However, the green coffee samples can cause some confusion. What is the difference between PSS, SAS, and fresh crop samples? What should you consider as a customer or, more precisely, a roaster before purchasing these coffee samples? And what will you do after receiving them?
TYPES OF GREEN COFFEE BEANS SAMPLES (unroasted green coffee)
The samples of green beans you receive will vary depending on your purchase method. According to Christopher Feran, director at Phoenix Coffee, there are two ways to buy green coffee from an importer. One is by spot contract (spot contract), and the other is by long-term contract (forward contract).
Spot means that the coffee is already available in the country where you operate your roaster. Or where you want your coffee delivered. And you can buy coffee from importers the same way you would order from a restaurant. For this purchase method, there is only one sample. It’s a spot sample.
“Spot sample” is a term for items currently in stock when you make a purchase decision, says Christopher. That will be the same coffee bag as the samples you took.
On the other hand, a forward contract is also an agreement to buy coffee. But you won’t get the coffee right away, probably because the coffee has not been harvested and processed. Or perhaps it simply hasn’t shipped to your country yet.
According to Christopher, you’ll have between three and four different samples until you get your final selection.
Type sample (green)
This coffee sample is likely to be the same as the one you will receive. Those are usually samples harvested earlier from the factories. Type samples will usually be provided before the current harvest.
Offer sample (green)
This is a sample from the coffee currently being harvested. Importers will usually draft a contract based on the quality of these samples. At the same time, roasters will use it to know what is available for purchase.
PSS – Pre-shipment sample
This sample has been shipped to carriers in smaller quantities before shipping the entire harvest. A typical roaster will contract on this form if it purchases through an importer.
Arrival sample (green)
This sample is taken after the coffee arrives in the importing country. For a buyer, Christopher recommends evaluating this model against previous models. And then taste all three to see if the quality is still consistent.
However, these are not the only types of samples you can get. There are also fresh crop samples and SAS samples:
Fresh crop sample
Erik Stanek, Sales Specialist at Balzac Brothers. These are simply samples of the most recent harvest, he said.
SAS – subject to approval sample (coffee)
These are templates used for a particular type of contract. Importers and roasters will not agree on a specific coffee but rather the price and quality of the coffee. The SAS will then select the coffee that meets that contract. In other words, the roaster will use the SAS to approve or reject the coffee.
TYPES OF GREEN COFFEE BEANS BUY CONTRACT
Christopher explains that there are different types of contracts you can set up. Such as SAS Replace, SAS NANS, or SAS PSS.
With SAS Replace, if you don’t like the coffee you receive, it will be replaced with another coffee that the importer has. The quantity of substitute coffee will be the same quantity specified in the contract.
On the other hand, SAS NANS stands for Subject to Approval, No Approval No Sales. If you do not approve the sample, you are under no obligation to purchase it or receive any other coffee substitutes.
Finally, SAS PSS deals with situations when the contract only allows you to accept or decline coffee on a pre-delivery sample basis.
Although the fresh crop samples are purely from the current harvest, you can technically set up SAS for any crop. Fresh crops, past crops, or future crops. However, you are more likely to do it for the new or future crop.
HOW TO CHOOSE GREEN COFFEE BEANS TO SAMPLE
Know what you will use your coffee for (coffee)
Deciding which green coffee beans to sample can be as tricky as judging. Ask yourself what you are going to use the coffee for. Will the coffee be part of a blend or feature features like single origin? Will you roast them to make espresso or filter coffee?
Erik says it’s essential to know how you will use your coffee before sampling and buying it. Because this will affect all your decisions, knowing the intended use will also help you decide how much you can afford. Based on what you expect to charge for it and how much your running costs will be. Remember, if you’re buying a single-origin seasonal coffee, you should be looking at coffees that vary widely in quality, quantity, and price.
Know what customers want
Christopher also says it’s essential to keep customer expectations in mind. Favourite coffee, taste preferences, etc. This is an aesthetic choice, not an ethical one. So do whatever makes sense for your business.
Not sure where to start? Or are you always confused between options? Erik recommends calling an importer. Most importers are more than happy to help a roaster. Especially beginner roasters. To help them through that process, understand what kind of coffee they might need to buy.
It helps a lot to take the time to learn about the importer. See if their values align with your business. And in addition, do they understand your business or not. This can help you build a long-term business.
WHAT TO DO AFTER RECEIVING YOUR SAMPLE
Sample analysis of green coffee beans
Once your samples have arrived, it’s time to analyze them. Christopher says the first thing he will do is study physics. He graded green coffee beans according to SCA standards, analyzed moisture content and water activity index, and placed the beans under a black light to look for defects. Erik also recommends carefully checking the coffee for defects.
Sample roasting (coffee beans)
Next is roasting the sample green coffee beans. Christopher says if you don’t know how to get a sample, ask your importer. Chances are, they might want to roast it for you and will burn it properly. He said he’s seen many roasters turn down premium coffees because, in some ways, their roast hasn’t been calibrated with the importer.
Finally, it’s time to separate the sample. Both Christopher and Erik recommend cups of coffee with other references. Also, don’t allow yourself to be influenced by your favourite level. Ask yourself if it’s the coffee you’re looking for and how it would fit into your menu.
Provide information for importers of green coffee beans sample
Christopher also recommends providing your scores and notes to the importing party, in addition to your final decision. He says very few roasters do this. But knowing what you’re looking for and what you think about green coffee beans can be helpful for importers.
STORE MANAGEMENT & MENU SELECTION FOR GREEN COFFEE BEANS SAMPLE
As a new buyer, it is straightforward to misplace the quantity of some coffees. Christopher emphasizes the need to know how much you’ve ordered in advance to avoid the coffee sitting in stock for too long. And that leads to possible storage charges as well as damage. Meticulously plan and note down how much coffee you need for each green coffee bean. This simple practice can help you avoid this.
There’s a lot to think about when ordering samples. However, do not forget that your importer is always ready to help you. Don’t be afraid to call or ask questions. They are more than happy to help people with any questions. Try to make friends with an importer; they will help you.
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