and plastic bags that are used by various roasters. Some of the packages had a valve, some not and enlisted the help of a number of qualified wine tasters and test the packaging.
Then we selected 3 coffees and roasted them fresh. We then placed them in the bags we could find at the time (beans). We stored three example of each coffee in each packaging. One in a cupboard, one in the fridge and one in a domestic freezer.
Each week we took a fresh batch of coffee that was roasted, let it settle for 2 days and then we compared the coffees we had roasted to the ones in the packages – blind.
As the weeks went by we realized that:
- Coffee if the fridge was the worst performing – for all packaging.
- Coffee in paper and foil packaging that was in the freezer was becoming a little dull.
- Otherwise it took us 5 weeks to tell the coffees in the cupboard from the fresh roasted (for the bags that we could not reseal we folded the top over and placed a peg on the top).
- It took us 9 weeks for the none foil based packaging in the freezer to start tasting a little dull.
The conclusion was that the medical grade plastic performed as well if not better than the foil packaging – even the ones with the valves. It even outperformed the paper based packaging.
This was exciting news. Since all the other packaging is made in china, shipped in bulk and is none recyclable (we have since found a paper one that is supposed to be biodegradable – but that is another story).
We believe this worked since:
- the medical grade plastic is a poly-prop based material. This material is porous to most gasses so it is essentially acting like a valve.
- the cupboard was effective at keep the light our so this also helps prevent aging.
So we spoke to the people who make the medical grade plastic bags, and asked if we can change a few things like the zip lock on the bigger bags (we wanted a double zip). For the smaller bags we placed them in the cardboard boxes or tins (depending on the coffee cost). To keep the light out.
This meant we were able to have locally made coffee packaging that was fully recyclable (the ink on the stamp is also organically based), that was effective at retaining the coffee freshness.
A few things we have learnt since then.
From articles we have read since then we have learnt; The valve bags are not really effect at keeping gas out. After reading a number of tests the best case scenarios found that the ppm of oxygen in the bag and outside the bag was no more than 5% difference, typically it was less than 1%, and on many of the bags there was no difference. The exception is if the valve bags are nitrogen flushed and the hermetically sealed when the coffee is packed. However once the bag is opened this because mute since the coffee equalizes within an hour.
Is there a better way?
There have been experiments done on custom containers that you can suck the oxygen out every time you use the coffee. It does seem that the freezer has added benefits with particle homogeneity if you grind frozen beans. This is now used at competition level to great success.
Coffee is a crop
Question: My favourite coffee is not available anymore why?
Answer: Coffee is a crop. Each country harvests their coffee at different times, normally there is a major harvest time, and in some cases a minor harvest period.
Specialty grade coffee is the best rated of the crop but is also typically a small percentage of the crop. While the actual percentage of specialty grade varies per region and country (it is typically between 5 and 25% of the crop), this is the first coffee to be sold out as it is scarce. While we work with agents, and farmers to try and but enough coffee to last us between crops we cannot really predict demand. We also try only buy enough to last us until the next crop ships, so we never have past crop coffees.
Competition for coffee
While we are busy working with farmers, producers and agents to try get their latest quality crop, we sometimes do not have enough buying power to secure the crop. A producer wants to sell as much of their coffee as possible ans quickly as possible, and sometime we are unable to take the volumes they want us too, or even we get out bid.
The quality of some regions will be affected by the weather, the people involved and any outbreaks of disease. So sometimes we stop buying from an agent, or farm since the quality is not up to scratch.
Question: Arabica is Arabica right?
Answer: We have a full discussion about this on the Arabica page but the short answer is no! Just like meat, fruit and veg coffee has different species, varieties and quality. We select the coffees we do on taste. While we will have a range of qualities we do try select the best in a range of quality levels.