Posted Thu May 15, 2014, 6:39am Subject: Re: Find A Quality Bean
Here's a link to the Arabica varietal origins chart Ray imported from Google. You can expand it to your heart's content.
Words like "species" have precise meanings. It's very difficult to follow your train of thought if you don't make an effort to use words according to their meanings. There's no such thing as "in my slang," either. The best thing would have been to say, "sorry," and explain what you meant.
Please consider changing your biography entry from "professional" to something else. While you might be some other sort of professional, you're clearly not a "coffee professional" and the description seems pretentious. You're obviously very new to espresso. I appreciate your enthusiasm and consider most of what you have to say as questions which are based on "revelations" you experience as you begin your journey on the trail that is espresso.
Describing beans by their countries of origins, particularly "Sumatran," doesn't convey much information to your readers. There are a lot of different beans grown in Sumatra (nearly all of one sort or another of Arabica, mostly Typica), each affected by type, micro-climate, agricultural practices, shade cover, altitude, processing, etc.
Typical Sumatran beans were popular in specialty coffee, for their mouthfeel, body, and for their generic "coffee" flavor profile, and the way they took on roast flavor profiles (chocolate, nuts). They were good candidates for deep (i.e., "dark") roasting and as the "base" bean in blends.
However, as the "third wave," came in, buyers, roasters, and consumers learned more about origins in terms of micro-regions, individual farmers, etc.; and the styles of roasting and consumption moved towards lighter roasts and more SOs (single origin coffees). On top of that, buyers visiting Sumatra noted that the agricultural and processing practices were lousy.
It wouldn't be fair to say that Sumatran coffees completely disappeared from the high-end, but they weren't nearly as popular as they had been when dark roasts and anonymous Italian style blends ruled the roost. More recently though, a few Sumatran producers improved their methods and started shipping some very good beans.
The origin is worthy of some consideration. If one of my greens suppliers tells me he's got something I'll like, I wouldn't dismiss the suggestion out of hand. But if you're looking for a great bean, the word "Sumatran" is no more a guarantee than the word "Brazilian."
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