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Buying the big bag
BoldJava

Quote

EddieDove wrote:

Quote

BoldJava wrote:

Anyone that does has last year's crop, I assume. The Poco Fundo just cleared customs.

B|Java


How do you know that?


I assume, not know, who has what on the shelf. I know its arrival - public info from Royal's NYC site, "Org Brazil, FT, Poco Fundo, just arrived."

http://www.royaln...rSheet.pdf

As well, the cupper at GCBC jumped on it and they all just posted results from Friday's (12/12) cupping.

B|Java
Edited by BoldJava on 12/14/2008 6:18 PM
http://sidewalkmy...
Dave Borton
Milwaukee, WI
coffee queen
I want some...

cq
are you buying a feww BIG bags B Java?

cq
BoldJava

Quote

coffee queen wrote:
I want some...

cq
are you buying a feww BIG bags B Java?

cq


No mas, no more. I left buying the big bags to the younger gents. Tossing 132/150 lb bags, 700-1000 per distribution total got "old" when the neighbor youth joined the Army and the other one went to college. My L4/L5 sings to me, mainly off key.

I moved on to distributing Yama vacpots at cost. 3-4 lbs per box <grins>. More my speed. I can recommend the two volunteer groups out there. I have a stash that says each of these is good:

http://greencoffe...ngclub.com
http://greencoffe...

B|Java
Edited by BoldJava on 12/16/2008 5:25 PM
http://sidewalkmy...
Dave Borton
Milwaukee, WI
seedlings
Hmmm... I wonder if it's the height of arrogance and toe-stepping-on to suggest we might be able to support a coop of sorts here?

CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
dBndbit
No reason why not. But I think "remote" co-ops like GCBC and GCC are an order of magnitude more difficult to run than a local co-op. A remote co-op has to handle a lot of money from strangers without falling into a law suit, and double-ship, and have enough people agree on what beans to buy so that all the coffee gets sold. Seems like a tricky juggling act. But obviously it can be done!

I'll add my excuse to BJ's proactively. I'll probably throw out my L4/L5 hauling the two bags I'm buying on Thursday.
Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
BoldJava

Quote

dBndbit wrote:
No reason why not. But I think "remote" co-ops like GCBC and GCC are an order of magnitude more difficult to run than a local co-op. A remote co-op has to handle a lot of money from strangers without falling into a law suit, and double-ship, and have enough people agree on what beans to buy so that all the coffee gets sold. Seems like a tricky juggling act. But obviously it can be done!


I had Invalsa ship me a 1/2 bag via FedEx. Great price. It worked out fine. Shipping cost was not unreasonable. They gave me an estimate up front and it was spot on.

If anyone wants to wade into the water, this is a superb Bolivian coffee: Nakhaki Aymara. It goes for ~$3.50/lb for half bag (66 lbs). Anyone close to Boston and care to distribute? If not, costs about $32 to ship it 1000 miles. It is going on a year now so they may be ready to drop prices. I would wait for the new crop.

http://home.inval...prices.htm
http://www.invals...3_60_74_80

If someone wants to commit to it, I would be glad to walk you through a distribution process. I can pull out the cupping notes from it and the Kantati (the Kantati is superb as well:http://www.invals...h=43_83_98

B|Java
Edited by seedlings on 12/16/2008 9:47 PM
http://sidewalkmy...
Dave Borton
Milwaukee, WI
seedlings
Hey, Jim... it would be great to read a log of what you did, who you called, what the bribe was, if you felt silly parked next to semi trucks to load... that stuff. Any DIY articles in waiting?

I'm just waiting for a reliable, indoor roaster to take shape in my garage. After that, I will likely jump into a big bag of something chocolaty, syrupy, and relatively inexpensive, maybe a Huehue.

B|Java, I did 33 pounder of Invalsa's AA bird-friendly, and it was nice. Not fantastic, but, for the price, very tasty.

CHAD
Edited by seedlings on 12/16/2008 9:57 PM
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
BoldJava

Quote

seedlings wrote:

B|Java, I did 33 pounder of Invalsa's AA bird-friendly, and it was nice. Not fantastic, but, for the price, very tasty.

CHAD


Invalsa was easy to work with via phone and then I met them when we went to New Brunswick via Boston this summer. Good people.

