Uniformity Issues with Your NanoRoast Custom Coffee
Every now and then, I get a question from a new customer that boils down to, “Why is my coffee not uniform?” The answer is, “Because it is selected, processed, roasted and otherwise crafted just for you.” If uniformity is your issue, you probably are used to buying from a much larger roaster who produces hundreds of pounds at a time from large pre-blended lots. This change to custom coffee can be surprising, so let’s look at two ways lack of uniformity might present itself in your custom coffee.
ROAST LEVEL UNIFORMITY?
This issue shows itself in two ways, a) a medium roast of one origin and another, and b) what “medium roast” means from one lot to another of the same origin and varietal. In the first case, a customer will notice that a medium roast Sumatra looks lighter than a medium roast Colombian. In the second, someone will remember last year’s Burundi Kayanza medium roast was darker than this year’s.
Explanation: Coffee is a crop, affected by weather patterns during the growing season, plant varietal, processing methods and even altitude where it’s grown. Even the same coffee origin/varietal/farm/processing can vary from year to year where you can tell the difference in the cup. Our challenge, then, is to find what “medium roast” means within the range of good roasts for that particular lot and to describe it accurately. It may not be the same shade of brown as the medium roast of another origin that year. For example, wet-hulled Indonesian coffees look less roasted than they actually are, and some East Africans look dark but taste medium. Bottom line: Go by taste, not sight.
WEIGHT AND VOLUME UNIFORMITY?
You learned in high school chemistry that things of the same mass but different densities occupy different volumes, right? We equalize these by weighing. Therefore, 1 lb of dense, high-grown Colombian beans might take up less space in the package than 1 lb of those fluffy, low-grown Brazilians. Also, if you hadn’t noticed, those tiny, dense Ethiopian heirloom beans not only naturally take up less space due to small size and high density, they pack closer together. So you can receive a tiny Ethiopian, a relatively large Brazilian and a medium-sized Colombian package in the same shipment, all weighing 1 lb. Class dismissed. Bottom line: Ignore volume differences. Go by weight.
By the way, we use the “Net Wt. at least x” method of filling our orders. We usually try to err on the side of overfilling your order cuz we like you.
Enjoy your coffee!