咖啡关系模型 Relationship Coffee Model 对JORGE CUEVAS的独家专访

The Relationship Coffee Model - An Interview with Jorge Cuevas, Chief Coffee Officer at Sustainable Harvest.

咖啡行业内部关于直接贸易、可持续发 展和行业发展未来的争论永无休止。 为了从一个新的角度看待这些问题, 我采访了Jorge Cuevas,Jorge是“咖啡关系模 型”的先锋创始人,在过去16年间,他一直担任 着Sustainable Harvest这家咖啡绿色贸易公司的 首席咖啡官(CCO,Chief Coffee Officer)。

Relationship Coffee Model.png

Jorge,和我们聊聊你的咖啡故事 我入行是在1995年,当时“精品咖啡”作为 一股新的潮流正在兴起。90年代无论是对于咖啡 还是对于其他事物来讲,都是黄金年代。 为什么说90年代是黄金年代? 当时我正在完成我的发展经济学学位,论文 写的是关于柏林墙的倒塌。90年代是一个充满希 望和包容的年代,全球责任的理念正在普及,所 有一切都是非凡的! (Jorge 将这份热情一直延续至今。“国际 贸易往来可以推动社会发展和社会变革,我们如 今都知道什么是“责任采购”和“企业社会责 任”,可在当时这些名词还不存在。”)

你的第一份和咖啡有关的工作是什么? 我的第一份和咖啡有关的工作是在Aztec Harvest实习,那是一个由墨西哥农民联合发起的 组织,该组织在美国加州设有专门的出口和进口 销售办事处。Sustainable Harvest的创始人David Griswold也曾在Aztec Harvest工作过。当时Aztec Harvest直接对接由政府控制的咖啡贸易系统,这 一系统在很多国家都普及,其目的是鼓励农民完 成咖啡贸易配额。 但配额制度完全没有给咖啡业带来活力! 忽然间,《世界咖啡协议》垮台了,所有人 都必须各自为战,这使得墨西哥的农民和他们的 代理商手足无措,他们所有人都只懂得如何应对 配额制度,最终,他们决定将自己的产品直接带 向终端市场。

在那之后,我移居到了墨西哥的瓦哈卡高 原工作,并与当地人培育出了全球最早得到有机 认证的咖啡。当地人很快便意识到了自己的竞争 力:有机认证和优质口味,对于几代生活在偏远 山区、生来贫困的人来讲,一切发生的都太过突 然,他们的种植环境一下子变为了人们趋之若鹜 的理想种植地点! 2002年,我帮助Sustainable Harvest在瓦哈 卡设立了第一个产地办事处,并由此催生出了 “咖啡关系模型”。 产地办事处并不是要代替种植者或生产者, 而是要帮助他们自己提高种植、采摘、处理、加 工、融资和出口咖啡的能力,说到底,我们其实 是建立了种植者帮扶中心。 此后,产地办事处又先后落户秘鲁、哥伦 比亚、尼加拉瓜、哥斯达黎加、危地马拉和卢旺 达。“咖啡关系模型”的诞生也要感谢墨西哥咖 啡种植者们面临的挑战和他们的需求。

“关系模型”的原理是什么?和公平贸易有 何区别? 首先,先让我来解释一下公平贸易,这的确 是一个惊人的发明!我相信我们的模式和公平贸 易是互补互助的。公平贸易的根本在于保护最低 工资,世界经济环境是自由波动的,价格有起有 伏,所以如果没有最低工资保护,人们就无法正 常生存。公平贸易便是给咖啡种植者带来了最为 基本的生活保障。 纯粹的价格转移迈出了很好的一步,我们在 “关系模型”中又加入了很多其他能够促进咖啡 工业发展的变量,因为只是增加收入还是无法从 根源解决很多国家的落后和贫困问题。

The Founders: David Griswold with Oscar & Jorge

The Founders: David Griswold with Oscar & Jorge

那么具体的区别在哪呢? “关系模型”的核心有三点:
★生产者需要及时、可承受、可靠的信用;
★生产者需要长期合作关系,投资要受到保护;
★最关键的是培训和能力建设,其真正目的 是发挥每一位种植者和种植者联盟的能量和潜力。 此外,我们还引入了政府、金融、非营利资 质和慈善。David Griswold 在2003年于瓦哈卡首次 举办了“Let's Talk Coffee”活动,当时超过80位业界相关人员聚集到一起,其中包括零售商、烘 焙商、出口商、金融服务商、加工商和种植者。 在过去,这些不同领域和环节的专家都是相 互隔离的,但我们首次将他们聚集在一起共商大 事。首先是实现了价格透明,会上我们曾听到种 植者惊呼:“我的天!我卖1.5美元/磅,但我在 美国的展销会上看到了同样的咖啡,能卖到15美 元/磅!”一位资深烘焙师站了起来,并说道: “让我来给你解释为什么能卖到15美元/磅,给 你想要的价格透明!”很多烘焙商都对这位烘焙 师的做法很恼火,因为这样做会大幅压减利润空 间。但我们组织这个活动的目的,便是让所有人 知道从种植园采购的1.5美元/磅的咖啡,是如何 通过出口、运输、烘焙中的重量损失、包装、劳 务、配送、批发,最终变为15美元/磅的。

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“Let's Talk Coffee”活动还给种植者和生产 者提供了在咖啡专家们指导下品鉴咖啡的机会。 很多人都从未品尝过自己亲手种植的咖啡,他们 不知道如何辨别香气和口味,如何用正确的语言 来向美国的买家介绍自己的产品。 当生产者了解咖啡的价值之后,他们便会追 加投资来提升产品质量,以满足市场的需求。“有 机”便是个很好的例子。如果种植者听说人们想要 有机咖啡,他们肯定会跑回村子里,告诉村民们 “我们需要有机认证!”,由此,我们能够保证他 们的竞争力,保证他们得到更优的采购价格。

政府在其中扮演怎样的角色? 我们希望给政府提供更多的建议。政府的 需求是无尽的,但资源是有限的,所有人都想得 到些什么,因此我们给出的建议是:“我们能够 告诉你如何提高咖啡产品的竞争力,咖啡能为你 们带来现金,还能促进就业,减缓农村人口的流 失。咖啡能丰富政府的收入渠道,同时还有利于 环保。”然后我们会建议他们,哪些才是他们真 正应该投资和指导的地方。

这种模式是否能帮助种植者或种植者联盟 成长? 当然,而且变化非常明显!在过去,种植者 联盟咖啡出口总量在民营咖啡出口总量中的占比 非常小,如今则完全不同。我记得90年代哥伦比 亚总共有15家出口商控制了整个国家的咖啡贸 易,但现在这种集权已经不复存在! 烘焙商和零售商是否也能从中获益? 首先,烘焙商开始采用更加科学、透明的采 购价格,在之前他们只想一味压低价格,现在他 们与生产者之间的对话更加公平,咖啡的特色和 价值也能得到体现。其次,烘焙商更加注重与原 产地社会的互动,更加注重和生产者间合作关系 的维护和培育。最后,在哥伦比亚,Keurig已经 开始支持当地有机肥料的创新和使用,当所有原 材料都是当地的有机肥料,当地的生产力也因此 翻倍。农民们开始意识到:“如果我养牛、马或 者猪,我就可以为咖啡提供更好的肥料,从而增 加我的收入,还能帮助到更多的人!”

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“关系模型”最直接的影响和好处何在? 首先,品质是主观的,如果设定目标,则更 容易被人接受。预期会影响价格,而品质则会直 接影响预期。 其次,在“关系模型”下,烘焙商能够更好 地了解生产者的能力与局限性,生产者也同样需 要了解烘焙商的需求,因此,“关系模型”能够 有效减少退货概率,提高采购时效性,提升稳定 性和可靠性,这是一个长期的过程。咖啡的采购 绝非一时兴起,需要长期培育起一种模式,由此 烘焙商也可以实现在竞争中脱颖而出。“关系模 型”能够减少供货端的波动,无需频繁更换供货 商,如果生产者从一开始就知道你是一个短期客 户,他们也不会为了维护长期合作投资更多。

你希望未来5-10年,咖啡工业能得到怎样 的发展? 我希望有一天人们会说:“我了解C Market 市场,知道它的运作原理,但它不适合我,我也 用不着,它只是一种选择。” 但目前仿佛是人 们的唯一选择。 采购者可以脱离出来,做到与众不同,但 作为生产者,或许你只能实现一半的脱离。C Market或是直接贸易都不是唯一的选择,生产者 需要两者兼顾。他们的产量中或许有30-40%是 超高品质的,10-20%是高品质的,5-10%是低品 质的。虽然他们想提高高品质咖啡的产量,但所 有产品都有它存在的价值和市场。

最后,我认为咖啡工业面临的最大挑战在于 气候变化。 ★种植的失败率大幅增加; ★种植的周期和时效性大打折扣,合同逾期 履约的概率大幅增加; ★几乎没有对咖啡口味的变化进行研究。 我已经目睹一些长期合作的伙伴因为口味变 化导致合作终止,该为此做些什么呢?我们需要 知道如何适应,并在气候变化的影响下维护我们 的合作关系。咖啡虽然没有完全变坏,但它们在 杯测桌上展现的口味的确发生了变化。 最后我相信,强大的合作关系和更好的对话 能够进一步提升透明度,只有这样我们的咖啡工 业才能得到长远的发展!



Read online here: https://www.calameo.com/books/005336753a9b36477549c

From Yunnan, a Good Friend Eric Baden

A great read for the real story of struggle and amazing endurance of Chinese coffee farmers.

https://scanews.coffee/25-magazine/issue-7/english/touching-southern-clouds 

Yunnan, Southern China cloudy skyline

Yunnan, Southern China cloudy skyline

Coffee Commune’s ERIC BADEN explores the impact volatile commodity pricing of both tea and coffee has made on Yunnan’s farming landscape in Issue 7 of 25 Magazine.