I ordered AAA, A4 samples (found the AAA better in the cup), as well as about 4 of their special lots to begin (outstanding). They credited all those to my first bulk purchase. Down the road, I have cupped many of their national jury beans -- there are some stellar ones in there.

My big takeaway from that effort is how the top shelf beans of Bolivian are extremely distinct from the tons of generic Bolivians (and Pervians) that are out there. The care and particularity given to the processing of the bean really stands out on their national jury beans. It put a whole new face on Bolivian coffee for me and now I would say Bolivians are my single origin favorite?



B|Java
Edited by BoldJava on 12/18/2008 6:39 AM
http://sidewalkmy...
Dave Borton
Milwaukee, WI
dBndbit
I have the beans! Nice drive, nice people, big warehouse, lots of beans, no problems.

This is a long post, sorry. But as Chad requested, I'm telling all to make the process of buying bulk coffee less mysterious and more accessible to anybody and everybody. I'm not a coffee expert or professional, just an ordinary dumb coffee hobbyist. If I can do it, anybody can.

1. I contacted the importer both by e-mail and phone and made sure they were happy selling just what I could use: one bag of caf and one bag of decaf. I also made sure it would be allright to pick it up myself. And I asked for an e-mail of their current offerings from the warehouse in my area. I know from past experience that websites may not have the latest info. I live in MD, the warehouse is on Staten Island, NJ. So I'm looking at a 400 mile round trip.

2. They e-mailed their weekly offering sheet the next day and I picked nine beans that sounded good. The importer said they normally gave up to five 8oz samples free but for nine they would charge me $25. I opted for sampling all nine. (big spender) Trying all of their long list of FT beans was not practical, but I did think about it and wished I could have somehow.

3. The nine 8oz samples arrived one week later and I started a long process of roasting and tasting. I felt it was important to taste the coffees after they had rested for as much as two weeks post-roast to know how the coffee would survive in the normal home environment.

4. Almost made one of the big mistakes mentioned by BoldJava. I almost lost track of the batch numbers. They weren't listed on the weekly offering sheets or the shipping documents. But they were on the individual envelope stickers and on a card in each envelope so I have no excuses. There were a few moments of confusion in getting the cards into the containers after roasting but I caught my stupidity just in time to prevent ruining the whole effort.

5. This is definitely the fun part. I've been tasting for 7 days now, taking notes and zeroing-in on my favorites. It would have been good to get 1# of each but 8oz is working out OK. Buying 1# is what I'm used to doing with the on-line green bean resellers. The changes in flavor and aroma are very apparent over a week's rest. Most of the lower-rated samples have generally improved, but also some of the bright fruit tastes in the higher-rated beans have diminished. I feel I have a very good idea now what I like and how to roast and brew them. Coffee beans are very individual things. But with flexible roast procedures and flexible brewing methods it's possible to get the most out of any bean.

6. I picked two bags, a New Guinea A FT ($2.57) and a Mexican Chiapas FT decaf ($3.25). I e-mailed the sales person to make sure the two were still available. I noticed on their weekly offering sheets that the quantities were slowly dropping. We agreed I could pick up the bags in three days. She e-mailed me an invoice with the actual bag weights and price. No pre-payment required.

7. I drove to the warehouse (today). The salesperson introduced me to some of the office crew, offered me some fine brewed coffee, showed me an antique Jabez Burns sample roaster, and swiped my credit card. We went to the warehouse where my bags were all ready for me laying tagged on a pallet. With the warehouse guy's help we dropped the bags into my pickup truck. They were big and heavy (surprise) but they were easier to handle than I thought. No problem. I have an open bed, no cover. Since rain was threatening I brought some heavy-duty (3mil) plastic bags. And together we slipped the plastic over the burlap. My bags were the 42 gal size. Plenty big enough for the job. But it would have been better to buy the 55 gal bags to have more bag left to close the top with the cheap wire ties. And even thicker plastic would have been good too. Cheap protection.

8. The trip home was uneventful. I had no trouble getting the bags into the house with my hand truck, but it would definitely have been better done with two people. Next time I will call a friend. My trip took all day. And I spent a total of $60 on gas and tolls. (I took some apples, sodas, and a sandwich.) But the salesperson said it would have cost at least $225 to ship the bags to my zip code, even with their shipper discounts. So my day of driving saved $160 on the deal. The final shipping cost for 264 pounds of beans was 23 cents/lb instead of 85 cents. I think I'll take BoldJava's advice and get some Tupperware bins for storage.

