Know Your Product:  

Coffee, Tea, and Condiments:  A 3 Part Series

When you go into a business to discuss providing coffee service they are expecting you to be the expert.  The prices, equipment you use, and all the basic business info is standard.  What info will show them you are truly the expert?  Knowing the details about the various products your company provides.

Part 1: Coffee

Photo of coffee beans and aeropress by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash
Coffee:  Some People’s  Favorite Drink 

Here are 3 resources for more coffee info:

Coffee beans come in two varieties: arabica and robusta.  Experts generally consider arabica the higher quality variety.  Robusta has twice the caffeine and a more bitter flavor.  In coffee, bitterness is very different from acidity. Acidity produces much of the flavor.  High acidity flavor i expressed in floral and fruity notes.  Low acidity coffee usually has more cocoa or nutty notes.

Referring to coffee beans by nation or region is a common practice.  See the Home Grounds Guide for regional and national guides for coffee beans. (If necessary use link above and go to Coffee Beans tab.)

Coffee roasts measurement range from Light to Dark.  There are no set standards.  Light roast is generally more acidic and less bitter.  The more you roast a bean the less acidic and more bitter it normally becomes as they lose moisture and oil.  See the NCA Roast Guide.

What impacts the quality of your coffee most?  These two complementary factors:  The preparation method and the grind.  Investigate which grinds work best with your equipment.

  • #1 – Extra Coarse Grind
    #2 – Coarse Grind
    #3 – Medium-Coarse Grind
    #4 – Medium Grind
    #5 – Medium-Fine Grind
    #6 – Fine Grind
    #7 – Super Fine

What about the health benefits of coffee?

The latest research has not only confirmed that moderate coffee consumption doesn’t cause harm, it’s also uncovered possible benefits. Coffee may reduce the risk of developing gallstones, discourage the development of colon cancer, improve cognitive function, reduce the risk of liver damage in people at high risk for liver disease, and reduce the risk of Parkinson’s disease. Coffee has also been shown to improve endurance performance in long-duration physical activities.
Source: Harvard Health Publications, Harvard Medical School, 2006.

Here are a couple of websites with multiple articles on the health benefits of coffee, Coffee Detective and Coffee & Me.

In addition to the flavor aspects, some brands tout their social consciousness by purchasing organic and/or fair-trade coffee.  This could be important to your customer.

Fair-trade certified farmers, exporters and importer must meet a number of strict international standards.


  • Pay their workers fair wages and farmers fair prices
  • Provide safe working conditions
  • Permit No child labor
  • Use environmentally friendly practices


  • Paying a minimum price per pound of $1.40
    • Incresed price for organically grown fair-trade coffee.
  • Provide credit to farmers.
  • Help farmers by providing technical assistance, on topics such as environmental practices including;
    • Sustainable farming practices.
    • Water conservation
    • Reforestation

Many businesses will buy organic fair-trade coffee once you explain how it actively contributing to the betterment of someone’s life, to his or her family and their community.

For more info read the Mother Earth News article What the Heck Does Fair Trade Certified Mean? or go to the Fair-Trade Certified organization website.

5 thoughts on “Know Your Product: Part 1 Coffee”

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