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  • Coffee Grading

    Looked around cs and had a quick google but i cant find anywhere that explains the ranking or different kinds of coffee grades that are used on coffeesnobs,

    for example in beanbay you will find

    AA
    A
    premium
    cup of excellence
    Grade 1

    and alot of unmarked beans.

    Im guessing that theres more then one rating system in the world but can anyone explain what they are and how they compare to each other?

    thx


  • #2
    Re: Coffee Grading

    Hi tOfu

    If you look at this thread, in the Home Roasting section:-

    http://coffeesnobs.com.au/YaBB.pl?num=1251800032

    This was discussed only last night, with a helpful link thrown in for good measure.

    Cheers
    Di

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Coffee Grading

      S: so then AA is bean size and grade 1 is also AA but with defect counts and theyre never used together?

      so then the unmarked beans in beanbay are <A? or the grading becomes irrelevant because the crops beans are naturally smaller

      i thought batches of beans were cupped and then graded as well

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coffee Grading

        Originally posted by 6F2B7D6E1B0 link=1251866329/0#0 date=1251866329
        Im guessing that theres more then one rating system in the world but can anyone explain what they are and how they compare to each other?
        When I have half a lifetime spare Ill try to explain it.
        ;-)

        Grading is a guideline, SCAA tried to make a "standard" of defect counts but not much of the worlds cofee mills follow it.

        Each country and even some regions within a country have their own grading schemes and remembering that coffee is often grown and graded by farmers (not snobs) the best you will ever get is "close".

        AA, A, AB, AX, B, C, PCX are all grading sizes... Extra Fancy, Fancy are too and then some countries use grade 1, 2, 3, 4 etc. Terms like premium generally mean they left most of the rocks out.
        ;-)

        Ill have a better go at answering when I have a pile of spare time.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Coffee Grading

          Originally posted by 1639332E570 link=1251866329/3#3 date=1251873570
          Terms like premium generally mean they left most of the rocks out.
          ROFL! ;D

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Coffee Grading

            (: good to know youve picked out the best for us andy !

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Coffee Grading

              This is a really good question. Theres an underlying issue behind all of this grading stuff and thats simply this: cup quality. Today, we would all expect that cup quality would pay the defining role in grading and setting prices for coffee. Historically, this hasnt been the case. Coffee has been traded for hundreds of years as something to be roasted, ground, brewed and drunk, but the idea of actually tasting it and buying it based on taste is a relatively new one; a few books that I have read put it at about a century old. Apparently coffee was traded largely on the basis of appearance and easily measurable quantities like bean size and density still play a large, if not defining, role in most coffee grading systems.

              Today, the idea of coffee as a specialty product where the market is differentiated based on taste seems to be gaining a foothold. The spread of the idea of specialty coffee has also coincided with the information age and the rise and rise of the internet. Consequently, nowadays basically every roaster seems to put out the message that they are all about "specialty coffee" and cup quality. Whilst these roasters might not be able to differentiate themselves on the message that they put out to the public, they do do it in the cup. As others have pointed out, there are a huge number of different grading systems out there and most of them arent all that useful in terms of giving information about whats in the cup. On top of that, green coffee traders seem to vary in terms of both the amount and quality of the information other than grades that they provide about their offerings and it seems to me that there are now more avenues than ever to buy green coffee in Australia. This means that, as ever, grades are no substitute for actually doing the hard yards of tasting through a lot of different offerings and the roasters that do this best are at an advantage to those that do a less rigorous job in their coffee selection.

              As always, heaps more to write on this topic. As Andy says, this is one for that pile of spare time that we all hope to have one day.

              Cheers,
              Luca

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Coffee Grading

                Originally posted by 223B2D2F4E0 link=1251866329/6#6 date=1251893599
                Apparently coffee was traded largely on the basis of appearance and easily measurable quantities like bean size and density still play a large, if not defining, role in most coffee grading systems.
                Objective?

                Originally posted by 223B2D2F4E0 link=1251866329/6#6 date=1251893599
                Today, the idea of coffee as a specialty product where the market is differentiated based on taste seems to be gaining a foothold.
                Subjective?

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Coffee Grading

                  Originally posted by 4F736E757F7E697C747F1B0 link=1251866329/7#7 date=1251895434
                  Originally posted by 223B2D2F4E0 link=1251866329/6#6 date=1251893599
                  Apparently coffee was traded largely on the basis of appearance and easily measurable quantities like bean size and density still play a large, if not defining, role in most coffee grading systems.
                  Objective?
                  Grading based on size and density might be objective, but it isnt especially useful if you just want to drink a nice cup of coffee.

                  Originally posted by 4F736E757F7E697C747F1B0 link=1251866329/7#7 date=1251895434
                  Originally posted by 223B2D2F4E0 link=1251866329/6#6 date=1251893599
                  Today, the idea of coffee as a specialty product where the market is differentiated based on taste seems to be gaining a foothold.
                  Subjective?
                  Grading based on taste might be subjective, but its a lot more useful if you want to drink a nice cup of coffee.  