9. Tomorrow I roast!!!!!!!
This was much easier and more fun than I had thought. I would definitely do this again.

Lessons learned:

Where are the importers?
It's not easy to find a list of importers. I have a short list from reading internet forums, searching the web, going to a coffee trade show (Coffee Fest) and reading Roast magazine. And I mean short list as in sparse, not as in a selected few from a longer list. My list is on my website on the Coffee page. But there's also a long list of importers on the TransFairUSA website sorted by state or name. Their focus is naturally on fair trade suppliers, but most if not all of the listed importers carry both fair trade and non-certified beans. Another good list is provided by Lucid Cafe. Note that many importers have warehouses in major coffee port locations other than their listed home-office location.

Bean Sample Selection:
After getting more advice from experienced people I realize I could probably have done better in my sample selection process. If you're only buying two bags and $800 seems like a huge amount of money, you want them to be the best available coffees. And you don't want to find out later that you never even tried an offering that was a 90+ SuperBean. But there are so many choices!!! How do I pick just a few beans to sample out of hundreds?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to find reviews of all available beans at any particular importer. The coverage is very spotty and sparse. And comparisons between reviews of one bean from one cupper with another bean review by another cupper can be less than helpful. I'm always suspicious of reviews from importers or resellers who are naturally hoping I will buy what they sell. Unfortunately, if not the most reliable, the importers are the most complete and comparable source of info on their own products. So how to choose?

I don't think there is a good way. In the end we just have to gather as much info as we can and make our best guesses. So next time I plan to do it like this... First get all the cupping notes I can from the importer to get a general idea of which beans I might like. Second, do a lot of searching online for reviews of each of those specific offerings plus any others that happen to turn up. Most online forums allow searching the posts Third, pick a small group of beans to sample and pick favorites. I would never buy 132 pounds of any bean I haven't tasted myself. Personally I just can't aford it.
Edited by dBndbit on 12/16/2009 10:24 AM
Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
seedlings
s:1You've outdone yourself, Jim! s:2

This inspires me and I'm sure the whole lot of us are hastily researching to see what is within driving distance. I'm exceptionally fortunate to be 55 miles from a warehouse, and even more fortunate that my work brings me to that area frequently... i.e. free gas, and the loss of lunch break time = $0 shipping charges!

I'm surprised you settled on a Papua New Guinea, but you've done such a thorough job that bliss is the only next step.

Oh, I'm guessing that your $/lb includes your travel cost.

Thanks again!
CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
dBndbit
Chad, the prices are just for the coffee. $2.57 for the caf, $3.25 for the decaf. Personally I like the two Ethiopians I sampled. But I went with the PNG because the church crowd is not always appreciative of a fruity coffee. They like the deep mellow types. And Nicole was able to give me some good info on the PNG source.

Edward, I use more grind per 16oz mug than you mentioned, and more mugs per day. But you're right, even then it doesn't add up to a big bag. My wife and I use about 20# of caf and 75# of decaf per year. Buying big bags only makes sense because I donate a lot of coffee at my church making Sunday morning coffee for the crowd. I estimate the two bags will last just about a year.

Are you talking about ounces of volume or weight? There's a big difference.

I was thinking that knowing how to purchase direct would allow more homeroasters to start-up their own local area co-ops with only 3-4 people or more. My plan is to look for some other homeroasters in MD that might also want to try splitting big bags. Also we've tried getting local commercial roasters to cook-up big batches to sell at the church as a fund-raiser. Initial trials have shown that there's a big potential demand for good coffee. Plus we only do fair trade which adds another motivation.
Edited by dBndbit on 12/19/2008 6:44 PM
Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
dBndbit
I'm a determined individualist. What's right is what tastes good to you. Dang everybody else!

Having said that, if you're using 1oz-weight for 20oz-volume water that gives you about 7g/5oz-volume. Most store-shelf labels recommend 1-2tbsp/5oz which is about 2.5-5g/5oz. Official cupping is (I think, please correct me) usually done with 20g/5-6oz. I normally make mine at about 5-7g, so your brew sounds pretty good to me.

