Single Origin Coffee and Coffee Grades

At Brown Bag Coffee Roasters, we wanted to focus around specialty grade single origin beans.  Single origin coffee is grown within a single known geographic origin.

We believe these give us the best flavour profiles we are looking for. Each brings unique and subtle nuances. While we try and focus on a single farm within those origins, these are not always available. Crop dates and crop sizes will determine which we can source. We try and include as much information on our site and coffee bags as we can so you know exactly where and what you are getting.  

We also use these origins to create our blends - both drip / french press and our popular espresso. A blend allows us to marry the benefits of each bean, bringing out a completely different flavour profile. A lot of time is spent in testing out blends to find just the right combination. From the amount of each bean, right down to mixing of those beans before roasting or after to find exact profile.

Why have we chosen the origin of beans we did? Ultimately, to give our customers the capability of experiencing all the different profiles found in major coffee countries. While there is no hard and fast truth to what a flavour will be like from a certain country there are some characteristics that remain.

We are proud to be able to offer high quality single origin beans to our customers.  When discussing beans, there are 2 things that are important.  The GRADE of the coffee and CUPPING.  Let's start with the grade first.

Grade 1: Specialty Grade Coffee Beans: no primary defects, 0-3 full defects, sorted with a maximum of 5% above and 5% below specified screen size or range of screen size, and exhibiting a distinct attribute in one or more of the following areas: taste, acidity, body, or aroma. Also must be free of cup faults and taints. Zero quakers allowed. Moisture content between 9-13%.

A quaker is an industry term to describe under-ripe , undeveloped coffee seeds that fail to roast properly. These are most often the result of unripe, green coffee cherry making it into the final product. Normally, these are skimmed off as floaters (in the wet-process ) or visually removed in the dry-process method.

Grade 2: Premium Grade Coffee Beans: Same as Grade 1 except maximum of 3 quakers. 0-8 full defects.

Grade 3: Exchange Grade Coffee Beans: 50% above screen 15 and less than 5% below screen 15. Max of 5 quakers. Must be free from faults. 9-23 full defects.

Grade 4: Standard Grade Coffee Beans: 24-86 full defects.

Grade 5: Off Grade Coffee Beans: More than 86 full defects.

Brown Bag Coffee Roasters only purchase green beans that meet Grade 1 or Grade 2.  The quality of the bean and how it has been handled is very important to us.  

Coffee cupping, or coffee tasting, is the practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee.

It is a professional practice but can be done informally by anyone or by professionals known as "Q Graders".  

A standard coffee cupping procedure involves deeply sniffing the coffee, then loudly slurping the coffee so it spreads to the back of the tongue. The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee's taste, specifically the body (the texture or mouthfeel, such as oiliness), sweetness, acidity (a sharp and tangy feeling, like when biting into an orange), flavour (the characters in the cup), and aftertaste. Since coffee beans embody telltale flavours from the region where they were grown, cuppers may attempt to identify the coffee's origin.

 At Brown Bag Coffee Roasters, we offer studio tours in which we roast some coffee together and do an informal cupping session.  To book your session, please fill out the form below.