Grading

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After cleaning and drying, coffee beans are picked over to remove the debris and then grade according to shape and size. This simple process is done using screens (sieves). The final coffee beans are then labelled according to its picking origin, how it is dried and its shape. The graded green coffee beans must then be roasted to release their special flavour characteristics.

Table of Key Grades for Coffee Beans

Type Comments
AA Grade Whole bold beans of good even size, which roast well and taste excellent. (Screen 18/20)
AB and B Grade Whole beans but not as large as AA. They roast well but do not look as good or taste as good as AA. (Screen 16)
C Grade and Broken Sometimes small, bitty rejects which scorch easily. "Lost" into pre-ground coffee
E Grade E is for Elephant, which are huge beans that appear randomly in a day's pickings. E grade are graded out because they make prime coffees look uneven, plus they taste different - less concentrated but wonderfully nutty in flavour
Peaberry A single neat round bean that is randomly found. Some producers grade Peaberry out and sell it separately. Peaberry is felt to be a more concentrated taste than two beans in a cherry.