Clusters of shining white clouds pass majestic mountain slopes, wrapped in the green velvet of dense subtropical forests. The mountain springs sparkle in the sunlight as crystal clear water flows downward to nurture rice terraces, orchards, tea, and coffee plantations. This land of breathtaking beauty is Yunnan, home to a vast diversity of flora and fauna: a province in China’s far southwest, bordering on Myanmar, Laos, and Vietnam. It is also the birthplace of tea: at 3,200 years of age, the world’s oldest cultivated tea tree still flourishes in the Yunnan city of Lincang.

When compared to its history of tea cultivation, coffee farming is new to Yunnan. Ever since the first coffee tree was planted in Zhukula village, introduced by French missionary Alfred Liétard in 1892, coffee trees have flourished in Yunnan’s mild winters and temperate summers. Today, there are approximately 35,000 coffee-farming families in Yunnan, most of which belong to one of the 24 ethnic minorities that call the province home, each with their own dialect, traditions, and culture. Coffee farming has been their livelihood for several generations.

A modest village home, typical of the approximately 35,000 coffee-farming families in Yunnan. Most belong to one of the 24 ethnic minorities that call the province home.

Market Impact

Beginning in the 1980s, the momentum of coffee production in the region increased exponentially. The coffee market of the time, marked by rising coffee consumption and leaf rust afflicting Central American crops, led to the widespread planting of the Catimor cultivar, chosen for its high yield and resistance to fungal diseases. With a priority placed on volume, little attention was paid to the effect picking and processing have on quality, and ultimately on price. Although it had many positive qualities – good body and sweetness, medium acidity – it also had a variety of undesirable flavor notes. As a result of this, Yunnan coffee traded at a substantial discount from the C market price throughout the years.

Why did so many Yunnan farmers, who used to grow tea for generations, decide to uproot their mature tea trees and start growing coffee, an unfamiliar crop with no domestic market? Price volatility. The impetus for Yunnan’s upswing in coffee production was a compelling combination of a slump in tea prices, which wouldn’t recover for over a decade, and a strong commodity market coffee price, which peaked at US$2.14 per pound in the early 80s. Encouraged by the success of a coffee plantation program that helped Vietnamese farmers recover after the Vietnam War, the United Nations (UN) launched a coffee plantation program in Yunnan as a way to improve the livelihood of tea famers in the region. Those who converted their plantations to coffee experienced an unprecedented rise in income, prompting coffee’s popularity as a crop as a replacement for high elevation tea plantations. As coffee prices gradually eroded from the peak in 1986 – reaching a low of US$0.50 per pound in 1992 – Yunnan coffee farmers held out: tea prices had not yet recovered, either.

Zhan Li (left) and Hei Bao Nong (right), both of the Lisu minority, monitor the progress of a lot out to dry.

Since then, coffee prices have continued to oscillate sharply. Following a price peak again in 2011 (US$2.88 per pound), we have since seen a distinct downward trend that saw the International Coffee Organization’s composite C price fall to US$0.95 per pound this year, its lowest point in over a decade. Adjusted for inflation, this price is equivalent to the low seen in 1992. Tea prices marked their lowest point as coffee prices peaked in 2011, encouraging more farmers to convert their plantations to coffee, but the market continued to shift: tea prices began to increase again as coffee prices began their decade-long decline. As coffee and tea prices oftentimes defy the law of supply and demand due to the oligopolistic structures in the markets, farmers are tossed about like reeds in a storm.

An established coffee plantation in Yunnan is uprooted to make space for new tea and orange plantations.

Make no mistake: what may look like opportunistic behavior is actually a struggle for survival in which the farmers are left with very few choices. In Yunnan, most coffee farms are small land hold farms, i.e. farms smaller than three acres, operated by individual families with two to three generations living and working together. On average, one family produces about 1,500 kg of coffee in a year which, at today’s prices for green, yields a household income after farming costs of a mere US$5 per day. This is not enough to feed the family, pay for transportation to get the children to school all year round, and save a little for medical emergencies or improvements to their very basic village homes. When you have very little and your real income keeps declining year after year no matter how hard you work, you are bound to lose hope. Switching back and forth between coffee and tea is an act of desperation that only continues to make the farmers’ situation worse: it means starting over with less mature plants and vital know-how forgotten.

A New Hope

There is hope that the cycle can be broken, not only to release whole coffee-farming communities from their dilemma, but to also unlock hidden potential for quality coffee at a time when climate change threatens the world’s coffee supply. In January 2016, the Yunnan Provincial Government established the Yunnan International Coffee Exchange (YCE), laying a new course for the Yunnan coffee industry. Today, the goal is quality over volume. Through partnerships with the Coffee Quality Institute (CQI), the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA), and the International Women’s Coffee Alliance (IWCA), the YCE is working to systematically equip and financially support (and reward) coffees produced in the region that meet a newly established standard which emphasizes consistency and a clean cup.

Care and attention are taken during processing in order to develop positive characteristics in the cup.

Private initiatives in the region complement the YCE programs, aiming to produce micro-lots that will meet the approval of discerning buyers and roasters of specialty coffee in the American, European, and Australian markets. Feedback is key to developing the potential of the region: buyers and roasters from around the world can participate in preparing Yunnan coffee for the specialty market by evaluating samples from participating farms. In one specific case, structured, qualitative feedback was translated in intentional processing amendments, in order to match the preferences of buyers in different markets.

Li Xiu Zhen (left) and Yu Hua Mei (right), also of the Lisu minority, work to remove defects from drying green.

By raising the bar on quality and consistency, and by intentionally developing outstanding specialty micro-lots, these initiatives will afford buyers and roasters new, interesting, and even unique choices to craft innovative blends and single origin roasts. For the Yunnan coffee farmers, this means the hope of a new cycle: one of gradual improvement of their income, encouraging them to keep improving the quality of their coffee, and enabling them to invest for the next generation. ◊

ERIC BADEN is the Founder and CEO of Coffee Commune, a “full value-chain business,” in Yunnan, China.

Advice for the Barista

In a new effort to document and record the many learning objectives and skills required to complete your SCA Training Certifications - we will post a series of audio and video recordings with documentation to guide you in your path to becoming an SCA Master.

Click Image to Advance > > >

Audio Notes

COFFEE BEANS

  • The differences between Arabica and Robusta, including growing conditions, caffeine levels, pest & disease resistance, flavor and visual differences.

  • Recognize key differences between Arabica & Robusta

The importance of coffee freshness, including:

  • The use of a sealed bag, ideally within one month after roasting and within a maximum of three months;

  • Grinding coffee fresh (to order) within 3 minutes of preparing;

  • Identifies and describes the importance of using fresh coffee beans and how to keep them fresh

  • Avoiding the storage of beans in the hopper overnight or when not in use;

  • Keeping lids on the bean hopper and doser chamber;

  • Storing beans away from air, moisture, light and heat;

  • Maintaining a stable temperature

WORK SPACE MANAGEMENT

  • Maintains a hygienic and organized work space which minimizes waste

  • Demonstrates the appropriate position for commonly used tools, eg tamp, pitchers/jugs, cloths etc.

GRINDING, DOSING AND TAMPING

  • The importance of keeping the work space clean, tidy and organized at all times

  • The correct terminology to Identify correctly all key identify parts of grinder (hopper, espresso machine and adjustment collar, dosing grinder component parts chamber, fork, on/off switch) and espresso machine including switches (steam wand & tip, portafilter handle, grouphead, dispersion screen & gasket, drip tray, gauges, hot water spout, on/off switch, continuous/AV buttons)

  • The acceptable range (per definition) of coffee used in espresso, and how distribution of coffee grounds affects extraction.

  • The impact of tamping on distribution, and extraction flow

  • Describes and demonstrates the basics of dosing, distribution and tamping and their impact on extraction

  • The correct dosing action to achieve correct input with minimal waste

  • Demonstrates good dosing and distribution technique to keep dose consistent from one espresso to the next and to minimize channeling

  • Calibration of a grinder. The grinder should be calibrated to produce an espresso that falls within SCA standards. The grinder should be purged between adjustments

  • Demonstrates grind calibration, using a grinder with a dosing chamber OR an 'on-demand' grinder

  • Identification of the impact of grind size on the final shot

  • Describes how the grind affects shot times Identifies when a grind is incorrect and corrects it to produce an espresso in 20-30 seconds.

  • The correct use of a tamper to produce a flat and even surface on the tamped cake and to reduce repetitive strain injuries

  • Demonstrates a good tamping technique using a hand tamper

EXTRACTION & BREWING

Espresso is a method of preparation that takes finely ground coffee, compacts it into a portafilter and forces hot water through it under pressure to make a concentrated coffee beverage

  • Sensory attributes are used to describe coffee

  • There may be regional variations to espresso and cappuccino parameters used in the SCA exams:

  • Dose: within 7g – 10g (14g – 20g double shot)

  • Brew ratio: 1 / 1.5 – 1 / 2.5 Shot time: 20 – 30 seconds

  • Recognizes the key defining parameters of an espresso used within SCA examinations

  • Tastes and describes attributes, such as aroma, body and flavor, of an espresso Chooses appropriate terms to describe flavor from the SCA Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel

  • Demonstrates awareness of regional variations in parameters

  • There are five interdependent elements to brewing espresso: The bean / The barista / The machine / The grinder / The water

  • Lists the five inter-dependent elements to brewing espresso

Preparation of the espresso machine requires:

  • Prepares the machine for use correctly and with appropriate equipment

  • Having separate cloths for steam wand, counter and portafilter

  • Checking that boiler pressure is up to 1 bar before use;

  • Warming (seasoning) group handles by pulling a minimum of 1 shot per group before dialing-in;

  • Stacking cups on cup warmer and saucers and spoons etc. next to the espresso machine

Preparation of espresso involves the following steps:

  1. Remove portafilter from grouphead and flush group

  2. Wipe basket clean and dry

  3. Dose and distribute desired grams of coffee

  4. Tamp consistently, level & ergonomically

  5. Clean loose grounds from portafilter surfaces

  6. Insert portafilter into the grouphead and start the pump immediately, as one continuous motion

  7. Observe the flow and stop pump appropriately

  8. Serve or use to make espresso-based drink

  9. Remove portafilter and knockout spent grounds

  10. Wipe basket clean and flush group (rinse optional)

  11. Return portafilter to grouphead to keep preheated

Demonstrates the correct steps for preparing espresso according to SCA standards

  • Understanding of basic sensory qualities of

  • Under-extracted espresso (thin body, unbalanced flavor with high acidity, poor crema),

  • Over-extracted espresso (unbalanced flavor with high bitterness, poor crema)

  • An acceptable espresso (good body round and smooth, well balanced flavor (acidity, sweetness, bitterness), good visual crema which covers whole espresso (in line with coffee used)

  • Recognizes by sight and tastes the differences between under-extraction, over-extraction and acceptable extraction

MILK TECHNIQUES

  • The importance of using fresh milk in maintaining foam standards:

  • Expired milk is unfit for consumption and should be discarded

  • The time milk is left out of the refrigerator should be minimized

  • Stock should be rotated (first in first out)

  • Pitchers/milk jugs should be emptied and cleaned before use

  • Pitchers/milk jugs should not be prefilled

  • Milk should not be re-steamed

  • Describes the measures required to maintain freshness of milk

  • Milk should be produced with consistently dense texture, with no visible bubbles and a shiny surface. (See SCA Foam Quality Guide).

