5 things you need to know about locally roasted coffee
Being a local coffee shop, we care about our community and the products we offer.
We put special care when picking the source of our food, and especially our coffee. We make our brew with locally roasted beans.
This type of coffee has many qualities that make it unique.
We want to share with you the things we consider that make this coffee different from the rest.
Many factors come together to ensure you can enjoy the best coffee there is.
But for starters…
What is locally roasted coffee?
Well, it starts with raw coffee. These beans come in different varieties of green.
Then, the roaster cooks the bean in a coffee roasting machine. This process brings the full flavor of the coffee.
But… it’s not that easy. To be able to choose the beans, the roaster needs to understand many factors:
- Where the beans were grown
- How they were processed
All of this has an influence on the final product and how it tastes.
When you buy from a local roaster, you can be sure that they pick the best beans and then polish them to keep the quality intact.
Now let’s look at the particularities you should know about this type of coffee.
Before roasting the bean, the roaster must consider qualities and intensities and measure bitterness and acidity levels.
This will determine what could go wrong and what needs to be done to get the best flavor and aroma.
If it goes wrong, they start again until they get the perfect result.
So, to get good coffee consistently takes practice and a lot of knowledge.
Various outcomes depend on how the beans are roasted:
- The lighter the roast, the more acidity and less bitterness you’ll obtain.
- The darker the roast, the more bitterness you’ll taste.
A coffee roaster may be certified by the SCA. This means they would’ve completed numerous hours of coursework.
This is not a job that anyone can do. This is a process that needs to be highly monitored.
The roaster needs to follow the principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics, and coffee chemistry, to meet the highest quality standard.
So it doesn’t cut it to just let the machine do its thing, the roaster has to actually know what they are doing, or they won’t get the best result.
It is as fresh as it gets
When you roast coffee locally, you get to ground and package it shortly after it is roasted.
So you can be sure that your coffee is as fresh as it gets when you drink it.
To keep the coffee fresh, it needs to be stored at a constant cool temperature, the bag needs to remain closed. This will ensure at least three months with its qualities intact.
Coffee can keep its original taste and aroma for up to three months since it’s packaged. After, it will also taste good, but maybe the aroma won’t be as strong, or the flavor will change a bit.
Do you love the smell of coffee? Wait until you try a freshly roasted one. You won’t go back.
They go through courses on which they learn their craft. Therefore, the green coffee buyer is crucial when it comes to picking the best beans.
Usually, they will pick a selection of beans from where the roasters will choose.
They are the ones who develop the concept of coffee. They identify the notes, aroma, and taste.
So if the package of your coffee says it has notes of this or that, and it smells like happiness, that’s probably the work of the green coffee buyer.
Fairtrade with farmers
Quality beans need a lot of dedication. Farmers take their time and effort to grow and pick the best beans.
Fairtrade is important because farmers do not have it easy. They have to face a lot of difficulties to do their job.
Just to give you a bit of perspective on the life of a farmer, we gathered the main difficulties they face:
Damaging diseases and pets
One of the most famous diseases that affect crops is the «coffee leaf rust» disease. Since 2012 it has caused plenty of losses.
Farmers waste their work and do not get to sell their crops because sometimes they focus on just one type of species, so one disease can ruin the whole plantation.
How to solve this? No one is sure yet…
Planting new crops is not just expensive, but it also takes the tree a long time to grow large quantities of coffee.
So coffee farmers stick with short-term solutions that do not really solve the issue.
Pests are also common. Farmers have to deal with many kinds of organisms that could damage their crops.
So they always have to plan ahead and take risks, even knowing that they could lose the harvest.
Not being able to control the environment is one of the most challenging parts of living off the harvest.
Farmers have a fixed schedule. Harvest season has to cover their yearly costs. If something out of their control happens, like rainfall or rising temperatures, they just can’t make it through the year.
Some species are not used anymore because of the lack of fertile land that would make them grow.
It’s a very hard job
Coffee processing requires knowledge every step of the way. People who know what they’re doing. When the workers are not suitable, the final result is at stake.
As time passes, it has become evident that kids who grow up in a family of coffee farmers often decide to leave for the city.
They want to make a better living because they are aware of the struggles their family faces.
