In the past most green coffee grading was done by physical analysis. Defects were easy to find: insect damage, chipped, black beans we very easy to spot. As technology advances so is the ability to track other types of defects in beans. Some of these defects are not as easy to spot…but they greatly impact the quality of the bean. Density and water activity are two examples of this. Physical defects like are much easier to measure over time than they are through a simple sorting process. Earlier this month the Specialty Coffee Association of America published an article withe following quote:
“If you capture water activity over a green lot’s life cycle, you will see changes over time and this will affect how you design your roast profiles. Beans with a lower water activity lose moisture more quickly, which will have an impact on your roast duration and how you’re going to apply heat during the roasting process. This also means that when you plan to roast a coffee over the course of several months, this coffee will begin to mature and its physical properties will change. Knowing what to measure and how this data influences your roast profiles over time is an essential skill a roaster needs.”
These types of advancements in the industry help each member of the value chain responsibly steward its link in the chain so that the consumer is able to have the best cup possible. The farmers work so hard. The more data we analyze the better job we do of enabling you to enjoy the fruit of their labor.
To learn more about how data is helping improve the quality of coffee from crop to cup please check out this great article.