FAQ

What is sample roasting?

Sample roasting is a style of roasting that coffee producers use to evaluate coffee for purchase. Most coffee importers will provide on request a small sample of coffee that a roaster can test. Sample roasts are used to detect defects in the coffee as well as a evaluate the natural taste potential of the coffee.

Industry standard sample roasts are light and are not designed to produce the best tasting cup of coffee but rather a standardized and consistent way to test coffee. Lighter roasting ensures the natural taste of the coffee is retained. Later a roasting style (profile) can be developed make the most of those natural flavors, which is the art of coffee roasting.

Read more about sample roasting and cupping on at the Specialty Coffee Association of America.

What kind of coffee can I expect from the Fancy Coffee Test?

  • Top quality coffee beans
  • Mainly single-origin. A good blend from time to time
  • At least 2 different coffees to try (sometimes 3!)
    • A light or medium roast
    • A dark roast. Our dark is dark enough to satisfy regular dark roast drinkers but still preserve the coffee’s natural flavors.
    • For these 2 (or 3) roasts we sometimes use the same coffee for all three so club members can compare different roasting styles. In other cases, we use different coffees but from the same region. We are always trying new things so that we can collectively broaden our knowledge of coffee.
  • Sustainably farmed & organic where available
  • Sourced from programs that specifically benefit the farmer where available

Keep in mind, coffee is an agricultural product. It has a growing season and harvest time. Not every type of coffee is available year round and sources that were good last year may not be good this year. Coffee is ever changing which is one of its great challenges and rewards.

Can you grind my coffee?

Sorry, we cannot. And you don’t want us to!

Coffee is best when it is fresh. As soon as it is ground, the aging process accelerates sharply and we would never be able to get you truly fresh coffee.

What does washed mean?

There are three major types of coffee processing: washed, natural (dry) and honey.

Washed refers to a type of coffee processing. Washed processing means that once the coffee cherries are picked the outer fruit is milled and washed off with water leaving only the seed (bean). This minimized the influence of the fruit on the final flavor of the coffee. This is the most common type of processing and generally considered the easiest to roast.

Features of this process

  • Limited sugar and flavor absorbed by the seeds (beans) from the fruit of the cherry
  • Emphasizes the flavors the seeds of the fruit developed while growing
  • Controlled fermentation yields moderate acidity
  • Maximum water usage
  • Consistent production results
  • Predictable roasting

What does natural/dry mean?

There are three major types of coffee processing: washed, natural (dry) and honey.

Natural processing is the traditional type of coffee production dating back centuries to the origin of coffee, Ethiopia. After the coffee cherries are picked they are left to dry with the fruit completely intact as opposed to other processing methods which remove varying amounts of the fruit. Once the fruit fully dries, the outer part of the cherry is mechanically removed. Since the fruit is left on the seed during processing, it has a significant impact on the final taste of the coffee and not surprisingly natural coffees tend to be bright and fruity tasting. Since much is left to nature in this process, naturals can be inconsistent.

Natural processing is also called dry processing since no water is used.

Features of this process

  • Sugar and flavor absorbed by the seeds (beans) from the fruit of the cherry
  • Emphasised fruit flavors possible
  • Maximum fermentation yields highest acidity
  • Limited water needed
  • Inconsistent production results
  • Can be difficult to roast

What does honey processed mean?

There are three major types of coffee processing: washed, natural (dry) and honey.

In the honey process, after the cherries are picked, the skin the fruit is mechanically removed leaving the honey-like mucilage layer. It is left to dry in this state and then mechanically milled once more to reveal the inner seeds (beans). Honey processed coffee absorbs some of the sugar and taste from the fruit of the coffee cheery (but not as much as in natural processing).

Features of this process

  • Some sugar and flavor absorbed by the seeds (beans) from the fruit of the cherry
  • A balance of flavors between the fruit and the flavors the seeds of the fruit developed while growing
  • Limited fermentation yields lower acidity
  • Limited water needed
  • Consistent production results
  • Predictable roasting

What does arabica mean?

Arabica is a species of coffee and represents the top quality coffee in the world. The other major type of coffee is robusta, which is generally bitter and with a higher caffeine content.

References

How do you grade your coffees?

Since we only use top-quality beans, we don’t have grades.

We do have our “exotic” offerings from time to time. Exotics are special in some way either due to rarity, awards that they have won, unique origin, traceability or some other factor(s) that makes it of particular interest to the club. We will always make it clear why we feel that our exotics are so, so keep an eye out for when they pop up.