There’s also the issue that it is difficult to find enough manpower to harvest the coffee cherries when they are ripe.
This is because coffee picking is seasonal, and the pickers are paid based on the weight of the cherries they collect.
This means more than 8 hours of work a day and having to sleep on hillsides.
Because this is a seasonal job, workers will need to find another job and even move to a different region by the end of it. So this is not a job for everyone.
Unfortunately, coffee prices often fluctuate based on supply and demand, not the cost of farming.
Producers are unable to plan ahead because prices change all the time.
This is a massive issue because farmers need to plan costs and expect a payoff to cover them by the end of the year.
But when the selling time comes, sometimes prices have dropped in half, and they cannot even cover the costs.
This makes for complex decision-making.
For example, a farmer could decide to focus on specialty coffee to get better prices. However, still, the final income might not be worth the effort.
They also have to worry about environmental factors, if something unexpected occurs, crops won’t make the cut, or they could be lost.
The best-selling species of coffee are usually the most sensitive to environmental changes.
So it’s a risk that some might not be willing to take.
Local roasters usually get the beans from suppliers that make sure that the farmers get fair trade. This means that it potentially helps their community.
It is clear that coffee farmers do not have it easy, so it is vital to consider it when buying coffee. Small decisions could have a significant impact on someone’s life.
Supports the local economy
When you buy coffee from a local roaster, you are supporting the local economy.
People who buy a cup of coffee every day may not be aware that purchasing their daily coffee could positively affect their community.
So you do not only get great coffee, but you can also consider yourself a friendly neighbor.
The money you spend on a local business will help local producers and also create local jobs.
This also means that, little by little, we will create a strong community with fair prices and constant growth.
Friendly with the environment
Over the last few decades, coffee plantations have been responsible for the deforestation of large areas.
Companies look to maximize sun exposure, and on the way, the environment is severely compromised.
Here are some issues caused by coffee production:
Deforestation and soil damage
The coffee industry has resulted in over 2.5 million acres of forest cleared in Central America.
Touching on the previous topic about farmers focusing on growing one specific species of coffee, this also causes the crops to fall to disease.
This event is less likely to happen if many species grew together because biodiversity would be balanced.
This pattern interferes with the rest of the organisms. It endangers migratory birds, provokes infestations, and damages the soil on which other species coexist.
Coffee plantations demand a lot of water and also contaminate waterways.
Coffee processing plants are known to discharge waste on rivers and near bodies of water.
Also, coffee plants grow cherries where the beans are housed. The farmer picks them and removes the outer pulp, so only the bean is left.
This generates a lot of waste material in the form of pulp and residual matter. This waste is usually dumped into streams and damages ecosystems.
To solve this, some use this waste for composting, and then they use it as fertilizer.
Sun-grown coffee often means an intensive use of pesticides that damage the soil and compromise the environmenFarmers are also put at risk working with these types of chemicals.
Local roasters and sustainability
The whole process to get specialty coffee (this is the one local roasters use) is based on responsible production.
So it only makes sense that there are some environmental standards that the beans could meet.
It could be certified by the Rain Forest Alliance, which means the whole process is sustainable, and the workers get fair treatment.
There’s organic coffee, which means that no prohibited substances are utilized throughout the cultivation process.
It could also be Bird Friendly/Shade Grown, which focuses on keeping the diversity of the environment intact.
Some beans will have the three designations, this is more costly to the roaster, but it might be worth the extra bucks to keep the environment healthy.
Do you see why we love it so much? Locally roasted coffee, it’s not just your regular coffee. It is a whole process that makes a difference in many lives.
You will get the best sip throughout the day and know that you are doing your part to help your community and many farmers worldwide.
Come try it!
Now that you know what the hype is about, you might want to give it a try.
At I Think She Is we are passionate about sharing. Behind everything we do, there’s an intention and a reason.
It’s just a cup of coffee, but it means the world to us and to the people who take part in the process that leads to the final stage, brewing the coffee and serving it to you.
We invite you to come and taste our different options. You can take a peek at our menu right here.
You can also order online any time you have a spontaneous yearn for a cup (it happens)
Do what makes you happy, but even more if you make someone else happy along the way!