  • Demonstrates the appropriate techniques required to produce correct milk texture (micro- foam).

  • There is a desirable range of milk temperature: 55c-65c (131- 149F) (Maximum temperature 70c/158F, Minimum of 50c/122F).

  • Demonstrates the appropriate techniques for producing the correct milk temperature

  • All temperatures are measured in the cup, not the pitcher/jug

The correct steps in foaming milk are:

  • Empty and clean pitcher before use

  • Purge steam wand before foaming

  • Wipe steam wand immediately after use

  • Purge steam wand after wiping

  • Minimize milk waste

  • Demonstrates hygienic and efficient steps when foaming milk

  • Drinks should be prepared to the required composition and visual requirements

  • Performs the techniques required to produce a cappuccino and caffe latte

BARISTA MENU

  • An espresso should be served to the specified size, taste and visual parameters (as per SCA exam requirements)

  • Demonstrates good techniques for preparing and serving an espresso

  • A cappuccino should be served to the specified size, taste and visual parameters (as per SCA exam requirements)

  • Demonstrates good techniques for preparing and serving a cappuccino

HYGIENE, HEALTH & SAFETY

  • Risks related to safety and hygiene should be minimized and in accordance with local laws.

  • Demonstrates basic understanding of the local laws that apply to safety and hygiene when using espresso equipment and cleaning chemicals

The use of safe and hygienic work practices including:

  • Washing hands before preparing espresso and after eating, drinking, smoking etc

  • Keeping body and clothing (including apron) clean and hygienic

  • Using and cleaning machines safely – according to manufacturer's instructions and local laws

  • Using cleaning chemicals safely – according to manufacturer's instructions and local laws

  • Serving drinks safely and hygienically (Avoiding handling lip of the cup; aware of dangers of hot liquids/spillages)

  • Demonstrates safe and hygienic work practices when preparing and serving espresso beverages

CUSTOMER SERVICE

The role of the barista is:

  • To prepare beverages correctly

  • To communicate information to customers

  • To represent the industry and the work of other coffee professionals

  • Defines the role of the barista in the customer experience and specialty coffee industry

  • The principles of customer service cover products, atmosphere, work environment and service

  • Lists the 4 aspects of customer service

CLEANING, MAINTENANCE & TROUBLE SHOOTING

  • Regularly cleaning the machine creates beverages that taste good, protects the long-term health of the equipment, and maintains a positive image to customers

  • Describes the importance of and demonstrates good techniques for daily cleaning of the grinder and espresso machine

Good practice for daily cleaning of equipment includes:

  • Thorough cleaning of the steam wand

  • Wiping drying the bean hopper.

  • Emptying the doser chamber and brushing out all excess ground coffee beans thoroughly.

  • Wiping splashes and spills on outside of grinder and machine.

  • Back flushing the espresso machine with coffee detergent at least once a day.

  • Brushing and cleaning group heads of all excess coffee beans and oils.

  • Flushing and cleaning steam wands.

  • Removing and cleaning drip tray.

  • Lists or describes the hygiene implications and operation issues (eg blockages) resulting from not properly purging and wiping the steam wand

Advice for Coffee Brewers

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Audio Notes

INTRODUCTION TO COFFEE

  • The origins of coffee as the fruit of different species of coffee tree

  • Identifies Arabica and Robusta and recognizes the coffee tree and cherry

  • The process of getting coffee from the farm through to the final drink

  • Explains journey of coffee, specifically that coffee is picked, the beans are extracted from the fruit and then eventually roasted and brewed

  • Two main coffee species: Arabica and Robusta. The flavor profiles of both species and ability to differentiate Arabica and Robusta in a taste test

BREWING GUIDELINES - STRENGTH & EXTRACTION

  • The definition of strength versus extraction

  • Explains the concentration of coffee in the cup (strength) compared to dissolved coffee from the bean (extraction)

WATER TO COFFEE RATIO

  • A sufficient amount ground coffee is required, per liter of water, to make a high-quality cup of coffee. This is defined as the Gold Cup or Golden Cup standard: 50+grams /±55 grams per liter

  • Identifies the correct ratio of coffee to water required to produce Gold Cup standard coffee

  • The quantity of coffee commonly to make a single espresso

  • Identifies the correct quantity of coffee grams for a single espresso used is 7 – 10g

  • This is dependent on personal choice, culture and the coffee used

GRIND SIZE

  • Grind size affects the rate of extraction (based on surface area) and the speed water can flow through the coffee bed

  • Identifies the appropriate grind texture for espresso, paper filter and French press (cafetiere)

  • The time the water is in contact with the coffee is mainly a function of grind size

  • Explains why each grind size is appropriate

BREW TIME

  • The amount of time the water is in contact with the coffee will allow different quantities of solids to be dissolved. This results in different brew times for different brew methods and volumes

  • Describes the amount of time for the following:

  • Filter Coffee (1ltr/32oz +) 4-6 minutes;

  • Single cup filter 1-3 minutes,

  • Espresso 20-30 seconds

WATER TEMPERATURE

  • The correct water temperature is required to dissolve the desired flavors from the ground coffee. This range is 92 - 96C/195 - 250F

  • Defines the correct temperature range for water used to brew coffee

BREW TURBULENCE

  • An increase in turbulence of the water in contact with the coffee will increase extraction

  • Demonstrates how to use turbulence in different brewing methods as appropriate

WATER QUALITY

  • Water quality varies in different regions and this can affect brew quality and machine function.

  • Demonstrates understanding of the existence of hard and soft water and limescale Explains that water may have unwanted taints/odors


FILTER METHOD

  • Different filtering methods: paper, cloth, espresso basket, metal filter

  • Identifies different filter methods and their characteristics and storage requirements

PRESSURE

  • The relationship between pressure brewing and impact on time and grind size

  • Describes the impact of an increase in pressure on the rate of extraction

COFFEE STORAGE

  • Storage of coffee must manage the following which affect the freshness of coffee: temperature extremes, moisture and light

  • Explains the factors that adversely affect coffee freshness

CLEANING

  • Cleaning (or not cleaning) brewing equipment has a direct impact on the taste of coffee

  • Demonstrates correct equipment cleaning procedures

HOT HOLDING

  • The breakdown in coffee aroma and taste over time, caused by the loss of temperature and/or evaporation

  • Tastes and discusses three reference brews that have been held under varying conditions and times

BREWING METHODS AND EQUIPMENT

  • The differences between the following brewing methods: Immersion, Gravity, Pressure

  • The range of different equipment used for brewing coffee

  • Demonstrates the correct use of each method of brewing (immersion, gravity, automatic filter brew, pressure) using the correct grind profile and brewing recipe

  • Demonstrates the correct use of brewing skills on the equipment that is available

  • Knowledge of the correct use of available brewing equipment that uses immersion, gravity and pressure brewing

Sensory Analysis Advice

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Audio Notes

THEORETICAL PRINCIPLES - WHAT IS SENSORY ANALYSIS

  • A scientific discipline that evokes, measures, analyses and interprets reactions to those characteristics of foods and materials as they are perceived by the senses of sight, smell, taste, touch and hearing

  • It relies on trained and regular tasters, standardised preparation protocol and test design, decisions, and rules.

  • To define in basic terms, what sensory analysis is.

  • To identify the 5 human senses.

  • To recognise that sensory analysis works like a measurement instrument

ACTIVITY

  • Illustrate stimulus and perception: with examples such as: touch fabrics with different hardness/softness - show optical illusions, place fabric samples in non see-through sacks or boxes with a hole cut out on the side and a paper flap taped to cover the hole, have students guess what material they are touching

  • To show the difference between stimulus and perception

WHY IS SENSORY IMPORTANT IN COFFEE

  • Cupping seeks to:

  • Identify potential defects and taints

  • Identify pleasant flavors and their quality

  • Evaluate intensity

  • Record the results

  • It establishes a general picture of a coffee’s potential that can be refined and adjusted to various roasting, blending and brewing practices.

  • Sensory analysis is widely used in food industry, but extends to others (car, pharma, ...). Used for various quality control tasks, new product testing, and consumer testing.

  • To explain, in general terms, how sensory analysis is be used in the coffee industry.

  • To state 4 purposes for cupping coffee.

  • To state at least 3 areas in a coffee business where sensory analysis is applied.

ACTIVITY

  • Taste specialty vs non-specialty coffees and compare

  • Taste two specialty coffees and compare

  • The aim of sensory analysis in coffee is to be able to recognize and distinguish between different attributes, whether we personally like them or not.

  • To recognise in student's own words differences between a non- specialty coffee and specialty coffee.

  • To compare own description with that of the coffee expert's objective description and qualitative description of the two coffees

  • To realize the goal of sensory evaluation and the learning path of a coffee taster

PHYSIOLOGY AND SENSORY ATTRIBUTES, PHYSIOLOGY AND ANATOMY

  • Olfaction, gustation and taction are the three key sensations used in sensory analysis for coffee.

