SlowRain wrote:I'm now curious about this concept and would like to know who else is doing it, both commercially and personally. What do you think of the results?
The background to this is that the price of coffee and its grade depend on how well it is sorted. The basic sorting criteria and levels (along with all sorts of coffee abcs) can be found at the coffee research org website
. There are also some pictures
of the bad defects.
Auction and super premium coffees are sorted to higher standards than the SCAA premium level. In essence, there are no secondary defects such as partial blacks or sours, insect bites, etc, in these coffees. Going back to the blog post; the difference between a triple pick Lintong and a basic Mandheling is probably all in the sort.
The effect of sorting to this level is the elimination of all off flavors. The stricter the sort, the more the off flavors are gone. There are some coffees, notably Harars and Yemens, where oversorting reduces cup quality, since some fruity ferment is part of the experience. However, even here, blacks, sours and moldy beans should be removed, since there is absolutely nothing exotic about their flavors.
The sorting that Peter describes at Terroir, or the one done by Simon, is at a stricter level still. Deformed, unripe and overripe beans are also removed, even though these are never classified as defects in regular sorting methods. The effect of this type of sorting is more subtle. It removes the "taste noise," that background of nondescript wood, bran, rust, or slightly tannic flavors one gets from poorly prepped or unripe beans.