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Coffee Explained

Certification

EurepGAP Code

The EurepGAP Coffee Reference Code was developed over a period of several years. The Utz Kapeh Foundation spent several years working with the original EurepGAP base code, refining and improving the key elements related to coffee. In January 2003, EurepGAP and Utz Kapeh started a comprehensive revision of that code to create the current EurepGAP Coffee Reference Code. In June, consultation was held with:

  • Coffee producers, certifying bodies and agronomists in the Utz Kapeh network

  • EurepGAP members

  • Experts from the coffee industry and NGOs

The EurepGAP Coffee Reference Code follows the recognizable format of other EurepGAP codes, covering the critical areas from record keeping and pesticide management, through worker health and safety and environmental and social issues. Particular emphasis has been placed on developing meaningful, implementable guidelines that work for both large estates and smaller farms. As they are essentially identical, the Utz Kapeh code is the first code to be benchmarked against the EurepGAP reference code.

Fair Trade Certified

Fair trade coffees have been certified by TransFair USA in the US and by the Fair trade Labeling Organization International (FLO) at origin. TransFair’s rigorous audit system tracks products from farm to market, verifying industry and farmer compliance with Fair Trade Criteria.

Participating co-ops are guaranteed a minimum price $1.31/lb for non-organic and $1.51/lb for certified organic coffee – or $.10 above ‘C’ market price for conventional coffees with an addition $.20 Certified organic premium. Growers are free to organize democratically. Co-op members elect co-op management and decide how the FT $.10 premium is used.

Farmers minimize chemical use and avoid the most harmful pesticides altogether. International Labour Organization standards, covering child and forced labour, freedom of association, collective bargaining, and anti discrimination must be met.
US roasters utilizing the Fair Trade Certified label must be licensed through TransFair USA and pay a fee based upon the amount of FTC volume they purchase and FTC percentage they sell.

Please note: Most Fair-Trade coffees are now purchased on a differential price with a growers right to fix prior to shipment.

Organic Coffee Certification

Organic coffee is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals or pesticides. Coffee labelled as organic must be certified in the country or origin following strict processing and labeling guidelines.

Production must be actively organic, including organic composting and environmental protection of watersheds and soils. Natural products and improved crop husbandry are actively encouraged. Production must be actively organic and independently audited for at least two years before certification is granted. Many different certifying agencies exist to process certification at origin and around the world.

Rainforest Alliance Certified

The Rainforest Alliance works to protect ecosystems and the people and wildlife that depend on them by transforming the land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behaviour. Companies that participate in the Rainforest Alliance system meet rigorous standards that conserve biodiversity and provide sustainable livelihoods. The organization certifies coffee farms on the basis of nine criteria:

  • Ecosystem conservation: Protection of forests, regeneration of native trees, no use of harmful pesticides.
  • Wildlife conservation: Active protection of rare indigenous species.
  • Fair treatment and good conditions for workers; Includes fair pay, health and safety benefits and access to housing.
  • Community relations: Actively encourages health and schooling for local communities.
  • Integrated crop management: Seeks to balance efficient crop production with rational pest control.
  • Complete integrated waste management: Ensures all waste is dealt with environmentally through reuse, recycling or safe disposal.
  • Conservation of water resources: Protects fragile tropical water systems.
  • Soil conservation: Includes strict regulations on crop husbandry
  • Planning and monitoring: All social and environmental activities must be planned for and documented.
UTZ Kapeh Certified

Utz is a Mayan word for “good”.

UTZ Kapeh Certified introduces a minimum standard for responsible coffee production in the global market. Producers who are UTZ Kapeh Certified must comply with the UTZ Kapeh Certified Code of Conduct. This code is recognized by EUREPGAP and based on the internationally accepted ILO standards. 

The certification requires social, environmental and organizational criteria such as:

  • Basic record keeping
  • Hygiene
  • Soil management
  • Worker Safety
  • Responsible use of Agro-chemicals
  • Fundamental labour rights and access to health care, decent housing and schooling
  • Forest preservation

Coffee Beans Classification and Grading

There is no standard classification system for coffee beans. It differs from country to country. In actual fact the same 'grade' may define different qualities from Country to Country. For example, Papua New Guinea AA and Kenya AA refer to different classifications. Papua New Guines AA describes the bean size as well as defects, while Kenya AA, describes the bean size only. Although, Specialty Coffee Association of America (SCAA) and Europe (SCAE) have been trying to set the international standards, these have not yet been adopted by the markets. Classification is based on certain characteristics grouped by:

Altitude

Guatemala 

The “Strictly Hard Bean” coffees are among the best in the world : complete, full bodied taste, acid and fragrant cup.

