In This Issue:
2. Some Words from Our Sponsors
3. Shade Grown Coffee, (Continued from last week)
4. Processing Coffee, (Continued from last week)
5. Kona's Growing Zones
6. Links to My Friends
Welcome, my friends, and thank you for subscribing.
The articles on shade grown coffee and coffee bean processing
are continued in this issue. You will learn about the
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center and "songbird friendly"
coffee, and all about drying, milling, and grading coffee.
Anyone like Kona coffee? Please check out the article this issue
about Kona's Growing Zones.
And while you're checking, don't skip over the coffee ads.
You'll find some special deals, just for you. Please let our
sponsors know you saw them here. It makes us all happy.
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look. The Links Page has been updated. Also, I recently joined
the "Express Top 50" webring, which is a good collection of
coffee websites. Go ahead and hit the link, then come back here.
If you would like a past issue, please email me and I will send
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My goal with this journal is to promote good coffee. I want to
learn, educate, and entertain. I publish every Friday via email
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eJournal nor its publisher, Robert L. Badgett, is responsible
for any errors or omissions. All information is provided "as is"
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1. Some Words From Our Sponsors
Grow Your Own Coffee at Home!
Coffee seedlings, grown from Kona seeds,
Only $5 each or 6 for $25.
What a great idea for a gift
Have them shipped directly to your coffee-loving friends.
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Attention Restaurant and Coffee Shop Owners
Receive $50/- discount on the following equipment:
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Three-bowl Ugolini magnetic drive unit $3300.00
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Ahrre's Coffee Roastery's 'Back to School Special!'
Order a five-pound bulk package of any of my fresh-roasted
coffees (whole bean only!) and pay my wholesale price plus
shipping. This offer is insane!
But I'm making it good through the end of September 2000. For a
list of my coffees, please check-out my website, but.
.You must phone the order in (800-991-7977) mentioning Badgett's
Here are some examples of the available coffees and the prices
you'll be paying:
5 Pounds of French Roast = $18.95 + Shipping
5 Pounds of Colombian Supremo = $19.95 + Shipping
5 Pounds of Kenya AA = $22.95 + Shipping
5 Pounds of Sumatra Mandhelling = $19.95 + Shipping
5 Pounds of Hazelnut Creme (or any of my flavored coffees)
$22.95 + Shipping
Shipping charges vary, but you'll pay exactly what I pay
Assume about $5.00 per 5-pound bag.
Coffee; because it's legal!
Coffee Wholesalers: Your Internet Source for Green Beans
Organic Guatemala Hue Hue Tenango Shade; Co-op Grown,
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For Great Deals on other Organic Beans, Roasted Coffee, Chocolate, and Gift
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"I do most of my work sitting down; that's where I shine."
3. Shade Grown Coffee, Continued from last week
by Sonia Anaya, Elan Organic Coffee Company
ORGANIC CERTIFICATION NOW REQUIRES DIVERSIFICATION OF SHADE??
Some farmers who own medium and large estates, who are better
able to survive the period of change and growth until coffee
bushes are in full production again, have pulled shade trees out
of the groves and replanted trees that provide different levels
of shade. In other cases, they have cut down all the trees and
planted diverse shade species.
During this time, scientists from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird
Center (SMBC) found that populations of migratory birds were
declining: massive deforestation in Latin America's tropical
zones was destroying the birds' nesting areas. However, the
investigators also found that coffee groves in those same areas
that use diversified shade closely parallel the birds' natural
habitat and offer a kind of sanctuary for their reproduction.
The SMBC held the first sustainable coffee conference in
Washington, D.C., in 1997 to raise interest in diversifying the
shade canopy of Latin American coffee plantations as a way to
improve the nesting habitat of migratory birds. Other
organizations have since contributed to the recognition of shade
as an important factor in coffee production, as shade also helps
stem erosion by water and wind due to lack of vegetative cover.
This concern prompted the calling of a tri-national congress in
Oaxaca, Mexico, in May 2000 to discuss shade coffee and the
possibility of creating new regulations to promote change in
coffee production. Organizations including the Smithsonian
Migratory Bird Center, Eco-OK, OCIA and others have advanced the
criteria for shade coffee.
I do not believe it is necessary to create a separate shade
certification to ensure the diversity of shade because the
organic coffee regulations already deal with shade. However, the
regulations must be improved and implemented in the organic
systems through certifying agencies, and inspectors must include
this criterion as a special section in their inspections.
