Danny Davies, MD at Climpson & Sons sources our coffee. Here is what he has to say about the importance of sourcing the best coffees.
Our process for sourcing involves a fair amount of work. There is a buying strategy in place, so we follow a few steps which ensure all criteria are met.
We request and also are automatically sent samples of "green" or raw coffee beans from a variety of importers and farms. These samples need to be fresh, from the current harvest in the country of origin.
We roast these in 100g lots, and proceed to "cup" or taste the samples, making notes on basic flavour to create a "cup profile" of the coffee in question. You must look for flavour defects, and a positive impression of how the coffee tastes for it to pass into consideration.
If we are interested in a coffee, the next step is to question its provenance - this involves conversations with the broker or farm, as to our core values checklist:
- has the farmer received a fair price for the coffee.
- how was it produced - using commercial sprays and harvesting, or using more environmentally sensitive methods.
- is social sustainability being considered.
- is the price ok for us to pass on a fair retail transaction to our customers.
The final stage if we are still interested is to enter into a contract for supply of the coffee. This way all parties know where they stand both in terms of price and quantity required. It might still have to travel to get to the UK, and then hopefully not sit in storage too long. We only want to keep single origins on for a maximum of 6 months to ensure freshness, so timing is key!
By Danny Davies, MD of Climpson & Sons