Brazil – Commodity vs Speciality Grade?

What really is the difference between Commodity Grade and Speciality Coffee?

A coffee that scores 80 or above out of 100 is classified as speciality coffee, usually being higher in quality and traceable. Certified Q-Graders will determine the cup score by aroma, flavour and quality of cup. Naturally, roasters are willing to pay more for higher quality. Weight and level of farming ethics also play a part in determining price. Dont assume that gourmet and premium coffees are always associated with higher grade coffees as these are loose terms which hold very little meaning.

So why does access to traceable, speciality grade Brazilian coffee matter?

Brazil is the largest coffee producing nation, responsible for a third of the world’s coffee and are keen to increase their stakes. To reach these incredible quantities, mechanical harvesting is implemented. The problem with this method is that often, unripe coffee cherries get harvested along with ripe ones, resulting in a lower quality of end product. Commodity grade typically fetches a lower price as it is abundant. Flavour is not memorable and more defects are present. Generally speaking, commodity grade coffee is not traceable because certification is another area where money can be saved. This is where the problem comes in: Untraceable coffee can sometimes be sourced from farms paying their workers minimum wage (or less) – often violating human rights, using forced labour, debt bondage, degrading conditions and long working hours (terms we associate with slave labour)The idea of producing coffee as cheaply as possible is horrific because it exploits people.

Our approach to ethically traded coffee

We are very pleased to be stocking Brazil Arvoredo. Not only does it leave a pleasant taste on the palate but also on the conscience. Personally, never before have I seen such high quality traceable Brazilian coffee in South Africa.

Typical cup profile: Fruit, nuts, chocolate, low acidity and white sugar.

We enjoy this coffee as a medium roast brewed in a filter machine.

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