We should consider two patterns for improving shade diversity:
for established coffee plantations and for new plantations.
Established Coffee Plantations
1. It takes several years for a shade canopy to grow, so
farmers, cooperatives, organizations and exporters should
present a shade work plan for short-, medium- and long-term
conversion to diversified shade. A short-term plan should
include an investigation of native species (trees and bushes) of
the region that could be suitable for shade and collection of
seeds of those plants. A medium-term plan should include the
establishment of a shade tree nursery. A long-term plan should
include the establishment of shade trees in the coffee groves.
2. Investigation centers and farmers should create listings of
all native species in each zone that are suitable for shade and
which do not damage the coffee plants.
New Coffee Plantations
1. Identify species already grown on parcels that are feasible
2. Plans should avoid clear-cutting entire parcels.
3. Find new species in the region that can be incorporated into
the coffee groves.
1. Consider the farmer and his environmental conditions.
2. Use native species including forest trees, fruit trees, etc.
3. Avoid introducing exotic species.
4. Suit shade composition to the local environment.
5. Consider shade regulations of other agencies or certifiers to
unify shade criteria.
6. Investigation centers and organizations should study the
amount of light necessary for optimal growth and production in
coffee plantations. Criteria should indicate the percentage of
shaded surface that is optimal for different countries, regions
The traditional rustic shade system included in the SMBC
criteria takes years to achieve. Although these regulations are
necessary, we cannot demand that the farmer obtain perfect shade
from one year to the next. A majority of farmers are illiterate.
If we consumers are going to demand conditions for our products,
we all need to help them diversify their shade canopies. They
are isolated and need more information to keep up with changes
and international restrictions. We need to publish more
information about what is going on internationally, nationally,
regionally and locally about cultivation, production and
commercialization of coffee.
Shade-grown coffee plays an important part in improving the
environment globally. This is as great a responsibility to the
farmer as it is to the consumer, who must consider the effort
farmers are putting into shade-grown coffee in comparison to
Visit our website at: http://www.elanorganic.com/
"When you steal from one author, it's plagiarism; if you steal
from many, it's research." Wilson Mizner
4. Processing Coffee by Coffee Project,
Continued from last week
The pre-drier gets the biggest droplets off. The beans are
drained, blown dry, and then fed evenly across a fluidized bed
to remove any surface moisture. You can sun dry your beans, or
you might be use a Berico dryer, similar to a corn silo but with
perforated walls. Just create a void down the center of your
silo and pump thousands of cubic feet of warm air through the
openings while dribbling coffee beans from a conveyor belt high
above. As the bean column fills up, the warm air (110-115
degrees) filters through to the outside carrying bean moisture
with it. The alternative is get a rake and a patio, and keep the
beans moving. When you hit about 11-1/2 percent moisture, you're
done. You can store the beans for later, or take them on to be
Step one in milling is the de-stoner. Not as hippy-dippy as it
may sound, the de-stoner removes tiny rocks, thus preventing
them from completely destroying your thousand dollar coffee
grinder later on. This in itself would be a real buzz-kill.
Little rocks and stones can be picked up during harvesting and
drying and are suspiciously similar in size and weight to green
coffee beans. Enough said.
Next step: The Huller.
It's time to remove the parchment from the bean. The parchment
is now very dry and easy to remove by gently breaking it away
from the bean. At home it's just a matter of rubbing the beans
between the palms of your
hands and breaking it away. The next layer exposed is the
"silverskin" which later on will become chaff. To lessen or
eliminate the silverskin, the beans may go on to a third step
which is called polishing.
Polishing can be especially useful in accurate grading of the
coffee, but over-aggressive polishing will allow the bean to
"fade" prematurely, that is, lose its sparkle as when taking any
product out of its protective wrapper.
But, let's return to the issues of grading. We now have dried,
polished beans of a relatively uniform size and density. The
next step, "sizing" is where classification really happens. The
"sizer" takes these beans and through a series of eight screens
which divides them in increments of 64ths of an inch. When you
hear the reference to screen size 16/17 that's in 64ths of an
inch, between 16/64ths (a quarter of an inch) and 17/64ths. By
the way, 1/64 of an inch in decimals is only 0.0156 of an inch
from one screen to the next. This is about the thickness of a
sheet of newspaper. OK, grab all the screen size 18 beans and
meet at the density table.