                  In any event, question whether a description of characteristics is subjective if it is one that reflects what most people would think if they drunk that coffee.  ie. if someone says that coffee X is high in acidity and most people would agree, who cares what the philosophical position on the subjectivity or objectivity of that statement is, provided that it is reliable and enables us to select good coffee.  To give another example, if most Australians would agree that rio defect is not pleasant, wouldnt it make sense to take that position, rather than considering that there is actually a market of people that regard it as desirable?

                  Cheers,
                  Luca

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Coffee Grading

                    Originally posted by 647D6B69080 link=1251866329/8#8 date=1251965047
                    Grading based on taste might be subjective, but its a lot more useful if you want to drink a nice cup of coffee.

                    In any event, question whether a description of characteristics is subjective if it is one that reflects what most people would think if they drunk that coffee.ie. if someone says that coffee X is high in acidity and most people would agree, who cares what the philosophical position on the subjectivity or objectivity of that statement is, provided that it is reliable and enables us to select good coffee.
                    Are we suddenly mind readers now? With-out an objective standard you would know what the majority of people would think of a taste how?

                    Originally posted by 647D6B69080 link=1251866329/8#8 date=1251965047
                    To give another example, if most Australians would agree that rio defect is not pleasant, wouldnt it make sense to take that position, rather than considering that there is actually a market of people that regard it as desirable?
                    Most people in Australia (or any other country) wouldnt have a clue as to what youre referring too here.

                    As subjective tastes vary so much any system that relies purely on subjective determination is worthless to anyone other than the taster themselves. In order for any grading system to have meaning and repeatability there must be objective standards. Using a system of purely subjective standards is good for little else other than philosophical discussions and mental masturbation.


                    Java "Mental Floss for all!" phile
                    Toys! I must have new toys!!!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Coffee Grading

                      Originally posted by 18332433223A3B3E37520 link=1251866329/9#9 date=1252051385
                      Using a system of purely subjective standards is good for little else other than philosophical discussions and mental masturbation.


                      Java "Mental Floss for all!" phile
                      Oh, I like that one Java.... ;D

                      Mal.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Coffee Grading

                        Originally posted by 1F342334253D3C3930550 link=1251866329/9#9 date=1252051385
                        Originally posted by 647D6B69080 link=1251866329/8#8 date=1251965047
                        Grading based on taste might be subjective, but its a lot more useful if you want to drink a nice cup of coffee.

                        In any event, question whether a description of characteristics is subjective if it is one that reflects what most people would think if they drunk that coffee.ie. if someone says that coffee X is high in acidity and most people would agree, who cares what the philosophical position on the subjectivity or objectivity of that statement is, provided that it is reliable and enables us to select good coffee.
                        Are we suddenly mind readers now? With-out an objective standard you would know what the majority of people would think of a taste how?
                        What Im saying is that it either is objective or it might as well be objective.  Measure the pH if you prefer.  But the distinction to make is this: how intense the acidity is is objective; how pleasant that intensity is is subjective.

                        Originally posted by 647D6B69080 link=1251866329/8#8 date=1251965047
                        To give another example, if most Australians would agree that rio defect is not pleasant, wouldnt it make sense to take that position, rather than considering that there is actually a market of people that regard it as desirable?
                        Most people in Australia (or any other country) wouldnt have a clue as to what youre referring too here.
                        Precisely because the coffee has been graded and coffee with rio defect has been rejected!

                        As subjective tastes vary so much any system that relies purely on subjective determination is worthless to anyone other than the taster themselves. In order for any grading system to have meaning and repeatability there must be objective standards. Using a system of purely subjective standards is good for little else other than philosophical discussions and mental masturbation.
                        Agreed!

                        It is also mental masturbation to say that all matters of taste are subjective and therefore we shouldnt grade coffee based on taste attributes.

                        Cheers,
                        Luca

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Coffee Grading

                          It occurs to me that it might be clearer to continue this discussion with a simple question:

                          Presume that Coffee A and Coffee B taste identical, except that coffee B is really bitter, quite musty and has a really strong chemical taste to it.

                          Should coffee B be graded lower than coffee A?

                          Cheers,
                          Luca

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Coffee Grading

                            Originally posted by 322B3D3F5E0 link=1251866329/12#12 date=1252071352
                            Presume that Coffee A and Coffee B taste identical, except that coffee B is really bitter, quite musty and has a really strong chemical taste to it.
                            Wanna reword that one Luca? :-? Next thing youll want to tell me that red and blue look the same but not really

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Coffee Grading

                              You mean look identical, right?

                              I know nothing about grading other than what Ive read in Illy and Viani, but am I right in remembering that some defects are not visible? If I am, I can not comprehend how a visual grading alone is much use. Objective or not, I dont care how pretty the coffee beans are - do they taste good?

                              Comment

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