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East London

Coffee Company

Tanzania Uganda Columbia Kenya Ethiopia Brazil Guatamala

The world of coffee

The first step in our quest to serve and distribute fine coffee is to source the finest green coffee beans available. Coffee is grown in many countries, most of which are located in the equatorial coffee belt, broadly described as the higher lying geographical areas north and south of the equator. Coffee is grown on a coffee tree. Some trees only flower and thereby produce the coffee cherry once per annum and others twice, this depends on the growing region and the farming method.

Many of those writers knowledgeable about coffee refer to the slow growing bean which usually grows in the higher altitudes as being preferred. These beans are generally harder or more dense than those grown at lower altitudes and as a broad generalisation they grow in a more natural manner than those ‘farmed’ on cultivated lands.  


In addition to the growing location and farming methods, the processing method whereby the fruit pulp is removed and the seed (or bean) is dried, washed and prepared, also affects the final bean taste and thereby quality. Once pulped, washed and dried, the beans make their way to small and large gathering areas, sometimes large farming co-operatives; sometimes to an on-site sorting and packing area and sometimes to small and usually remote and informal gathering areas. Irrespective of how and where, the beans are eventually graded. This grading is unfortunately not universally uniform and comparisons are made difficult by local grading systems. Expect to see AA; AB and others in African countries; NY and EP pre-fixes in others and many confusing identification marks such as SHG (selected high grown); Supremo and many others.

Screen sizes (size of the beans); evidence of disease; the presence of stones and sticks and many other abnormalities all effect the grading of the bean. The beans eventually find there way into the hands of the traders who export these to countries throughout the world and to roasters large and small where they eventually become “coffee” as we all know it.  

Coffee cupping and formal quality assessments

The SCAA (Speciality Coffee Association of America) leads the race in grading methods with their 100 point system. This said, Q-Cup graders; other graders and assessors, roasters and enthusiasts alike, have different methods of assessing bean and cup quality. At the east London Coffee Company, we cup (a term referring to a tasting and assessment process) each bean; each batch; each roast and each blend. We compare our assessment to open-source information and between our own experiences and the wealth of information available on each coffee, we then make our various beans and blends available to our customers with as much information as possible.

Please refer to the menu at the top of this page to find our more information on individual beans.

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Why try different coffees

With hundreds of different bean varietals and hybrids, the world of coffee is enormous. Too much of the same thing, be it the same wine each time, the same dinner every night or only one fruit type, variety can be enjoyable. While acknowledging that many of the taste and character differences are very subtle, it can be fun for the coffee enthusiast to experiment, particularly with single origin coffees from significantly different regions. For example, an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe versus a Columbian Huila,

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