Coffee Defects: When Good Beans Go Bad

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by: (5132 pts)

Most of us know what good coffee tastes like, smells like, and looks like. But, encountering a bad bean isn’t all that common, especially when you consider that most of the vendors on Whole Latte Love have stringent quality control procedures. That said, just like any other consumables, coffee can and does have its defects. Want to know what to look for? Read on.

Mold
Green, unroasted coffee beans can develop mold that exhibits a fuzzy texture. If moldy beans are roasted and brewed, the resulting java will have a gag-inducing musty, mildewy flavor. Yuck!

Stinkers
Just like the name of the affliction suggests, stinker beans produce a foul smell when ground and an unpleasant taste when brewed. Beans that spend too much time in the fermentation tank or get stuck in the pulper are destined to become stinkers.

Foxies
There’s nothing foxy about these unroasted beans, which have a rusty color when instead of a healthy light-green tint. They’re the result of bad fermentation, improper washing or drying, and over-ripening.

Quakers
Harvested before they’ve had a chance to fully ripen, these berries turned beans usually have a wrinkled surface and don’t darken very well when roasted.

Pest and Disease Damage
Like nearly all plants, coffee trees are prone to a variety disease that really wreck havoc on its precious berries. The most common afflictions include: coffee rust, coffee berry disease, and coffee berry borer damage.

Shells
This defect is probably one of the most common and recognizable. The beans bear a strong resemblance to shells, with large cavities. Coffee connoisseurs frown upon too many shells in a batch.

Peaberries
Once frowned upon, these diminutive beans - while technically a defect - are much sought after for their concentrated flavors and aromas. These special beans, found like gourmet coffees like J. Martinez Tanzania Kilimanjaro Peaberry, are often hand picked and sold separately from regular varieties.

Of all the beans that make it into any given bag, you can be sure that many have been discarded for having one or more of these defects. Now that we’ve spilled the beans on the things that can go wrong, it’s time to sit back, relax, and enjoy a sip of your favorite coffee. Hey, these are beans that made the grade after all.

Categories Coffee and Espresso

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Pong123 6 months ago

This is excellent information. I am new to understanding coffee and this was a great start to understanding what I am looking at when I buy coffee. Thanks