What was once a very large quantity of beans is now a fraction
thereof. But let us say we have a good collection of perfectly
sized 18 screen beans. Being the same size does not necessarily
mean the same density. The "Oliver," or "density table," helps
give us that equivalent precision in terms of density, or
weight. The Oliver is a slightly inclined table that vibrates
madly, and even comes complete with a blast of air. This is big
fun for the beans. This time, the heavier beans rise to the
surface due to the vibration, while the lighter beans
drift to the bottom. The air blast from below helps to move
things along. Since the table is inclined, the heaviest beans
find their way not just to the surface but all the way to the
top of the incline and off the end while the lighter beans find
their way to the bottom, and off the end.
If you don't have a home color sorter, this next step can be
skipped, but if you do: drop the beans one by one in front of
the color analyzer. This machine looks for a segment of the
spectrum which you can adjust at will. When a bean is defective
or out of the color parameters, a puff of air will kick the bean
out of the batch. You will examine every single bean of every
single batch of every single crop, so this may take a while.
The last step is the mixer to assure consistency from bag to bag
when you are working in large volumes. Dump all your coffee from
all the processing into one big hopper, mix it around, and
measure it back out, finally, into the familiar burlap bags. Sew
the top shut.
And there you have it. Absolutely consistent size and density
beginning with a field of beans. Wet processing is of course
just one way to go. There is also the dry process and even semi-
Washed coffee is not necessarily better, but it does offer
extraordinary consistency in taste, aroma, and roast grade. Dry
processed coffees have their own benefits, such as complex
flavors; but that is another story.
Visit The Coffee Project at http://www.coffeeproject.com
"The wise know too well their weakness to assume infallibility;
and he who knows most, knows best how little he knows." Thomas
5. KONA'S GROWING ZONES
Kona Coffee is grown only in the regions of North and South Kona
and the areas lying only within these districts. Mainly arabica
is grown, first brought to Kona around 1828.
When Kona Coffee is grown in the lower zones (200'-800'
elevation), the Hawaiian type of coffee tree is preferred, a
shorter tree that can handle the intense heat and little
rainfall. They enjoy the shade provided by monkeypod and other
larger trees. The conditions in the lower zones are lots of sun,
growing in almost pure rock, dry conditions with little rainfall
every winter, and overall slower growth with little advantageous
growth. These trees exhibit stress during the winter months of
drought periods; they wither and droop although coffee's quite
hearty and these trees do survive. Coffee grows better at lower
elevations with irrigation.
Growing in the middle zone (800'-1400' elevation) the Guatemalan
type tree is preferred, It grows tall and doesn't need tree
shade compared to the lower elevations (it already receives
shade from the clouds). This zone seems to be the easiest zone
to grow in as far as product results and farm management. The
yearly dry season occurs during the usual winter months but the
trees do not stress as heavily as the lower elevations, they
stress just enough to encourage heavy production. In this zone
some farms have soil and some do not, with some having soil
pockets throughout their farms. Farms with soil will have more
weeds and more advantageous sucker growth.
Kona coffee that grows at higher altitudes (1400' and higher)
has very favorable growing conditions; this zone has the best
cherry to green recovery producing the largest amounts of the
highest grades (extra fancy and fancy). There's more soil which
gives the farmer a media they can easily work with; the rich
volcanic soil in this zone is some of the best natural soil due
to its young age, excellent drainage etc. With today's organic
and natural soil additives and continuous hard work a farmer can
build a perfect soil. Rainfall is plentiful and even during
wintertime drought the moisture in the air and soil keeps the
trees from drying out. The usual "mauka" climate of sunny
mornings and cloudy, rainy afternoons, and the "uhiwai", are
perfect conditions and the trees thrive. Growing in this zone
requires much attention and care as the coffee loves these upper
zones and is constantly in a growth cycle; the vertical suckers
are always in need of pruning. If the farm is healthy, pruning
is a year round ordeal. Any coffee that didn't get picked and
falls to ground will grow. Hand pulling or hoeing is the
preferred method but some farmers resort to herbicides to
control weeds and other unwanted growth. The coffee in this
zone is (in my opinion) by far the best for large bean/top
quality/high grade recovery.
Donna Stiles, Kona Purple Mountain Coffee
"For some reason, too deep to fathom, men contend more furiously
over the road to heaven, which they cannot see, than over their
visible walks on earth." Walter Parker Stacy
6. Links to My Friends
Visit the links page on our website to get the latest links to
both coffee related and unrelated sites of interest. The links
page was last updated on July 29, 2000. Check it out. You might
find some old friends and make some new ones.
"When angry, count to four; when very angry, swear." Mark Twain
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