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.

Difference between natural and washed beans?

Question: What is the difference between washed and natural beans?

Answer:

Essentially it the methodology of removing the “bean” or “pip” from the cherry.

The natural or dry process lets the cherry dry in the sun. A well processed natural or dry processed coffee is tossed every 2 hours. This is how all of our naturals are done. If they are not tossed then the cherry ferments and the natural sugars and yeasts will then damage the coffee, making it furmenty. Almost all Brazilian coffee and most low land grown coffees are natural processed to increase their complexity, since they are not as hard as the highland coffees, so tend to lose their flavours more.

A washed coffee is one where the coffee cherry is passed through a pulper that removed the skin and mucilage (or fruit) from the pip. Leaving only an little fruit on the outside. These coffees are then placed under water to ferment so that the rest of the fruit separate from the parchment layer (within which lies the beans). After between 12 and 48 hours of fermentation ( depend on the country and washing station) – the coffee is then washed. They empty the tanks through channels and using a type of blunt rake they wash the coffees in the channels removing the fermented fruit that should have detached from the parchment layer.

In between these processed is the pulp natural or honey process – that removes part of the skin and fruit then dries the coffee in the sun – rather than fermenting it under water.

All processed coffees dried (either in natural, pulp natural or wet processed) on large patios (for lower quality coffees) or raised beds for countries that do not have a lot of rain during harvest seasons, or parabolic driers (for countries that have a lot of rain, that are raised beds (or layers of beds) that allow the farmer / processing stations to dry the coffee when the sides of the driers are opened up to allow wind through.

Once the coffee reached a desired moisture level (from 25% to 10%) they are removed from the drying areas. For moisture levels about 12% they tend to further machine dry these coffees.

You can read more about processing here: /posts/post-harvest-coffee-process-for-interest/

Your favourite coffee?

Question: We often get asked what is our favourite coffee

Answer:

Coffee for us is like wine for some people. We change the coffee we drink a lot. We tend to love mainly Colombian and African coffees, but every now and then we will crave and Indo or a Central. Since we love choice. We are try to offer a number of coffees to suit a coffee lover’s taste buds.

We feel there are some coffees we always have to offer, since they are almost established standards. So we tend to always have at least 2 Ethiopian specialty grade coffee, a Burundi and a Kenyan. Then we are big fan of Colombians so we typically do at least three.

Brazil is famous for its bulk coffee, but we try to do something from Brazil that represents the specialty sector, since these coffees are real stand outs from the origin often looked down upon. These coffees are typically much lower in acidity, and not as sweet as Africans, but they are well loved.

Additionally we feel we must do at least one of the Other Central or South American coffees, also offer an Indonesian other Asian coffee, which we rotate depending on availability.

We have also done really special coffees (87+ in the cup). However sales of these coffees have been very slow, and hence have decided to putting this offering on hold, at east until we can figure out a way to so this; that would not lose money and result in coffee being wasted. The probable solution we are considering involves commercial level freezing of the green beans, early results are VERY promising. Then we may then offer these coffees on particular days of a month.

So the short answer is that we have no real favourites. However we are not fans of like commodity grade coffee (around 80% of the coffee offered). We do still offer these coffee since we are trying to be sustainable as a business, not just in the coffee we source.


Which Jura for me?

Question: I saw such and such a Jura, which one do you recommend?

Answer: There is a Jura comparison page on the website  But as of Sept 2017 here are our recommendations (we update the comparison page, but not necessarily this page, so date is important).

Below is a summary of how we see the Jura range.

  • For domestic use of 5 cups or less – the A1 is perfect – add an external standalone frother and you can do almost anything with the machine. It does however only brew a maximum of 12 g, so if you like the flexibility then the E6 is the next option.
  • The E6 is the first machine in the range with a larger tank, and specifically large brewing unit that can do a “double” dose or 16g of coffee. It does have the option of the milk frother which requires a little manual input (you have to turn the dial) – but cope well with up to 30 cups a day.
  • Then the others are small improvements for cash you spend. The E8/F9 add an option to do a hand free cappuccino, brewing unit, grinder and frother identical to E6 . The E8 moves the milk section to one side, the F9 has it in the middle. Looks are normally what make people decide.
  • The WE8 is a big tank version of the E8 – so perfect for an medium size office
  • The Z6 – is for those that want the best coffee Jura can make with a good looking machine.

All machines above support the PEP – a way to get the most out of coffee Jura pushes as perfection. It does make a better cup of coffee, but perfection is a push.


Coffee Texture/Body/Mouthfeel 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.

In that case the Honduran Erapuca, Brazilian Londrino and the AsOrganic from Colombia are the best for that.

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.

Test methodology

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.

Tasting Results

As the weeks went by we realized that:

    1. Coffee if the fridge was the worst performing – for all packaging.
    2. Coffee in paper and foil packaging that was in the freezer was becoming a little dull.
    3. 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).
    4. It took us 9 weeks for the none foil based packaging in the freezer to start tasting a little dull.

Conclusion

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.

Further notes

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.

Crop cycles

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.

Quality drops

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.