Quality

Altitude

 

 

 

 

Good Washed

700 metres

 

Extra Good Washed

700 / 850 metres

 

Prime Washed

600 / 900metres

 

Extra Prime (E.P.)

900 / 1100 metres

 

Semi Hard Bean (S.H.)

1100 / 1200 metres

 

Hard Bean (H.B.)

1200 / 1400 metres

 

Fancy Hard Bean

1500 / 1600 metres

 

Strictly Hard Bean (S.H.B.)

1600 / 1700 metres

 

 

Honduras

Strictly High Growns represent about 12 percent of the total output. High Growns, which account for approximately 78 percent of the total output are usually priced very competively, compared with other Centrals. Standards (10 percent of the output) offer neutral cups.

SHG

Strictly High Grown

Over 1500 m

HG

High Grown

from 1000 to 1500 m

CS

Central Standard

Under 1000 m

Nicaragua

Those altitude classifications are to be considered as theoretical since most of the HG and MG are blended with SHG and exported as SHG

Central Estrictamente Altura

SHG

Strictly High Grown

Over 1500 m

Central Altura

HG

High Grown

from 1300 to 1500 m

Central Bueno Lavado

MG

Medium Grown / Good Washed

from 1000 to 1300 m

Central Standard

LG

Low Grown

Below 1000 m

Defects

Not all countries classify coffee by defects. Those that do, use a different grading system as well as terminology, defect ratios and conditions. The following tables depict these differences as far as defects go.

Grade

Indonesia

Ethiopia

 

 

Grade 3 and 4 are sometimes also called U.G.Q. (Usually good quality) The most common type is grade 5. The so called Grade 5 Europrep is an improved Grade 5, since it should not exceed 80 defects. Grade 7 and 8 also exist, but are not allowed for export.

Grade 1

Total value of defects maximum 11 

0 – 3

Grade 2

Total value of defects between 12 and 25 

4 – 12

Grade 3

Total value of defects between 26 and 44

13 -25

Grade 4

Total value of defects between 45 and 80

25 – 45

Grade 5

Total value of defects between 81 and 150

46 – 100

Grade 6

Total value of defects between 151 and 225

101 – 153

 

Grade

Brazil

 

Number of defects per 300gr sample

Fancy 

8 but no black beans allowed

E.P. = Extra Prime

8

Prime 

19

Superior 

36

Good 

64

Regular 

 

Ordinary 

 

 

Grade

Costa Rica

Guatemala

USP = U.S. Preparation

Approximately 12 defects

- 100% above screen 13
– Homogeneous colour
– Humidity 9-12%
– Defects max 23 per 300 gr (only for washed Arabicas)
– clean cup, without defects

 

EP = European Preparation

No more than 4 defects. No Major Defects

- 100% above screen 15 (with a tolerance of 5% above scr 14)
– Homogeneous and green colour
– Humidity 9-12%
– Defects max 8 per 300 gr 
– clean cup, without defects

 

GP = Gourmet Preparation

 

- 100% above screen 16 with a tolerance of 15% above screen 15, no peaberries nor elephants
– Homogeneous and green colour
– Humidity between 11 & 12%
– Defects max 5 per 300 gr and free from quakers
– clean cup, without defects and with acidity as well as body

 

Grade

Uganda This classification applies only to Bugisu Washed Arabica

AA

washed Arabica coffee beans, heavy, solid and of good appearance for the grade, free from all traces of fermentation, mustiness and other undesirable smells and taints, shall be free from extraneous matter, shall have a maximum moisture content of 12%

A

washed Arabica coffee beans, heavy, solid and of good appearance for the grade, free from all traces of fermentation, mustiness and other undesirable smells and taints, shall contain not more than one-tenth of 1% by weight of extraneous matter, shall have a maximum moisture content of 12%

PB

washed peaberry Arabica coffee beans, fully formed, sound, heavy, solid and of good appearance for the grade, free from all traces of fermentation, mustiness and other undesirable smells and taints, shall contain not more than one-tenth of 1% by weight of extraneous matter, shall have a maximum moisture content of 12%

