Coffee Origins, Classifications & Estates
The names given to specialty coffees do not follow a universal format. Are international standards available when we see Colombian Supremo or Sumatra Mandheling? The answer is no. Common usage prevails.
Single Origin generally means coffee grown in a particular country. Breakfast Blend and French Roast are not Single Origin. Within the country, either a region or grade comes next. Kenya AA is a grade, while Costa Rican Tarrazu is a region. Costa Rican SHB –Strictly Hard Bean- is a grade, but in this case, because Tarrazu is a top grade, the highest classification of SHB is understood. The same could be said of a Kenya Kirinyaga: the AA is implied.
The coffee industry seems to give itself quite a bit of wiggle room when using the word Estate. Jamaican Blue Mountain Wallenford Estate means coffee processed within the Wallenford network of pulpuries and finishing works. Costa Rican Dota is a town in the Central Valley region, and signifies a coffee with a more delimited area than simply Tarrazu.
To be continued…….
In the last Newsletter we took up the complicated issue of how coffees are named and what the naming signifies. To continue, let’s decipher Hawaiian Kona. In some cases, sellers simply use the name and cachet of Kona to describe a blend that is mellow. The State of Hawaii has a law on its books that prescribes a minimum of 10% Kona in a blend. However this only applies to coffee sold in Hawaii, not elsewhere. Names on coffee can therefore describe a perception.
A true Hawaiian Kona is of course 100% Kona, grown in a strictly defined area on the Big Island’s west coast. It can also then carry the name of an estate, such as Pomaika’i Farm. And don’t forget the grade: Extra Fancy, Fancy, and #1, in that order. Other countries have their own particular methods of names, regions and grades.
Although all the grading and classifications can get confusing at times, feel comfort in knowing we take great effort into choosing only the very best coffees from around the world.
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