Roasted vs Fresh Material – a Staggering Weight Difference. Is Quality Coffee Really Expensive?

November 13, 2023

Let’s think about a typical 60 kg bag ready for roasting. Guess how many kilos of cherries had to be picked in order to deliver these 87 SCA greens to your door. Keep your estimate in your mind and wait till the end!

A fresh coffee fruit contains around 65-70% of moisture. The first huge step when you lose weight is of course removing the skin (in naturals it happens a bit later) and drying the coffee to around 11%. From 70% to 11%. Money doesn’t fall from the sky, but rather evaporates towards it. Now it’s time to remove parchment (another kilos thrown away).

Till this stage there’s no difference between commercial and specialty coffee. But to get this sweet, clean microlot you now need some more serious dry treatment. Sorting for size (most of the time you want these bigger and even beans) and removing all sorts of defects with densimetric tables and color machines.

On average, with our Guatemalans, we lose around 25-30% of mass from parchment to exportable coffee. The last step – roasting! With fairly light yet well developed profiles you lose another 13% of mass.

To answer the question. Considering all cherries were ripe, you need around… 315 kg of fresh fruit to make that 60 kg bag of a nice quality specialty coffee.

Don’t forget about all the labor, fertilizing and all sorts of other agronomic costs that are getting more and more expensive during these crazy times. Is specialty coffee expensive then?

Our Roasting Tips are brought to you by Piotr Jeżewski (88 Graines Q Grader & Sourcing Director)

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