  • Olfactory epithelium in the nasal cavity, taste buds on the soft palate, and muscles in the mouth

  • Not all papillae have taste buds.

  • Flavor perception is a multi-modal

  • To state the 3 key sensations out of the five used in sensory analysis for coffee (not focusing on appearance)

  • To recognize, in general terms, what human sensory organs are used in olfaction, gustation, and taction; and state where each is located.

  • To define flavor perception experience: integrating gustatory, retronasal olfaction and somatosensory systems.

ACTIVITY

  • Distinguish the difference between taste and smell, as they relate to flavor Perception.

  • Acknowledge that taste exists in the oral cavity and smell is detected by the olfactory bulb in the nasal cavity.

  • Use flavored chewable sweets/candies (alternatively use a sugar free gum) in a blind test, conduct a "pinch the nose" test, and have students try to describe the flavor while nose is pinched, then again once they have opened their nasal passage.

  • To explain the difference between taste and smell, and how they work to together to create flavor perception.

BASIC TASTES

  • There are 5 basic tastes: acidity, bitterness, sweetness, saltiness and umami.

  • All coffees exhibit to a certain degree acidity, bitterness and have a sweet perception (more than they are physically sweet)

  • To recognize that there are 5 basic tastes that our tongues are tasting.

  • To recognize which tastes are most commonly found in coffee

  • To recognize that when there is a mixture of two or more tastes may interact with one another

  • In coffee, saltiness and umami can also be perceived although their identification and naming is less spontaneous than acidity, bitterness and sweet perception.

  • Acknowledge that when eating and drinking we are rarely only tasting one sensation in isolation, coffee is a complex solution of several tastes.

  • Threshold of detection and identification varies between individual

  • To recognize perception varies between individuals.

ACTIVITY

  • List the 5 basic tastes

  • Identify the 5 basic tastes in a blind assessment

  • Solutions should be prepared at highest concentration level in the practical exam

BASIC AROMAS ACTIVITY

  • Explore the 9 main flavor categories flavor categories of the SCA Flavor Wheel. Use the corresponding Nez Du Café References in the Coffee Lexicon.

  • These aromas will be present in the dry fragrance

  • To list the five basic tastes

  • To distinguish between the 5 basic tastes in a blind assessment of solutions.

  • To adopt an objective description of the sensations through to the brewed coffee

  • To list the 9 categories of flavor found on the SCA Flavor Wheel.

  • To recognize categorial aroma references using the Le Nez du Café kit.

  • To demonstrate basic use of the Le Nez du Café kit.

  • Carry out a simple category exploration as a group of the 9 categories. Use picture boards with aroma vials to make stronger cognitive links

  • To demonstrate basic use of the SCA Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel and Coffee Lexicon

  • To demonstrate ability to objectively and accurately describe sensations

IDENTIFYING SENSORIAL CHARACTERISTICS IN COFFEE

TASTES AND BODY IN COFFEE

  • In coffee, basic tastes and aromas do not exist in isolation and they need to be recognized within the brewed coffee itself

  • The body of the coffee describes the apparent viscosity, fullness and weight in the mouth ranging from "thin, watery" to "thick, heavy"

  • Body also refers to the tactile "mouthfeel" or texture of a coffee (e.g., smooth/rough, soft/hard, juicy/astringent, etc).

  • Different coffees will have different perceived tastes and body

  • To recognize that coffee is complex solution with many different tastes, aromas, and body sensations present

  • To define "body" in sensory analysis of coffee

ACTIVITY

  • Group example comparing milk and water to show mouthfeel

  • To distinguish the key attributes of following acidity, bitterness, and body in brewed coffee.

  • To adopt an evaluation of the sensations

  • Acidity (low vs high)

  • Bitterness (low vs objective high)

  • Body (low vs intensity of the high)

  • Acknowledge that acidity, bitterness and body in green coffee are origin and process dependent

AROMAS IN COFFEE

  • Key positive aromas from coffee (reference aromas from previous exercises)

  • Specialty Coffee Association 'Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel'

  • Identify simple category differences in aroma groups in a practical blind test, tasting brewed coffees.

  • Recall Flavor Wheel Categories categories in a written test

  • Recognize out of 4 categories of flavor on the flavor wheel, 3 of them are flavors that are associated with positive attributes, 1 with negative attribute.

  • To recognize the difference between an objective descriptive sensory evaluation of sensations and a qualitative categorization of those same sensations

  • To state the 9 main categories of flavor found on 'Coffee Taster's the SCA inner Flavor Wheel' Flavor Wheel

  • To distinguish positive aromas from negative (non desirable) aromas in coffee

  • To categorize positive and negative (non Green/Vegetative, Sour/Fermented categorize flavors often associated with processing, storage, roasting, and brewing defect. TBD in more depth in professional level.

COMMUNICATING & LANGUAGE

  • Standard terminology is used to aid clear communication

  • Key terms used in cupping, such as acidity and body. Mention astringency and balance (TBD in intermediate)

  • To recognise some standard terminology used by cuppers, which are listed in the WCR Sensory Lexicon and SCA Flavor Wheel

  • To distinguish between positive and negative key terms

  • To acknowledge that coffee professionals use a consistent standardized language to aid communication between themselves and others in the coffee value chain.

  • Specialty Coffee Association 'Coffee Taster's Flavor Wheel'

CUPPING PROTOCOL - WHAT IS CUPPING? THE SCA CUPPING METHODOLOGY

  • “Coffee cupping is a method used to systematically evaluate the aroma and taste quality characteristics of a sample of coffee beans” – (Ted Lingle 2001)

  • It is a sensory analysis process specific to coffee

  • Cupping focuses on the coffee sensory

  • To define coffee cupping characteristics eg aroma, taste, texture, ... but considered in a qualitative way

  • To name SCA cupping and Cup of Excellence cupping

  • To acknowledge cupping is a SCA Cupping Protocol

  • Different methods exists. Ex: SCA cupping, Cup of Excellence cupping, ...classification of quality by experts

  • To acknowledge cupping is a different exercise from the objective description of the sensory characteristics

  • To acknowledge that when cupping coffee, we use our eyes, nose, and mouth to assess visual, aromatic, taste, and tactile qualities.

  • To acknowledge it evaluates how qualitative is the aroma, taste and texture

CORE CUPPING PROTOCOL

  • Have students recognize the official SCA Cupping Form, use a simplified version for activity below

  • To define the key terms used in SCA Cupping Protocol

  • To be aware of the terminology for the qualitative cupping evaluation

  • To refer to the 8 steps of the SCA cupping methodology

  • To recognize the official SCA Cupping Form.

  • State the importance of a standard protocol and learn its procedure for cupping

  • Set out the standard steps preparing and brewing a cupping session

  • To refer to SCA standards for cupping, roasting and water brew ratio

ACTIVITY

  • Memorize and repeat the standard process of setting up a cupping session, through practice

  • Re-Define key terms used in a cupping session

  • Recall standard measurements and protocol in a written test

  • Each student to set up one sample of coffee, to SCA standard, compare at least 3 distinct coffees amongst the group.

  • To set up a SCA cupping table using correct tools, measurements, and protocol.

  • To practice the tasting protocol

CORE SENSORY EQUIPMENT/ THE CUPPING ROOM

  • A hygienic odor- free work space for cupping

  • To understand the environment has an influence on the evaluation and therefore should be controlled

  • Equipment that is necessary to a cupping session - To list core equipment needed for SCA cupping

KEY TERMINOLOGY

  • Acidity: A basic taste characterized by the solution of an organic acid. A desirable sharp and pleasing taste ... as opposed to an over-fermented sour taste

  • Aftertaste: The sensation produced by the lingering taste and aroma

  • Aroma: The sensation of the gases released from brewed coffee, as they are inhaled through the nose by sniffing

  • Astringent: An aftertaste sensation consistent with a dry feeling in the mouth, undesirable in coffee

  • Balance: A pleasing combination of two or more primary taste sensations

  • Basic Tastes: The five basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami

  • Body: The physical properties of the beverage. A strong, but pleasant, full mouthfeel characteristic

  • Break: Aromatic assessment of the crust as it is broken three times

  • Clean: Free from flavor taints or faults

  • Crust Aromatic assessment of the crust of wet coffee

  • grounds that forms on the top of the brew surface immediately after brewing

  • Cupping A method used to systematically evaluate the

  • aroma and taste characteristics of a sample of coffee beans

  • Cupping Glasses/Bowls: All cups or glasses used should be of the same volume, dimensions and material of manufacture:

  • Cupping Glasses: 5 to 6 oz tempered glass of Porcelain bouillon bowls of 175-225ml clean cups should be clean with no apparent fragrance and at room temperature

  • Cupping Grind: Coarser than filter grind with 70% to 75% passing through a 850mμ or US Size 20 sieve

  • Cupping Roast: "Sample roast targets: Time: 8 – 12 minutes depending on roaster size… Color: Agtron 60 – 65 (M-Basic)/Probat 105– 125 (Colorette)... Coffees cupped 8 - 24 hours after roasting"

  • Dry Assessment of the fragrance of the dry coffee grounds after grinding and prior to brewing

  • Flavor: The sensation in mouth the coffee gives by the combination of Tastes and Aromas in the liquid phase

  • Fragrance / Aroma: The sensation of the gases released from roasted and ground coffee beans, as the aromatic compounds are inhaled through the nose by sniffing

  • Gustation: “The detection of stimuli dissolved in water, oil, or saliva, by the taste buds”

  • Mouthfeel: The tactile sense derived from physical sensations in the mouth during and after ingestion

  • Olfaction: The sense of smell allowing the perception of aroma, fragrance, scents in gas / air using the nose

Advice for Coffee Roasting

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Audio Notes

TERMINOLOGY

  • Coffee roasting and roasting equipment

  • Common roaster parts and design elements

  • Names of processes and changes

  • Use common terminology to describe a coffee roaster, its operation, and the changes that occur during the roasting process.

  • Common features and controls on drum roasters

  • Identify common design elements of a coffee roaster Describe how air moves through a roasting system and how control manipulations can affect the roast.

