If you’re an avid fan of coffee artistry, you should know by now that before any coffee is sold, they are graded first to determined the price at the end. The grading process is done based on the relationship between the amount of defective coffee beans and the overall cup quality. The grading uses an SCAA method of grading, which is an excellent method for comparing coffee beans. But before that, coffee beans are sorted through screens with different sized holes to produce beans of uniform size, so that an even roast can be achieved.
The first grade is grade 1 or Specialty, which is the highest grade and a term used for coffee that has scored over 80 points out of 100 point scale by the SCAA (Speciality Coffee Association of America). The score is achieved when the coffee beans have no primary defects and 0-3 full defects in 300 grams of coffee. When cupping, these beans must possess at least one distinct attribute in the body, flavor, aroma, or acidity, must be free of faults, and need to have zero “Quakers” which are unripe or poorly roasted beans.
Grade 2 is considered Premium grade and the second highest grade. Most likely this grade is the one you most often drink. These beans are the same as Specialty beans in everything except it is allowed a maximum of 3 Quakers and 0-8 defects.
Grade 3 is also called the Exchange grade coffee beans. The coffee must have no more than 9-23 full defects in 300 grams. No cup faults are allowed with a maximum of 5 Quakers. These beans are usually sold at supermarkets. With 24-86 full defects per 300 grams, the next coffee beans grade is Grade 4 or the Standard grade.
Even though Robusta coffee has been historically considered inferior to Arabica, they are also graded nevertheless. When Arabica coffee beans are classified as grade 1 they are called Specialty coffee, whereas Robusta is classified as Fine, with zero primary defects and no more than 5 secondary defects sample.
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