Coffee has become part of the daily lives of millions of people around the world. One exceptional term that you might have come across is “microlot coffee.” So, what is microlot coffee exactly, and why has it gained a reputation for being an exquisite and unique coffee experience? In this article, we’ll delve into the world of microlot coffee, its origins, the process of making it, and its impact on the coffee industry.
What is Microlot Coffee?
Microlot coffee refers to a small, carefully selected portion of coffee beans grown on a single farm, typically in areas with special or unique microclimates. This specific selection of beans is known for showcasing exceptional quality, flavor, and aroma characteristics that make it stand out from other beans. Because of its limited and exclusive nature, microlot coffee is a sought-after commodity among coffee connoisseurs and enthusiasts alike.
In the coffee industry, “Microlot” has gained popularity, sparking interest and many conversations. What, then distinguishes a microlot from a regular batch of coffee?
Let’s think about an apple orchard comparison to help better understand the notion of micro-lot coffee: Think of a beautiful orchard entire with apple trees. The apples are noticeably better in a tiny area of the orchard, where they are tastier, crispier, and juicier. You make the conscious decision to carefully segregate and tend to these exceptional apples, giving them additional attention until it’s time to harvest. Then, these extraordinary apples are offered for sale to affluent customers prepared to pay top cash for unmatched quality.
Similar to how these distinct apple function, micro lot coffee does as well. Growers focus extra care on developing the specific properties of these beans by selecting a limited lot of coffee bushes with particular traits (85+ cupping score). To emphasize their distinctive qualities, micro lot coffees are produced on the farm from specific plots of land or altitude zones.
Coffee is not a microlot only because it is a little lot of coffee or because a huge lot was divided into smaller bags. The phrase suggests that consumers and/or producers actively participate and experiment to hone the unique qualities of the beans. The word “microlot” just turns into a marketing gimmick if this is not immediately clear. Accurate terminology and grading information must be widely disseminated as speciality coffee gains popularity in order to demonstrate the genuine worth of distinctive coffees like microlot.
Origins: From Farm to Roast
The phrase “microlot” has an uncertain history, but it is one of several phrases used in the coffee trade to distinguish items for buyers and sellers. To talk about a coffee’s exclusivity, quality, and ability to be traced back to its origin, other words like “strictly high grown,” “single origin,” “estate grown coffee,” and “small lot coffee” are also used.
Different stakeholders, including coffee farmers, processors, and distributors, have different definitions of microlots. Due to linguistic differences, the term “microlot” may be written differently (for example, “micro lot” or “micro-lot“). Every step of the supply chain might be impacted by various interpretations.
The Skilled Coffee Grower
A microlot is a traceable, special green coffee that has been laboriously grown for numerous producers. It could originate from a single farm, a particular crop, or a certain part of the farm. The greatest of a farmer’s crops are frequently shown in microlots, which enable them to get more money for their work through higher prices or direct sales to consumers.
The Specialized Coffee Maker
Microlots may not be understood by processors in the same way that they are by farmers. It could relate to a specific harvest day, a variety, a particular processing technique, or an altitude. It aids processors in differentiating one batch of beans from another, albeit it is not always a sign of quality.
The Creative Distributor of Coffee
When distributors are aware of the farmer and the quality of the coffee, they may use the farmer’s microlot label. For premium coffee, they typically pay more, guaranteeing a clear supply chain. On the other hand, some distributors label a tiny or unique batch of green coffee with their microlot label without making it obvious what manufacturing or quality controls were used.
Roasters frequently have differing views on microlots, with some purchasing green coffee with a microlot label from distributors and adding it to their own packaged roasts. Others, on the other hand, only use the phrase when the supply chain maintains traceability, transparency, and quality green coffee.
The exceptional, traceable, and exclusive Helena Coffee Microlot
The goal of Helena Coffee is to provide clients with the most remarkable and distinctive speciality coffees while upholding source-tracking traceability. Limited single farm origin coffee batches of the finest quality are produced using microlots.
Helena Coffee seeks for the greatest coffees to make encounters exciting and fascinating. It sources microlots every three months and pays premium prices to farmers in appreciation for their labor. Helena Coffee allows customers to completely experience their coffee’s origins by purchasing and roasting microlots, which provides the whole coffee journey, including details about farms, producers, growing conditions, and processing processes.
The Origins of Microlot Coffee
The concept of microlot coffee emerged from the “third wave of coffee,” a movement focused on improving the quality, taste, and artisanal aspects of coffee production. It emphasizes the notion of coffee as a craft, paying close attention to each stage of the production process from planting to brewing. Microlot coffee was introduced as a way to highlight the distinctive characteristics of small-lot coffee beans and give special recognition to the farmers who produced them.
The Microlot Coffee Process
- Selection: The microlot coffee process starts with identifying the perfect location with ideal growing conditions. The selection includes factors such as altitude, soil type, shade, and surrounding vegetation. These variables play a critical role in influencing the flavor and quality of the coffee beans.
- Cultivation: Farmers cultivate microlot coffee with meticulous care, following strict standards and paying attention to every detail. They often use sustainable and environmentally friendly farming practices, such as organic fertilizers and pest control methods.
- Harvesting: The beans are handpicked when they reach their optimal ripeness, ensuring that only the best beans are chosen for microlot production. This manual process ensures that the beans are not damaged during collection.
- Processing: The processing techniques play a crucial role in determining the final taste and quality of microlot coffee. Farmers choose between natural, washed, or honey processing methods, which remove the outer layers of the coffee fruit to reveal the seed or bean hidden inside.
- Sorting and grading: Grading standards for microlot coffee are higher than those for ordinary coffee beans. The beans are sorted by size, color, and density, ensuring that only the finest beans make it into the final batch.
- Roasting: Due to its exceptional quality, microlot coffee requires greater attention to detail during roasting. Roasters often experiment with various roasting levels to bring out the unique flavor profiles hidden within the beans.
- Cupping and quality control: To further ensure quality, microlot coffee undergoes a cupping process. This involves expert tasters who evaluate each batch for flavor, aroma, acidity, body, and other unique characteristics.
The Impact of Microlot Coffee on the Industry
Microlot coffee has added value to the coffee industry by raising the bar for quality standards and encouraging farmers and roasters to develop their skills. This is a win-win situation, as the increase in demand for high-quality coffee has also led to better prices for farmers who produce microlot beans.
Moreover, the introduction of microlot coffee has promoted sustainable and environmentally friendly practices, as well as fostering strong connections between coffee producers and buyers. Consumers have developed a deeper appreciation for coffee as an artisanal craft and are willing to pay for the unique qualities, flavors, and stories behind each microlot coffee.
Microlot coffee represents the epitome of quality, craftsmanship, and dedication to producing exceptional coffee beans. This unique and limited type of coffee allows consumers to experience and savor flavors, aromas, and textures that can’t be found in ordinary coffee. As microlot coffee continues to gain popularity, it pushes the coffee industry to innovate and strive for excellence, benefiting everyone involved in the process from farmers to coffee lovers.
- Roasters, D. C. (2021, November 17). What Is Microlot Coffee, and What Makes It Special? Retrieved from https://www.drivencoffee.com/blog/what-is-microlot-coffee/
- What is Microlot coffee? (n.d.). Retrieved from https://coffeebeansdelivered.com.au/blogs/news/what-is-microlot-coffee