Big Bag Status:
I took BoldJava's advice and bought a stack of plastic storage tubs, class-5 PP. Each of the 132# bags fit comfortably in seven 15qt (14 liter) tubs. Each tub holds about 19#. So the average volume of 132# bags is 26 gallons (99 liters).
dBndbit attached the following image:
RoyalNY-PNG-Chiapas-2008-12-crop453[1142].jpg

Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
dBndbit

Quote

Having said that, if you're using 1oz-weight for 20oz-volume water that gives you about 7g/5oz-volume. Most store-shelf labels recommend 1-2tbsp/5oz which is about [4.5-9g/5oz corrected]. Official cupping is (I think, please correct me) usually done with 20g/5-6oz. I normally make mine at about 5-7g, so your brew sounds pretty good to me.


You guys are letting me down, not keeping an eye on me spouting off about brewing. Nobody corrected my math, so I'll try to get it right this time.

Sorry Edward, my numbers above are trash.
1oz(weight) = 28.4g
1oz(volume) =~ 8-9g (same as two tbsp)

I don't have the official SCAA cupping protocols but all the experts online (Coffee Review, Coffee Research, Sweet Maria's, etc.) all agree on cupping at 2 level tbsp (1oz volume) per 5-6oz cup. That would be about 9g/5-6oz cup. I believe (but am not positive) the SCAA protocols actually specify 10g rather than some volume that represents some average weight.
Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
bvwelch
Hey Jim I didn't wanna get in trouble for getting off-topic but here goes --

A fellow homeroaster suggested 1.25 grams of coffee per 1.0 fluid ounces of water as a starting point. Since it is easy to remember I use that. Easy enough to make sure the amount of water I use, is a multiple of 4 fluid ounces. Keeps the math simple and tastes pretty good too.

-bill

seedlings
What size containers are those, Jim?

CHAD
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
dBndbit
Chad,
The containers are 15 quarts (14 liters) and they have lids that make contact all around to keep any wandering bugs out. Sterilite ClearView at my local Target. Any idea what class-5 "PP" recycling plastic is? Polypropylene? Whatever it is it's the same as most of my drinking cups.

Bill,
I wonder how many people are like me in that I just get used to how much I overfill three scoops to make my 16oz mug taste the way I like it? Lazy science.
Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
cfsheridan
Jim,

Congratulations on a successful run. I've bought a bunch of coffee from that vendor, and I'm envious that you were able to get up there. I'll have to convince the Mrs. that we should visit friends in NYC (which of course is an excuse to drop by some of the vendors there).

I remember the first bags I bought, and it was much easier than I expected. The hardest part at first was wading through all the samples I requested. Most (not all) of the specialty green coffee vendors are more than happy to sell you a sack. They are even more willing to work with you on samples once you've purchased bags. I can think of only one or two vendors that have made things difficult (want lots of bags committed to get samples, etc.). Of course, having Dave chime in to help my learning curve was a great asset too.

chad
dBndbit
Post Script - one year later.

Those containers have worked great! (Thanks, BJ) I'm just now getting down to the end of the beans and, as far as I can tell, the coffee has hardly changed at all. The Chiapas decaf still tastes exactly the same. And the PNG caf also tastes the same with possibly some of it's rough edges muted only a tiny bit. I'm amazed.

I had a whole year of great coffee and plenty of time to tweak the roasting and brewing to get it right. This is not a bad way to enjoy great fair trade beans at a price that's also fair to consumers (me).

Staten Island, here I come!

Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
seedlings
Did you ever supplement with some other origins for variety?

CHAD
Edited by seedlings on 12/16/2009 1:06 PM
Roaster: CoffeeAir II 2# DIY air roaster
Grinder: Vintage Grindmaster 500
Brewers: Vintage Cory DCU DCL, Aeropress, Press, Osaka Titanium pourover
dBndbit
I did supplement it with some very good Ethiopian Yirg Koke from our Coffee Kids Auction. And I also just did a big-group party involving the local (DC) Guatemalan support group that requested I pick a few good Guat FT offerings and homeroast them. That was impossible to turn down.

So I cheated. So sue me. I love this hobby!
Jim
11 years old... forever!
ReeferDoor.com
>home-built roasters and fair trade
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