Ever felt like your coffee provider was just a sales company, miles away, who don't even remember you or your staff's names?
Maybe they only contact you if there's a complaint or if there's a problem with supply?
Can't remember when you saw the rep last to check on quality and training?
Not sure whether you're getting the best product for the best price?
These are common problems and concerns and the world of coffee can be a minefield. That being said, there are a number of strategies and questions that you can employ with prospective or existing coffee suppliers to ensure that you are purchasing coffee that is of the highest quality you can afford for you and your business.
How to tell the difference between the good and the bad...
There are a number of telltale signs that the coffee you have purchased for home or your business is of a high quality or not. Check the following to ensure you have what you paid for:
Inspect a bag of coffee and look for the "Roast Date".
This is not the same as an "Expiry Date". High quality or Specialty Coffee will not have an Expiry Date but rather a Roast or Roasted on date. Coffee is a perishable product and should be consumed fresh, within 30 days of roasting, for optimum results.
Is the coffee bag "poofed" outwards or is it vacuum sealed?
After roasting, coffee beans will expel CO2 gas for several days at an ever decreasing rate. This means that if they are sealed soon after roasting, the bag they are sealed in will expand under pressure from the expelled CO2. However, if the bag is devoid of air, this indicates the beans had released all the CO2 prior to bagging; a telltale sign of stale beans.
Is it Specialty Coffee or not?
The term "Specialty" is thrown around a lot these days in the coffee world but there is a misconception or non-realisation regarding this term.
"Specialty" is a grade or standard of green coffee (pre-roast) basically. Think of Specialty as grade "S" and the scale is (low) C > B > A > S (high).
The farmers that produce Specialty grade coffee work super hard to ensure the systems and methods they use, translate to the highest quality product they can produce. Coffee that does not meet strict Specialty grading specs then fall into the other classifications.
Be wary that although some coffee roasters use the term "Specialty" on their packaging, they are really only using it as a descriptor of the blend, not the grade of coffee used.
How does it taste?
It is important to taste coffee in as many ways as possible to understand how it performs in different situations. There are several ways to do this and not all of them involve espresso.
The Specialty Coffee Industry standard is cupping. This involves simple cups or bowls, medium coffee grounds and hot water; brewed and tasted. High quality coffee will stand out but so will low quality or poorly roasted coffee.
Filter Brewing is a good way to evaluate coffee also as it can separate oils from the coffee liquor, providing clarity. Try V60, Kalita Wave, Aeropress or Chemex.
French Press is very similar to cupping in that it is a full immersive brew method but I suggest removing the top layer of caramel coloured foam prior to pressing to give more clarity in the cup.
Note :- Always allow coffee to cool when tasting as heat will dull your palate and bitterness will be more pronounced. This includes espresso.
Dial it in, Training and Support...
Now that you've picked your coffee and it's arrived, all we you have to do is chuck it in the hopper, grind it, pull the shot and deliciousness will follow right?
Maybe, but it's unlikely...
Changing from one coffee provider to another will almost certainly mean a change in bean chemistry, physics and extraction. This means the grind setting will most likely need to be changed to deliver perfect extraction and balanced espresso.
We assist all new Wholesale Partners through this process to ensure your coffee tastes it's very best from the get go and provide ongoing training and support. Even the best coffee can taste terrible if it is not prepared correctly or if there are equipment issues.
Local wholesale partners enjoy regular quality control visits, staff feedback and training. We feel this is vital in delivering delicious coffee on a consistent basis. We assist as much or as little as you like.
You can buy coffee pretty much anywhere these days. From your local corner shop to a roaster overseas, coffee is everywhere and it can be good but also, not so good. However, the advantages of aligning with a local small batch, artisan roaster lies in their ability to cater to your specific needs and provide personalised service.
You might be across all avenues of coffee making and equipment and not need training or consultation. On the other hand, you might find staff training a chore or you just want to be able to buy cups, syrups and coffee all in one place. A custom roast might be what you're after or rotating single origins for your hoppers. We can help.
- Hand crafted, small batch specialty coffee roasting, beautifully packaged
- In house Barista School run by professionals
- Branded cups, syrups, organic cocoa, barista tools
- Preventative maintenance, equipment setup and training
- Cupping Event invitations
- Social Media partnerships and cross promotion
We will work with you as closely as you need to deliver your coffee vision.
Get in contact with us today.