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Speaking about seasonal blends and green beans

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  • Speaking about seasonal blends and green beans

    G’day all,

    A queer (as on odd) thought popped to mind today whilst enjoying a thoroughly great espresso at Duke’s Coffee Roasters.

    - Coffee harvesting is an intensive process, and due to Arabica coffee preferred growing environment in areas of high altitude in topical climates, the harvest can’t always be done mechanically forcing the farmers into hours of mind numbing cherry picking (because I’m pretty sure they rather be doing more productive things).

    - Like wine, coffee is only harvested once a year.  

    - Most coffee into the developed world is imported from the coffee belt.

    But as any roaster, barista knows great coffee lies in consistency; roasting on the part of the roaster and extraction the role of the barista. We all know that freshly roasted coffee tastes different to stale coffee (degassing) etc.

    But don’t green beans age too? This is where my query goes out to the collective knowledge of Coffeesnobs. If I postulate correctly green beans would be kept in a silo, freighted over on a boat and then get delivered to us, if anything aren’t the green beans already several months old already, wouldn’t they be stale?

    So this brings to mind a secondary thought about a trend I’ve noticed at Square Mile and Intelligentsia Coffee, the Seasonal Blend.

    I don’t know if anyone doing this in Melbourne but as a concept it seems quite interesting. Perhaps, people would shy away from the idea because it disrupts the concept of a ‘consistent’ coffee. But as any Melburnian knows, we probably have the most pronounced seasons of all the states.

    Comments, Flames, Opinions?  

  • #2
    Re: Speaking about seasonal blends and green beans

    Coffee can actually be harvested many times as ripening is uneven. The accepted wisdom is that green beans have a shelf life of around 3 years (depending on storage).

    I was talking to a roaster yesterday about unevenness of roasts with different crops and in his opinion he can roast fairly easily the same year but switching years takes some managing due to the different climatic conditions changing its taste profile.


    • #3
      Re: Speaking about seasonal blends and green beans

      Originally posted by 6A7A76190 link=1248601237/0#0 date=1248601237
      But don’t green beans age too?
      Yes, they do. After a couple of years in a bag, theyll taste "baggy". While ageing can have a beneficial effect on both green and roasted beans, eventually theyll all turn to musty, nasty stale crud.

      Most roasters will be tweaking their blends from roast to roast to improve flavour profile with every batch. I know Denniss cuppacoffee world blend has gone from something slightly "chocolately generic" to a "well-balanced, milk chocolate + caramelly body with a lemon flower highlight with a refreshing acidity that cuts straight through milk". Not your average cafe blend any more.