Coffee is a seasonal crop. It always has been, but according to a recent article in Bloomberg, some in the coffee industry are just beginning to realize "Seasonal Coffee" can mean more than Cold Brew in the summer and the late August arrival of Pumpkin Spiced Latte. It can also refer to the beans themselves.
At Coffee by the Roast, we've been talking about seasonal coffees for years. Our blog post history is full of articles like, "'Tis the Season for Indonesians." and we often talk about the season when introducing new coffees. Whether because of the Bloomberg article, or because of advertisements, some of you have asked us about seasonal coffee, if we have it and whether it makes a difference. Here's our roaster's take on Seasonal Coffee.
"All coffee is seasonal, but being "In season" doesn't affect the quality of the brewed cup. It's more a matter of availability. Some green coffees, like those of Brazil and Colombia, are available all year with little variation in quality, but others, like micro-lot coffees or good Kona, are only available for a short time before the supply runs out. It makes sense for a roaster to buy rare coffees as soon as they're available, but since properly stored green coffee remains at its best 9-12 months, and a good roaster can tell when the beans are beginning to fade, you don't have to wait for your favorite coffee to come into season."
No one should pay extra for a coffee labeled "seasonal," but it's fun to try coffees as they become available. That's why we let you know when we're expecting new coffees. Summer is the season for the coffees of Mexico, Central America and Northern Africa. Some, like Organic Mexico Chiapas, Organic Guatemala Gaya'b and Costa Rica Monte Crisol, are already here. We're expecting Panama Boquete and the new crop Ethiopian coffees soon. We'll let you know when they get here.
We love answering your questions. Please keep sending them. Thanks!
~ Carrie, Paul and all of us at Coffee by the Roast