THE ROASTING PROCESS

  • Describe the order and coffee roasting process with the physical progression of the changes to the coffee that occur in roasting. Identify that such changes determine the roast level.

  • Water evaporation

  • Change in color

  • First crack

  • Change in size

  • Second crack

  • Record time, temperature and other relevant data on roast logs along with observations during and after a roast record:

  • Temperature at time (roast profile)

  • Colour of roasted coffee

  • Weight loss

  • Volume gain

  • Cupping observations

  • Produce a roast profile and description of the properties of a roasted coffee

  • Identify the use of a roast profile as a tool to support quality control processes and to determine if a roast is acceptable

  • Calculate development time and temperature midway point

  • How to record and calculate specific events during the development of a complete roast cycle.

  • Temperature midway point

  • Development time

  • Identify critical events during a roast cycle to enable calculation of development time Calculate and record different transformational phases of roast development

  • The relationship between flame and roast speed and their measurement on the roast log

  • The heat source heats up the air and the roast chamber which in turn heats up the beans so the speed of the temperature increment depends on the heat source settings during the roast. So the following causal succession applies

  • Heat source

  • Air/roast chamber

  • Beans

  • Discuss the basic effects of time and heat on roast development Predict what changes in heat application are needed to effect a change in the flavor of a roasted coffee

Roasting

  • Logging/documentation information about the roast

  • Identify what information should be placed in the Roasters Guild roast log (adjust to regional variations)

  • Sensorial changes that occur during roasting

  • Basic color changes that occur during the roasting process and the taste associated with them

  • Describe basic tastes and aromas associated with different roast colours

SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE

  • Safety in the roasting plant

  • Common dangers in the roasting process, including roaster fires, ventilation and personal safety

  • Recognize the common dangers involved in the roasting process Describe the preventative measures and corrective actions to ensure safety in the workplace

  • Roaster cleaning and maintenance

  • Remove chaff/deposits

  • Lubrication

  • Consult the manual

  • Identify and describe the regular cleaning and maintenance requirements of a roaster Identify the importance of reading and being familiar with the coffee roaster manual

Advice for Green Coffee

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Audio Notes

BOTANY

  • Difference between species and variety/cultivar The two main species of coffee grown commercially are Arabica and Canephora

  • Identify the difference between species and variety/cultivar Identify the two main species of coffee grown commercially Recognise that Canephora is commonly called Robusta

  • Genetic differences in the species mean that each species is farmed in different areas of the world

  • Explain that Robusta requires a warmer and consistently wetter climate to survive than Arabica

SPECIES

  • PHYSIOLOGICAL DIFFERENTIATION Physiological differences in the species seed mean they: 1. Taste different

  • 2. Look different physically

  • 3. Have a different economic value

GLOBAL SPREAD

  • Coffee's origin. Recognize that the coffee species we drink have been spread around the globe by people and that coffee originates in Africa

  • Identify that all coffee is indigenous to Africa and that:

  • Arabica originates from Ethiopia/South Sudan

  • Robusta originates from Central Africa (Uganda) and West Africa

CLIMATE

  • Coffee cannot grow throughout the world and there are certain climates that can sustain coffee and those that cannot

  • Identify that coffee growing countries are broadly located between the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn

  • Certain factors limit where coffee can grow; coffee is susceptible to frost and has optimum growing conditions

  • Describe the impact of climate on coffee cultivation

  • Describe the connection between severe frost and potential internal damage to the plant tissue which can kill plants

WORLD PRODUCTION & SPECIES SPLIT

  • The amount of Arabica grown annually is different from the amount of Robusta grown annually and is approximately 60%

  • Identify the split of production, by percentage, between the amount of Arabica and Robusta grown annually

Distinguish between:

  • The increased bitterness/reduced sweetness, and increased mouthfeel intensity of Robusta

  • The increased sweetness and acidity of Arabica

  • The physical difference in size and elliptical shape of the seed

  • Arabica and 40% Robusta

ORIGIN STATISTICS

  • Different countries produce different volumes of coffee, measured as 60kg bags

  • Total volume of coffee is measured and monitored on an annual basis

  • Identify trends in coffee production:

  • The long-term trend is for increasing production

  • It is different every year

COFFEE FARMING & LAND TENURE

  • Farms of different sizes grow coffee

  • Distinguish between the terms “smallholder” and “farm” and show awareness of the different production goals in the supply chain

  • Recognize the variation in volumes of coffee produced by each country and identify that:

  • Brazil is the world’s largest producer of coffee

  • Brazil is the world’s largest Arabica producer

  • Vietnam is the world’s largest Robusta producer

  • Brazil is the largest producer of natural processed Arabica

  • Colombia is the largest producer of washed Arabica

PLANT MANAGEMENT

  • There are different farming systems used throughout the world to grow coffee

  • Explain that plants are looked after differently by farmers depending on circumstance and tenure

  • Differences in yields and pest resistance change the way farmers grow coffee. Robusta has higher potential yields than Arabica

  • Identify that:

    • Robusta has higher potential yields of around 50% than Arabica.

    • Robusta is more pest resistant and disease resistant than Arabica

POST-HARVEST PROCESSING OVERVIEW

  • Common principles of processing

  • Recognize that processing is common to all coffees as the seed must be harvested from the cherry

  • Processing is different in different countries, often as a result of cultural norms rather than process or quality optimisation. Post-harvest process will modify the sensory profile of a coffee

  • Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production - JN Wintgens (2009)

  • There are different risks associated with different processing methods. All processing methods must be done carefully in order to avoid defects

  • In a practical cupping test be able to: 1. Distinguish between a natural and washed processed coffee of the same species 2. Identify core sensory differences between different process methodologies of the same species

  • Identify the risks associated with different processing methods

HARVESTING

  • Different picking methodologies exist and the quality and consistency of ripe coffee cherry will vary depending on the type of harvesting carried out

  • Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production - JN Wintgens (2009)

  • Different land ownership systems will have different types and amounts of processing equipment on a coffee farm, ranging from none through to a fully integrated system

WASHED PROCESS

  • The washed process is a broad term for a number of processes that involve the removal of pulp and mucilage from the coffee seed Different processes will produce different physical and sensory profiles. (see references)

  • Describe the basic stages of the washed process Distinguish between a Brazilian washed process and natural NY2 process coffee on the cupping table

  • Recognize a pulper when shown a picture of either a vertical disc, horizontal drum, or eco pulper

  • Describe the washed coffee as more acidic and a natural coffee as being sweeter with more fruitiness

NATURAL PROCESS

  • The natural (or dry process) is a broad term for a number of processing methods that involve drying whole coffee cherries (see references)

  • Describe the basic stages of the natural process

  • Distinguish between strip picking, selective picking and mechanical picking

PULPED NATURAL PROCESS

  • Pulped natural process is a broad term for a group of processing methods (including honey processing) where none or a small amount of mucilage as well as the pulp is removed from the coffee seed (see references)

DRYING

  • Coffee is dried using a variety of methods after the first stage(s) of processing. This is to reduce the moisture content of coffee to a point at which it will remain stable over long periods of time

  • Recall that different methodologies of drying exist and distinguish between:

  • Patios

  • African raised beds

  • Mechanical drying Identify the purpose of drying coffee

  • Espresso Coffee - Illy & Viani (2005)

MILLING

  • Prior to export the husk or parchment of coffee needs to be removed and the coffee graded to defined standards

  • Until the point of export, it is usually stored for at least 2 months or more:

  • 1. Under but close to 12% total moisture

  • 2. At approximately 20°C and 60% RH

  • Explain that coffee has the husk or parchment removed before grading and shipment

GRADING

  • Coffee is graded and that this is where a difference in quality starts to be defined by the coffee trade.

  • Recall the minimum period that coffee is rested between drying and milling and the optimum storage parameters for coffee stability

  • Identify the difference between a coffee with a high defect count and a low defect count in terms of:

  • Physical difference

  • Cup consistency

  • Distinguish the physical difference in grading between an Ethiopian Djimma 5

  • Describe the basic stages in the pulped natural process and a Brazil NY2 SS FC

  • Coffee is primarily graded by the number of defects and by bean size. Defects can modify quality significantly, leading to unpleasant flavors

  • Identify the impact of defects on cup quality

  • Homogeneous bean size is important in achieving roast consistency and some coffees are sold based on size.

  • Recognize the purpose and benefits of a size screen and be able to use a sizing screen (see equipment below) and report results

MARKETS & THE FUTURES MARKET

  • Futures markets were created to reduce risk

  • Describe the reason for the creation of a futures market

  • A futures market is: “A market that allows you to buy specific weights of coffee at a specified price within a specified future delivery period”

  • Differentiate a cash market from a futures market, and recall the definition of a futures market

COFFEE FUTURES MARKET

  • Coffee is traded on futures markets and the price of physical coffee derives from these markets Arabica is primarily traded on the New York futures market and Robusta is primarily traded on the London futures market

  • List the two main coffee futures markets of New York and London and identify which Species of coffee is traded on each

TRANSPORT

  • Coffee is shipped almost exclusively by boat and in container. Bag weights are different and different bag materials can be used

  • Coffee: Growing, Processing, Sustainable Production - JN Wintgens (2009)

  • Coffee will change over time during transport and this impacts on quality

  • Recall the key parameters of ICO resolution 402 and use a moisture meter

STORAGE TIME

  • Coffee is documented as coming from an exact crop year. Over time in storage, green coffee quality changes, becoming less fresh This sensory characteristic is categorized as “woody”

  • Recall that coffee is seasonal and the sensory characteristic of old coffee is categorized as 'woody'

STORAGE CONDITIONS

  • To keep specialty coffee in optimum condition it should be stored at 20°C and 60% Relative Humidity

  • Recognize that the storage conditions of coffee will affect its longevity. Identify the optimum storage conditions for specialty coffee

CERTIFICATION - MARKET DIFFERENTIATION

  • Part of the coffee industry focuses on socio-economic factors in addition to seeing coffee as a commodity. This may or may not have a quality focus.

  • Explain that differentiation of coffee products through sustainable certification now comes in many forms

STORAGE & TRANSPORT & TRACEABILITY

  • Ensure documentation exists to identify how coffee can be traced through the value chain.