B

washed Arabica coffee beans, heavy, solid and of good appearance for the grade, free from all traces of fermentation, mustiness and other undesirable smells and taints, shall contain not more than one-tenth of 1% by weight of extraneous matter, shall have a maximum moisture content of 12%

C

washed Arabica coffee beans of good appearance for the grade, free from all traces of fermentation, mustiness and other undesirable smells and taints, shall contain not more than one-tenth of 1% by weight of extraneous matter, shall have a maximum moisture content of 12%

E

washed Arabica coffee beans of good appearance for the grade, in size larger and in weight heavier than type AA, the formation of which during growth has been composed of two beans fitting into each other, free from all traces of fermentation, mustiness and other undesirable smells and taints, shall contain not more than one-tenth of 1% by weight of extraneous matter, shall have a maximum moisture content of 12%

UG = Usually Good

washed Arabica coffee beans equal to sample as approved from time to time by the Authority

 

Papua New Guinea

Grade

Bean Size (screen size)

total defect
equivalent per kg maximum

AA

> 19

10

A

17

10

AB

>16 (50%)
>17 (50%)

10

B

>16

10

C

>15

25

PB

11-14S

10

X

mixed

20

E

>19

10

PSC

>15mm

35

Y1

mixed

70

Y2

mixed

150

T

mixed

no more than 30 or 3% by weight per kg or foreign matter – husk or hull

Density

Costa Rica

SHB

Strictly hard bean

from 1200 -1650 m

HB

Hard bean

from 800 – 1100 m

Size (Screening)

In order to determine bean size, coffee is filtered through a perforated screen.

1. Screen sizes vary from screen 20 (very large bean) to screen 9 (small peaberry bean).
2. Each screen size is equal to 1/64th of an inch.
3. Bean size can be referred to either by screen size (ex: screen 17) or by name (ex. Large bean).

Screening should be done by moving the coffee 3 times around in the screen by making circular movements followed by one gentle hit against the side of the screen.

Again as with the other classifications each country follows its own rules, conditions and naming conventions. 

The tables of conversion below illustrate terms used in describing sizes of coffee beans.

Brazil

Flat bean

Screen 20

Very large bean

Screen 19

Extra large bean

Screen 18

Large bean

Screen 17

Bold bean

Screen 16

Good bean

Screen 15

Medium bean

Screen 14/13

Small bean

Peaberry

Screen 12

Large bean

Screen 11

Good to large bean

Screen 10/11

Good bean

Screen 10

Small to medium bean

Screen 9

Small bean

 Colombia

Maragogype

Special tree variety, very large beans, very small volumes.

Supremo screen 18

Max 5% under scr 18 but over scr 14.

Supremo

Max 5% under scr 17 but over scr 14.

Excelso Extra

Max 5% under scr 16 but over scr 14

Excelso EP

max 2.5 % under scr 15 but over scr 12
(the preparation may vary to 5% or 8%
depending on the client’s requirements)

U.G.Q.

“Usual Good Quality”: max 1.5% under scr 14 but over scr 12

Guatemala

US preparation

100% above screen 13

European preparation

100% above screen 15 (with a tolerance of 5% above scr 14)

Gourmet preparation

100% above screen 16 with a tolerance of 15% above screen 15, no peaberries or elephants

Kenya Washed

PB

Peaberries

AA

Screens : 17 and 18 = 7.2 mm

AB

Screens : 15 and 16 = 6.6 mm

C

Screens : 14 and 15

E

Elephant
When the beans separate during processing, they are chipped and called “Ears”. This category also contains large “Peaberries”.

TT

Light beans separated from AA and AB by air current

T

Smaller than TT, many fragments. Light beans separated from C by air current

UG

Ungraded : all that does not fit the specific criteria for each official grade.

 

Kenya Natural

M’buni 

Deteriorated beans (branches broken by the wind or the weight of the cherries), processed by the dry method

MH

M’buni Heavy = large beans

ML

M’buni Light = small beans
– Can be exported.
– As is sorted : machine-cleaned, electronic-sorted, hand-picked once or twice.

 

Uganda

AA

min. 90% milled above 17, max. 2% milled below 12

A

max. 10% milled above 17, max. 2% milled below 12

B

max. 10 % milled above 16, max. 2% milled below 12

C

max. 10% milled above 15, max. 5% milled below 12

PB

max. 5% milled above 16, max. 2% milled below 12

E

min. 85% milled above 19.5, max. 5% milled below 12

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