the knowledge inside the coffee packaging

10 Aug 2020

Coffee is one of the most popular drinks for many people, however, except for this meaning of drinking, coffee is also an art. Let`s take the coffee bean as an example, the steps from plant, pick, roast, brew to package are all connected tightly. It is not only a coffee bean; after I explain the type of coffee bean and knowledge of packaging, you will definitely shout out that “I have a bean!”.

The weather is the main factor on affecting the quality of the coffee bean. Coffee tree is a plant that prefers hot weather. In general, all the coffee over the world are basically producing in the tropics on either side of the equator. From the country point of view, ideal high-quality countries of origin are Ethiopia, Tanzania, Kenya, Panama, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Indonesia and Brazil. So, how about the grading standard from each of the countries? The following chart will answer this question.

In Brazil, the top three rankings are fine cup, good cup and fair cup. We would say that the key factor on deciding the taste of coffee is the coffee bean. You may find this sentence in the advertising ‘the first-generation drinks the instant coffee, the second-generation drinks espresso, and the third-generation drinks specialty pour-over coffee. In the coffee market, the coffee bean is divided in two different kinds, which are commercial beans and specialty beans. Meantime, specialty coffee beans are divided into medium and premium levels respectively. The premium quality coffee beans are usually sold through online auctions. For instance, Columbia coffee planters held an online auction of premium quality coffee in SANTA FE DE BOGOTA, the capital city of Columbia, between May 16 to 19. That was a successful online event, which had gained attention from coffee lover from all over the world. A total of 525 bags of premium specialty coffee beans (mainly from Esmeralda, Minas Gerais, Panama, etc.) were sold in the United States, Europe and Japan, with a price of $1.13 million, averaging $2,152 per bag. Usually, people will select the Italian coffee bean as the material for commercial beans. In terms of price, the specialty coffee bean is much more expensive than commercial beans. Therefore, the profit margin of using commercial beans is much higher than that of specialty beans. However, the taste of common espresso coffee beans is less satisfied compared with specialty coffee beans, which is usually used for latte, cappuccino and other Italian coffee.

There are some certain standards to the growing environment of specialty coffee beans. It usually grows at an altitude of 1500 meters or more than 2000 meters, where the precipitation, sunshine, temperature and the condition of soil are all appropriate and perfect. For example, the volcanic soil in Antigua, Guatemala provides suitable condition for the growth of specialty coffee. Specialty coffee beans are processed in a refined manner. After carefully washing and sunbathing, alongside with various refined raw bean processing, the coffee will gain flavors such as ‘layered’, ‘fruity’, ‘sweet’, and ‘mellow’. As a result, half a pound of medium coffee beans can cost over $100 to $200 to $300. Regular commercial beans are usually packed in 1kg, 3kg and 5kg. Because of ‘rare equals to expensive’, medium specialty coffee beans are aiming for freshness, thus, the coffee roaster would prefer to use small packaging and people will consume quickly. Usually, sellers will use the capacity of 1/2 pound and 1/4 pound as two usual packaging bags. When it comes to the premium specialty coffee (i.e. premium gold cup coffee beans that sells online though auction), due to the rare variety and high price, people will choose the packaging bag with smaller capacity. That is 50gram and 100gram. In addition, for those premium coffee beans that have a rating of 80 or more, sellers will use the packaging bag with capacity of 1/4 pound (125g). To sum up, the capacity of coffee packaging bag corresponds to different quality of coffee beans. The higher quality of specialty coffee beans, the smaller packaging bags. Therefore, we need to use high-quality small-volume coffee packaging bags in order to better shows the top quality of coffee and to better maintain the freshness of coffee.

Moreover, we not only need to consider the capacity of packaging bag, we also need to learn how to check the production records, net volume of coffee, roasting date and expiry date on the packaging bag. At the same time, the specialty coffee packaging bag must install the one-way valve. Those packaging bag without the one-way degassing valve usually make the coffee less fresh, which can be found out after brewing.

One-way degassing valve

Vacuum-packed specialty beans are usually imported and need to be preserved for a long time. In fact, the taste and texture will lose during this process. After roasting, there will be series of chemical and physical reaction generated by the ingredient in the raw coffee bean. The carbon dioxide gas is gradually generated during the reaction. Therefore, the so-called vacuum package is no longer available, which can even cause the bag to swell or burst. More and more coffee roaster or manufacturer would select the package with one-way degassing valve. The one-way degassing valve is an indispensable accessory for the coffee packaging since it can discharge the internal carbon dioxide gas timely and prevent the external air from entering to the bag. This is helpful on achieving the purpose of preservation. In other words, the installation of one-way degassing valve is extremely important for preserving specialty coffee beans. That can greatly reduce the oxidation of coffee beans and retain the best flavor.

The production records

The packaging of specialty coffee usually specifies the country of production, production area, name of farms and even the time of harvest. Thus, you can choose specific regions or even the farm according to your preference. Some coffee fanatics care about these factors.

Roasting date

Roasting date is another important element indicator since each roasting method corresponds to a different optimum period. For instance, the best coffee bean you should choose is those have been roasted for 5 days if you want to brew coffee. When you purchase specialty coffee beans for espresso, you should choose those have been roasted for a week at least, and the optimum period is around 2 weeks.

Tag: one-way valve

Originally published 10 Aug 2020, updated 10 Aug 2020.

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