  • Verify the origin of green coffee and these may include third party certification

  • Identify different bag types from pictures and recall that their weight can vary from 30kg to 21 tons

THIRD PARTY ACCREDITATION : Third party accreditations exist that independently certify different stages in the coffee supply chain against socio-economic and environmental standards

DECAFFEINATION & DECAFFEINATED COFFEE

  • This is a coffee that has had most of its caffeine removed by physical process and a solvent medium In EU countries, there has to be a maximum concentration of 0.1% related to the dry mass.

  • Define decaffeinated coffee and identify the standard for this in EU countries

  • Recognize that decaffeinated coffee looks different and cups differently from caffeinated coffee

CAFFEINE : Definition of Caffeine. Caffeine is a bitter alkaloid that has a dose-dependent action on human body. Define caffeine

EQUIPMENT AND MAINTENANCE

SIZING/GRADING SCREENS

  • Green coffee enters a dry mill in different shapes and sizes but is sold in homogeneous size bandings known as screen sizes.

  • Recognize a sizing screen when shown one and explain their use in a laboratory or mill

  • Sizing screens are used to determine bean size

  • Demonstrate how to use a set of sizing screens to determine the bean size spread of a sample and report on the results achieved

  • Recognize three certification schemes and their broad goals from a list

MOISTURE METERS

  • The purpose of Moisture Meters are...

  • A moisture meter used to confirm the total moisture content for sample. This is needed to confirm whether a sample meets industry standards on moisture. For specialty coffee, that total should be between 8 – 12.5% when tested

  • State the defined total moisture of a coffee.

  • There are different types of moisture meter available and these have different tolerances.

  • Repeat the process of using a conductivity moisture meter to obtain the total moisture of a given coffee sample. Report if the result meets acceptable total moisture levels under ICO res. 420

Commercial Break: A Dream Alive [CC#11]

A Dream Alive

ROCC started in 2012... well perhaps it goes back further than that.

Adam was no ordinary Michigan farmer. At a young age he began traveling the world until one day he landed in Central China. It was the other side of the world that he bumped into Paul... another "Michigander".

One day the two grabbed a cup of coffee together. Paul began to reminisce about his artisan friends & family back home. He casually mentioned, "I used to roast my own coffee." Suddenly the cosmos opened for Adam who bemoaned, "I wish I could find a decent cup of coffee around here." Epiphany! Paul, "Let's roast our own!"

Today the coffee you're holding was hand-selected and handcrafted by the ROCC Coffee Crew. The point of all this coffee hype is to focus on roasting and serving amazing coffees that build community and provide a playground for coffee enthusiasts.

Whether you call yourself and artisan or a novice, rest assured that at ROCC nothing is compromised. We do all the hard work (meticulously selecting, roasting, testing & brewing) so that you can just sit back & enjoy incredible coffees with a big smile.

Diedrich ROCC Bags

(Excerpt as read on the back of our beautiful ROCC Coffee bags : )

Introducing Specialty Coffee

In a new effort to document and record the many learning objectives and skills required to complete your SCA Training Certifications - we will post a series of audio and video recordings with documentation to guide you in your path to becoming an SCA Master.

Click Image to Advance > > >

Audio Notes

WHAT IS SPECIALITY COFFEE

  • Difference between freshly brewed coffee and instant coffee

  • Recognize specialty coffee from instant coffee in a cupping

  • Specialty coffee is distinct from commercial grade and defect coffees

  • There are different quality standards in flavor.

  • Identify key aspects of specialty coffee

  • State the different variables that may affect quality

Basic difference between taste and flavor

  • Difference between tastes derived from the tongue and how the addition of aroma allows us to define flavor

  • Recognize the five basic tastes our tongue can identify

  • Coffee’s historical development as a drink:

  • Arabica’s origins in Ethiopia, its spread through the Arabic world and into Europe

  • Historical development of coffee drinking in your country

  • Who are the largest consumers of coffee in the world

  • Describe the origins and spread of coffee as a drink to the present day

  • Identify the largest consuming country(ies) of coffee

The historical development of coffee cultivation

  • Knowledge of Arabicas discovery in Ethiopia, and Robustas discovery in the Congo

  • Basic knowledge of the first attempts at cultivation of coffee in other countries

  • Knowledge of the movement of coffee to Bourbon (Reunion) by the French in 1715, giving rise to one of our main Arabica varietals

  • Knowledge of the overall size of the coffee industry and the largest producing countries

  • Describe the origins and spread of coffee cultivation to the present day

  • Identify the largest coffee producing countries

UNDERSTANDING THE BEANS

  • Coffee is derived from the fruit of a tree

  • Identification of the coffee tree and its fruit. Structure of the cherry and that two beans normally exist within (or just one peaberry)

COFFEE HISTORY

  • Identify basic structure of the coffee cherry

  • State the correct name of a single bean within the cherry

  • Identify Arabica from Robusta in a cupping or as a brewed coffee

  • Describe the relative acidity and body typically derived from Arabica and Robusta are the

  • Coffee has a number of species, with Arabica and Canephora (Robusta) being the main ones grown

  • Arabica and Robusta are most common species of coffee but they are not the only coffee species

  • Key differences between these two main species: visually, growing conditions, caffeine levels

  • Differences in main flavors derived from these key species

Geographical areas involved in growing coffee

  • Equatorial areas that coffee grown, including the main continental areas of Central and South America, Africa and Indonesia

  • Geographic position may influence coffee flavor

  • Soil conditions, altitude, climate etc. affect the flavor derived from the coffee

  • State the main areas in which coffee is grown

  • State the influence geographical position may have on coffee flavor

Main processing methods of coffee:

  • wet processed/washed coffee and dry process/natural coffee

  • The flavors derived from the different processing methods

  • The steps coffee goes through to get from the farm to the roaster

  • Describe the main methods of processing coffee

  • Identify the flavor profile of each processing method

  • State the key stages coffee goes through to get from the farm to the roaster

Steps in the roasting process

  • Recognize a traditional roaster and the equipment used

  • Identify key stages in the ROASTING

  • Basic steps in the roasting process and the changes the beans undergo

  • Identify how flavors change

  • How acidity diminishes as during the roasting process sweetness and bitterness increase throughout the roasting process

COFFEE FRESHNESS

  • Identify the factors that affect freshness and have an impact on coffee quality

BREWING BASICS

  • Importance that freshness has in relation to quality coffee flavor

  • Coffee oxidizes in the presence of air, diminishing coffee quality

  • How quality packaging minimizes oxidization

  • Moisture and excess of temperature can be detrimental to coffee quality

  • Coffee should be used within the day when beans are placed in the hopper and used immediately when ground, in order to optimize flavor

Range of different equipment

  • Recognize at least five different and methods available to brew

The basic principles of brewing coffee

  • When brewing we are extracting/ dissolving elements out of the ground coffee. That only a certain percentage of the bean is dissolvable into the final cup and that some dissolvable flavors are desirable and others are undesirable.

  • Identify the standard coffee to water ratio for filter coffee

  • Identify the standard quantity of coffee used to brew an espresso

  • State the impact of under extraction and over extraction

  • State the optimum amount of extraction from coffee beans

  • Identify optimum water temperature for coffee extraction

  • Difference between terms Under and Over Extraction, and why 18- 22% extraction may be considered desirable.

  • How grind size will affect the extraction

  • Quantity of coffee advised for different brewing methods: 50-60g for Gold Cup Standard filter coffee; 14g commonly used for a double espresso in Italy but higher doses used in some cultures

  • Time is important to what is extracted e.g. why 20- 30 seconds is commonly used for an espresso

  • Water temperature is important to extraction and most brewing methods use water temperatures around 92-96c

  • Water quality is important to the flavor of the drink and that filters may be required to control this and protect machines from scale

DRINKS MENU

  • Common drinks produced with coffee

  • Recognize common coffee drinks such as espresso, cappuccino, latte, americano, filter/brewed coffee, and describe their content

A 1,748 Day Flashback. [CC#1]

A 1,748 Day Coffee Entrepreneur Flashback.

It was time to lock those heavy glass doors. Paul, Louis and I stood on a well worn red paper entryway exhausted. My oldest daughter, who had turned five just 17 days prior to the Grand Opening Party, had scribbled a marvelous array of swirls and blessings in black Sharpie markers.

Tonight was truly grand! The guests were kind and waited a long time to drink ultra-light roasted coffees late in the evening. Thats what friends do after-all. The French pastries disappeared real quick. Chocolate tarts, Macaroons, Puffy-French-Things, Eclairs, Handmade Pretzels (I convinced the baker against his will to make me the german Bretzel).

Grand Opening



It was mostly Americans, Koreans and Chinese who filled the too-warm 25 square meter room where a PPT (PowerPoint) introduction was provided. From Day 1, I held the microphone as Paul preferred to speak when called upon and Louis preferred to hide a safe distance behind Paul. We were a great team standing on that red-papered entry.

The center lock was mostly ornamental. A visual deterrent for petty thieves who might somehow find a market for stolen coffee beans and simple coffee brewing devices. In hindsight watching how a thief off-loaded an armful of our coffee may have helped enlighten our marketing strategies. For good or ill, the "xiaotou" thieves never realized how useless the $3 stainless steel lock was.

When we really locked up, we'd break out the large red plastic covered U-bolt lock and secure the door handles shut. In order to get past this bad boy, I imagine a Chinese "da'ge" bro would need as much brains as he had brawn. Either way, I tried to convince myself that I and Paul were the only two people in a city of 12 million who knew that the secret to breaking into our shop was to go at it Bruce Li style and just "la" pull the door handles off and then "tui" push your way in.

Tonight we were too excited to worry about all the bad stuff that might befall our newly minted business. We'd been going full speed for 100 days non-stop. We didn't imagine how or where we would find customers to buy all of our amazing "xinxian" fresh "hongbei" roasted coffee. There were so many other problems that we had overcome!

Stuff like:
- Writing a business plan and convincing ourselves for 6 months that roasting Specialty Coffees in Central China was a great idea.
- Raising capital, forming and American LLC and a investing into a Chinese Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise.
- Finding a shop to rent and a contractor to renovate it and passing police and fire department inspections and interrogations!

