It’s all quite simple really.
All our coffee can be traced back to each producer, farm or washing station. All our coffee is traded fairly.
We choose to work with farmers and brokers that we trust and invite you to share all the information available to us about each origin.
Some coffees we work with might have a label such as organic, fairtrade or rainforest alliance. Others may not. It’s more important for us to know the story behind each origin then the label they may carry. Quality and sustainability comes in different shape and forms.
It goes without saying that the coffee we source is specialty grade and of high quality. It costs a little more but it tastes so much better.
We are lucky enough to work with some fantastic producers and passionate people in West Java, Indonesia and Panama. Our relationship with the people who pick, process and package our coffee is invaluable. We centralise our other coffee origins in the USA and ship them directly to us.
We choose only suppliers and partners who share our vision and values. Compostable packaging, recycling and minimising our carbon footprint is an important part of our selection criteria.
Roasters come in all shapes and sizes. We have been lucky enough to work on a lot of different equipment over the years and with each experience we’ve grown in knowledge and confidence. We are currently roasting on a Swadlo 30 kg drum roaster. We bought this roaster in a poor condition with many parts missing and spent the best part of a year reconstructing it.
As there was no information available for the Swadlo anywhere, we relied upon our previous knowledge to recondition and repurpose the Swadlo from electric to gas fired. We also built new fan chaff, collector unit, afterburner and a staged burner manifold.
We use artisan graphing software with a multi probe set up. 5 years on we are still tweaking and learning about our roaster. We have recently changed the drum speed and speed controlled the drum fan, to enable even more precise roast profiles.
Small Batch Roasting
Some of the best coffees we’ve come across are roasted in smaller batches of 100 g at the time. Sample roasting is a great tool when selecting new coffees, checking out a new roast profile or as the name says – when you need to produce a smaller batch at the time.
Our sample roaster was built in 2007 when there was little on offer for gas fired home roasters.
There are now a number of small sized roasters available to meet the growing market of home roasters. The most exciting one is the Huky 500 T, a small shop roaster that can be specced up to become a professional sample roaster.
Roasting is fun and what’s even better – it has never been easier to give it a crack yourself.
Beginner or pro – we want to create a platform for home roasters and coffee professionals to share their knowledge and experience in a fun and approachable way. From words of advice along the way to workshops, cupping sessions and green coffee supply – we are here to help.
The Huky 500 T home roaster is available to order from us and we are happy to offer a demonstration at our roastery before you go ahead and place the order.
To check out our green coffee offering, please go to our web shop or visit us at Small Batch in Petone – bags available from as little as 500 g.
As coffee roasters, one of our most important jobs is to make sure that we get our hands on the best possible green coffee beans to enable us to create the best possible cup, for ourselves, and our customers.
Our coffee is selected on both its quality and cup profile, and it’s important to us that we know the journey of the coffee we choose. By cupping green coffee bean samples sent to us, we decide on which coffees to buy.
Our relationships at Origin are invaluable to us, and we are always on the outlook to create new connections with farmers across the world. We import a wide range of seasonal green coffee beans, to fulfil the requirements of our specialty blends. We also select a number of interesting coffees that we roast as One Origin.
By offering our coffee as green beans, as well as roasted, we are opening up the possibility for coffee roasters, big or small, to get their hands on a variety of high quality green coffee.
Please see below a short explanation of the different coffee processes and what effect they have on the finishing cup. This might be helpful when you select your coffee.
Wet Process / Washed
After the coffee cherry is harvested, the flesh is removed and separated using a machine called a pulper. What remains is a bean covered in a thin, sweet layer of sugary mucilage.
There are two ways of removing the mucilage: via fermentation or mechanical separation.
For fermentation, the coffee is poured into a clean tank, where it rests in its own juices, that naturally present bacteria and enzymes (mostly pectinase), that will break down the mucilage layer. This can be accomplished with or without the use of water, and requires 6 – 72 hours for completion depending on the volume of coffee, amount of mucilage on the beans, temperature, humidity and desired results.
Once the mucilage can be easily rubbed off by hand, the coffee is then rinsed free of any residuals.
At this phase the coffee is commonly referred to as parchment, which describes the remaining protective layer covering the green bean and it is dried in one of several ways.
Once the proper moisture content of 10% – 12% is achieved the parchment is set to rest. After sufficient resting, the parchment layer is removed using a dry miller, resulting in a clean, polished green bean ready for the roaster.
While overall the washed process seems pretty straight-forward, fermentation is regarded as a craft.
There are numerous subtleties in this technique that dramatically affect the cup. Skilfully manipulating these variables helps create beautiful coffee.
Pulp Natural / Honey process
Honey processing bridges the gap between washed and natural coffees as it generally possesses some of the body and sweetness of a natural while retaining some of the acidity of a washed. Honey coffees often have a syrupy body with enhanced sweetness, round acidity and earthy undertones.
This processing method follows a similar path as washing except the mucilage is not removed but instead left to dry on the parchment layer.
Not all honey coffees skip mucilage removal entirely. Some are fermented just a little bit, lightly rinsed and laid out to dry. Others nearly complete fermentation and dry with maybe 10% mucilage remaining. Semi-washed is perhaps a more accurate term to describe this approach since it implies a wide spectrum of variability in the amount of mucilage intact while drying.
Just like fermentation, a well done honey, requires observation and mastery because the mucilage layer plays a crucial role in creating cup character.
The tricky part is drying. Once the beans pass through the pulper, special care has to be taken so the coffee dries quickly enough to prevent fermentation and stave off fungal or bacterial growth but not too quickly, and the weather needs to be just right.
The beans must be agitated or raked 2 – 3 times per hour until they are dry enough not to stick to a down-turned palm, usually 6 – 8 hours.
More raking than average is often required beyond this point to ensure nothing rots nor ferments.
Once dried to the proper moisture, the coffee, with parchment and dried mucilage still attached, is set to rest and then finally dry milled, just like a washed coffee, before moving to the roaster.
In this method, the cherry is harvested and then dried fully intact as a whole fruit. What results is quite expected: a very fruity, often exotic, coffee that is generally sweeter and fuller in body than its counterparts.
While honey coffees require extensive care in the short term as they dry, naturals demand long term care and attention to detail. It takes roughly 2–4 weeks to reach 10%–12% moisture, and during that time any number of fungal or bacterial growths can emerge to create rot and nasty flavours.
The coffee needs to be hand-sorted to ensure the crop remains clean and free of mould. Once dry, the coffee remains fully encased in its fruit leather-like flesh during the resting phase.
Naturals are generally more inconsistent in quality given that every bean is its own closed environment of varying levels of sugars and alcohols. To work with those variables in certain parameters is time-consuming and labour-intensive. This is one of the reasons why consistent, exquisite naturals are often highly revered.