** Important note to foreigners doing business in China, this is the part where you run to get noodles or turn on your "ting bu dong" I-don't-understand face and keep clear of any landlord or badge bearing uniform.

- We shipped a half ton Diedrich IR-12 coffee roaster (purchased 2nd hand off Craigslist sight-unseen) halfway around the world.
- Then, we couldn't find green coffee to roast and when we finally did (paying an arm and a leg for it) we couldn't get the roaster to fire.
- We even made and fastened our own 8x2 meter signboard 12 feet off the ground to steel, marble and concrete with a bunch of hand tools for 1,000 "yuan" bucks because the contractor quoted us 20,000 yuan!

But it all worked out.
The ROCC Coffee Roastery was open for business.

Fond China Coffee Recollections

That first shipment

That first shipment

Sitting on the opposite side of the world, recollecting what I love about coffee in Wuhan, China.

As a coffee roaster starting out in Wuhan (2012) there were few options for purchasing green or roasted coffee. It seems most everything has changed in these 5 years since.

One great change is the availability of green coffee. I remember buying my first batch of coffee from some friends in Beijing. The price was outrageous, marked up 4-5x. It was my first purchase and the ROCC Coffee Roastery Grand Opening party was quickly approaching so we needed the best. We loaded up on some specialty grade Pulp-Natural Brazil, Washed Costa Rica, MicroLot Kenya & Gayo Mountain Sumatra. The Kenyan ran me $20USD/kg while the rest was closer to $15/kg! I had no choice, it was the only place I could find specialty coffee in 2012 and those were my only 4 choices.

However, to this day I have not had a Kenyan coffee which could rival that of 2012 (Kagumo Estate). Light roasted was sweetly acidic like vine ripened grape tomatoes and raspberries. Dark Roasted (I'm talking middle second crack) was like a toasted marshmallow.

2 months ago when leaving China I was sent 8 samples of some phenomenal coffees. Now green coffee traders are desparate to get roasters attention to help them offload excellent and affordable, clean, crisp, dense, fresh coffees from all over the world. Prices today are half those 2012 prices.

The Unforgetable Kenyan!

The Unforgetable Kenyan!

Yet still, what I love about coffee in China is that it's like the Wild West. We need professionals to stand up and boldly say, "This coffee is a great bargain!" or "This is how you roast!" or "This is what blending is all about!" Instead roasters and cafes are creating new brands everyday declaring, "Buy my coffee!" "Spend money at my cafe!" "Take training courses from me!".

All this reminiscing has me thinking it's time to document ROCC's coffee history.

~ Adam 黄朋

SCA Coffee English presents Barista Skills Foundation

We're proud to announce that the first full curriculum video recordings for our most popular course: SCA Barista Skills Foundation Module is now available to watch online through our website, YouTube and YouKu video services.

On the website click "SCA Videos" and go to "Barista Foundation" 

On YouTube you can search: "SCA Coffee English" 

On YouKu you can visit: http://i.youku.com/englishcoffee?spm=a2hzp.8244740.0.0
or search for "SCA_Coffee_English_Training" 

Become a SCA Member Today

Many people ask, "Why should I consider joining the Specialty Coffee Association as a member?"
or perhaps, "What value does the SCA offer if I become a member?"

I'll answer the Why's and What's here so that it's a bit more clear for YOU if you are part of the WHO... should join SCA as a Member.

https://sca.coffee/membership/

https://sca.coffee/membership/

中国朋友们按照: https://sca.coffee/sca-member-brochure-chinese 

中国朋友们按照: https://sca.coffee/sca-member-brochure-chinese 

First, the WHY:

  1. Typically I help enlist new members to the SCA in order to help them receive DISCOUNTS on their Certified Training programs. For example in China the cost of membership (about 600 CNY) is perfectly offset by the savings in your first Intermediate course (600 CNY). 
    1. So - after 1 Intermediate course your membership fee is covered.
  2. ALL subsequent Intermediate and Professional level courses are discounted that same amount (in China's case 600 CNY)... so you end up SAVING LOTS OF CASH!
  3. There are a number of GREAT RESOURCES which unlock through:
    1. Specialty Coffee emails
    2. SCA Store Discounts 20%+ on SCA/SCAA/SCAE approved merchandise and training equipment
    3. Access to conferences and Specialty Coffee events
    4. And much more. See website for more details.
https://sca.coffee/individual-benefits-barista

https://sca.coffee/individual-benefits-barista

https://sca.coffee/individual-member-index

https://sca.coffee/individual-member-index

There's lots to say about different member types, but the most common for individuals is as a Barista. Read more about it on the SCA Membership webpage above.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, there is a level of ACCOUNTABILITY and MOTIVATION which comes from joining the SCA as a certified member. Discounts and resources are great and practically needed by all of us, but the INTRINSIC value of belonging to a Global Community of Specialty Coffee Professionals is the immeasurable value I'd like to promote most of all.

If you are ready to start training, or get that Intermediate and Professional Certification be sure to contact SCA.Training and let us know how we can help you personally and professionally. Thanks!

How to Certify your SCA Training Center

With the many wonderful changes that have come from the SCAE (Specialty Coffee Association of Europe) and the SCAA (Specialty Coffee Association of America) merging, there have also been questions and concerns in plenty. One specifically in focus today is:

The Training and Testing Facility for holding SCA (Specialty Coffee Association) courses.

IMG_2352.JPG

Advice specifically from the SCA follows:

"Becoming an SCA Premier Training Campus

"Achieving SCA Campus accreditation is a prestigious designation that requires demonstrating compliance with standards of educational excellence. If your company or organization is interested in pursuing SCA Campus accreditation, you must complete the following steps:

"The first step in the process is to review the documents below andemail an SCA representative with questions or to begin the process of becoming a Campus. A SCA staff member will connect with you to discuss next steps in the certification process."

The documents for review are (click) below:

Introducing 6 Newly Updated SCA Foundation Courses!

After years of excellent training and material development by both the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe and of America, a new batch of SCA Training materials is rolling out. Starting with Introduction to Specialty Coffee and then to: Green Coffee Foundations, Roasting Foundations, Sensory Foundations, Brewing Foundations and Barista Skill Foundations both SCA Trainers and Students look forward to seeing upcoming announcements for new materials in Intermediate and Professional level.

new SCA foundation courses

Stay tuned for more specific content on each of these exciting and valuable SCA Foundation training modules. On SCA.Training we will identify what skills, pre-requisites, learning outcomes, costs and opportunities lie in store with each of these great courses!

Renting the China Roastery [CC#10]

Roasters & Registrations... done! Check! What about China? My eyes turned to the East.

Paul and Louis had been keeping busy in Wuhan. Louis searched for decent rental locations. He considered a dozen before finally deciding.

Rent in Wuhan is steep! (commonly 200-300 RMB per square meter per month) This makes a 100 sq.m. shop (thats 1,000 sq.ft.) cost 20,000-30,000 RMB ($3,500-4,500 USD) per month. Typically only restaurants or big brand shops can earn a profit. As a result at half to two-thirds of small businesses lose money and close within the first year.

More affordable rentals in small or old business plazas are held by old landlords (with whom you need "guanxi" relationship). Many are so bad that you don't dare do coffee business from them. Old restaurants covered in "you" oil and "yan" smoke are the norm. Often when you do find a decent place it is hard to locate (off the beaten path or has poor public transportation). You should ensure the neighbors aren't sketchy and you want to foresee any building issues that may exist (e.g. bad electric wiring, bad plumbing, a low point for flooding, etc.). Transportation, delivery and parking are issues to consideration as well when purchasing 60-70kg jute bags of green coffee or shipping boxes of fresh roasted espresso to customers.

A view of our neighbors: Smokes-Liquour Shop, Japanese Diner, Lounge, Curtain Shop, ROCC, Teahouse & Tea Distributor... (from left to right)

A view of our neighbors: Smokes-Liquour Shop, Japanese Diner, Lounge, Curtain Shop, ROCC, Teahouse & Tea Distributor... (from left to right)

Juggling all of these considerations, Louis narrowed down his search to a few locations. The one finally chosen won us over for a few reasons:

  1. Louis felt great about the landlady, Ms. Liu. She was kind and professional to work with endearing a sense of confidence and trust.
  2. The place was "hen fangbian" very convenient, for Paul's commute (about 2km walking distance).
  3. To the South (right if door) was a family owned teashop where the elderly grandfather sat daily offering advice and assurance that it was a decent location.
  4. To the North (left of door) was a family owned curtain shop. The husband wife duo were hard working and seemed good parents to their young daughter who often did homework or played among the piles of curtain rods and bolts of fabric.
  5. Though formerly a restaurant, the 100 sq.meter shop was very clean. Little oil remained from past "chaofan" food frying.
  6. The unit was 5 shops in from the entrance, close enough to have some visibility from the outside while being far enough in to be sheltered from torrential Wuhan rains by an overhang covering above.
  7. While feeling expensive, the shop was affordable at 3,200 RMB/month (about $500 USD).


While I was still in the US - after several late night phone calls (in the garage near the wifi router) Paul, Louis and I confirmed to Ms. Liu "women yao zu" we'd like to rent. With Louis' investment capital he signed off on the shop and with Paul began planning what renovations were needed to turn Unit 7 in Building 18, XiangLong Times Plaza on NingKangYuan Road into the ROCC Coffee Roastery.

A Craigslist Coffee Roaster [CC#9]

I had scoured Ebay, Craigslist and coffee forum postings for 6 months. Nothing was turning up to meet my need: a batch roaster rated 5-12kg (10-25lbs) at a price we had budgeted in our business plan. Although frustrating, six months provides a great timeframe to patiently watch the market, understand the value of used equipment and see what sells (and what doesn't sell).

From watching the market I learned several things:

  • Probat (German) and Diedrich (American) machines sold for the most and sold quicker than other models. 
    • I knew it would be hard to get one of these, but at the same time in the future we could sell it higher and more quickly.
    • Others like San Franciscan, etc. also appeared but didn't sell quite as fast and didn't have the positive feedback in forums which Probat or Diedrich commanded.
  • Nice 5-7kg (10-15lb) used roasters were selling for $10-16,000 USD.
  • Larger 10-12kg (22-30lb) used roasters were selling for $18 - 22,000 USD.
  • Much older, classic cast iron drum roasters (typically 10-12kg) sold immediately for $20,000+.

It wasn't easy staying on top of the listings. Contacting sellers through Craigslist or coffee forums proves to be slow and frustrating. Demand for great machines was much greater than supply. Well priced roasters sold immediately. In the course of 6 months, there were a few machines (I still remember the Blue 7kg Diedrich!) that I wanted to pull-the-trigger on, but at the time I didn't have the capital.

Right around the time I was registering, getting capital commitments and expediting papers across the USA the perfect machine popped up. A 2007 Diedrich IR-12 (Infrared 12kg) roaster was listed for sale on Craigslist near Tucson, AZ. I immediately contacted the seller because his list price of $15,000 was much lower than the $20,000 prices I was accustomed to seeing. If purchased new the Diedrich IR-12 retailed $35-40,000. These were the manual roasting days, before computer aided roasting programs and profilers became ubiquitous. 

At that time in 2012, my wife and I were operating a non-profit Educational Exchange that recruited teachers for ESL teaching in China. "Zhong Relations" was on-boarding a new teacher that year from Tucson, AZ. I called Joel in Tucson and asked, "Hey man, would you be willing to go kick the tires on this roaster for me and make sure everything looks up to snuff?" He didn't know anything about coffee roasters but agreed to check out a few of the areas I alerted to him.

2012 Diedrich IR-12 used roaster

My Instructions and Requests to Joel included:
1. Do a basic walk around - ensure the roaster looks standard, nothing busted or out of place and that it starts up easily.
2. Listen to the machine heat up, and confirm it makes no strange sounds (Like it needs to be oiled or as if metal rubbing together somewhere).
3. Let the sellers talk, are they transparent and sharing plenty of details or does it appear they are hiding something, drawing your attention away from trouble spots.
4. Try to inspect the drum rotating on it's center shaft, is it concentric and smooth in rotation or is there wobble with an oblong shape (indicating it was not cooled properly and that the metal had warped).
5. Look underneath, behind, inspect bearings front, back, lower for excess oil or any rust or dryness. 
6. Is the machine generally clean or is there old buildup in the cooling chamber and chaff collector. Are there coffee fines or oil buildup?
7. Does the machine produce good looking roasted coffee in your opinion within a 10-15 minute roast period? Do those fresh roasted beans cool to the touch quickly (in less than 5 minutes)?
8. Do you smell gas or propane when it's roasting?
9. Take lots of photos and videos to send to me please.

I had never purchased a coffee roaster but I grew up on a farm. I figured buying a used coffee roaster would be similar to buying a used car. There's only so much that can be checked in a 60 minute inspection and then you drop a wad of cash and drive off hoping nothing blows up.

Joel reported back well, sent reassuring videos and photos and even got himself a couple free bags of coffee. Ron (the seller) and his team were experienced roasters and machine refurbisher/resellers in America's Southwest. I bargained a bit and got the price down to $14,500 which included assistance loading the machine onto a fumigated export-approved pallet with delivery to a local logistics center. 

The whole time I was thinking, "man I should get on a plane and fly out there in person" but the exchange went so well and the terms became increasingly attractive (that machine could have sold for $20,00 if Ron and his team wanted to hold it longer) ... so together with Louis' and Paul's approval I sent payment and bought the Roaster!

I forget how that 450kg machine got from Tucson, AZ to the port of shipping in Oakland, CA, but it made it. Costs were either included in the sale price of $14,500 or included in my international shipping expenses. Looking back now, I feel that was also a significant work accomplished.

Finding a logistics company which would ship our new baby across the Pacific Ocean effectively was no small task. I knew a guy named "Henry" in Wuhan, from the American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) Central China Chapter, who was in logistics. He and his colleague "Monica" hooked me up with their Oakland partner "Kevin" who quoted me $5,000 to pack and ship the Diedrich IR-12 to Wuhan. I was concerned about taxation, inspections, customs and tariffs so we had to get a bit creative.

China and the US have always had a few disagreements when it comes to import exports. I knew firsthand after living in China that the last thing I wanted was to get the roaster 95% of the distance and then get stuck in customs.

Kevin and I devised that we add an extra stop along the way. From Oakland the roaster traveled to Taiwan. It was unloaded and registered as a Taiwanese (a.k.a. "Chinese") shipment. The roaster was put on a truck and shipped north to Taibei where it went from Taiwan to Mainland China - stopping at the docks in Wuhan. America to Taiwan no tariffs or scrutiny. Taiwan, "China" to Mainland China also no problem. That extra jaunt by truck in Taiwan added some fees, but avoid any taxes and expedited the whole process.

The last unexpected hiccup occurred at dock in Wuhan. I spent an extra $1,000 to transport the machine the final 30 miles to the door of our roastery. Unbelievably a giant industrial hydraulic lift-truck showed up (as if it were moving an entire 20-40 foot container!) The oversized crane set our cargo palette on the ground, from where we pushed it to the door. Getting the 1,000lb machine up 3 stairs and into place was adventure but with 5 anxious men pushing and pulling the job was finished!

From Tucson, AZ to Oakland, CA to Taiwan to Wuhan, China and into the ROCC Roastery, I spent a grand total of $6,000. It was a lightning fast 20 days from start to finish. I shouted a quick praise and hallelujah to God Almighty and high fived Paul & Louis. We were on to new adventures in roasting!

Starting the Wrong Way [CC#8]

If I could go back to July 2012, I would do it all over. But I didn't already have the experience that tells me... it's coming.

It was a cool and sunny summer in Michigan. The dining room table held a stack of paper and plans next to my laptop. I succeeded to register ROCC, LLC (a partnership held Limited Liability Company) in the state of Washington. The reason for this was two-fold. First, my family called WA home, had drivers licenses there, voted and annually filed taxes there. Second, we had some "guanxi" relationships there (as the Chinese would say). A couple good recommendations for a CPA Firm and an attorney who we might trust were just what we needed to start with a bit more confidence.

In the past I had a terrible experience opening and operating a 501(c)3 Non-Profit organization in the State of California. Sadly CA has a lot of regulations and is more costly than other states to operate your business from. Washington was a dream in comparison: less paperwork + less "mafan" hassle = more conducive to our small business.

So between the CPA, the law Firm and the State of Washington Business Bureau, and the good ol' World Wide Web (Internet) I was able to expedite the needed papers from Washington State to Washington, DC (for Chinese Consulate Authentication) and finally back to me in Michigan. ROCC, LLC was not only formed, but it was authorized to do business in and make an investment in China!

So, we needed cash to invest in China. I put out the call to our partners in California, Oregon, Washington and Michigan that it was time to make contributions. Businesses require capital, but technically we didn't have a "business" we just had paperwork. Sadly we fell into the trap of raising and spending money before we had any real business. We needed systems in marketing and coffee contracts which were generating new customers with revenue and profit. We had spreadsheets and projections, but again - it was just a plan.

In our own way we believed, "If you build it they will come."
"If you buy a roaster and start a roastery they will come."

If I could go back to July 2012, I would do it all over. Back then I didn't have the experience that tells me, "go look to find existing assets and put them to use." I tell new entrepreneurs this all the time.

All over China (all over the world) today there are under-utilized roasters (assets) sitting idle ready for outsourcing and toll-roasting contracts. In the beginning we could have saved ourselves from spending an entire year of generating customers on our investments if we had operated with someone else's assets for a time. If there really is a clientele for your product you can save piles of startup-cash by renting another persons roaster (use it from Midnight to 4am if you have to). What's more are the relationships and knowledge (e.g. poor product choices, gaining access to supply channels and vendors, etc.).

However, we chose to carve our own path and write our own story. Enthusiasm was high. A few close family and friends heard the ROCC story and caught the vision. The ROCC partnership had financial contributions and we were certified to "conduct coffee business between the US and China." 

red stamps required


Extra measures needed to be taken to ensure I went back to China with all necessary documents in hand. Within 10 days ROCC, LLC was incorporated, documents were expressed to the Washington DC Chinese Consular Business Section. A business must first be recognized by a special department issuing permits (which come as beautifully notarized sticker type documents) before it can make a foreign investment to China and operate in country.

Part 2 of this story was the exciting challenge of buying our Diedrich IR-12 roaster sight-unseen off of Craigslist and shipping it from the Oakland port of Los Angeles, CA to Wuhan, China. Those developments happened between legal and bank registration work.

Incredibly documents crossed the country by plane while I coordinated phone calls in multiple time zones to government offices and express courier services. I opened business bank accounts and established my wife's father as a co-signer to serve while I was out of country. Papers in hand by mid-July I was back on a plane headed for Wuhan.

Business Startup Checklist [CC#7]

Enough about choosing a proper business name. Paul & Louis (both spending the summer of 2012 - in China) gave a commitment to build this thing called ROCC. I was in America for the summer. We had work to do.

A short list of essential items to check off included:
1. Raise a first round of capital ($70,000 USD) by sharing the vision with and recruiting additional shareholding partners.
2. Register an American Limited Liability Corporation.
3. Find a secondhand shop roaster (5-15kg batch size) to purchase and ship to China.
4. Figure out how to ship a giant roaster to China without getting stuck in customs and indefinite taxation.
5. Coordinate all startup plans, analyze potential locations for our shop, choose a location, prepare and sign rental agreements, etc. etc. with Paul & Louis across the Pacific Ocean and 12-15 hours time difference.
6. Identify and hire attorneys, CPAs, etc.
7. Open bank accounts and create books to run the new US company accounts.
8. Miscellaneous tasks that come alongside opening a business to have operations on the other side of the world.
9. Be a good husband, father and son while "vacationing" in Michigan and Washington for the summer.

All of the above was essentially pulled off successfully in one whirlwind of a month (July 2012). Each with an anecdote and lesson of its own.

the startup team