Specialty coffee is not for the faint hearted. It is not for the procrastinators, and it certainly isn’t to be lumped together with commercial coffee. A lot of thought, effort, time, and quality control goes into making specialty coffee. This section is about the story behind every bean of coffee you will drink at Thirty North.
Thirty North beans are graded as ‘specialty coffee’ by the Specialty Coffee Association (SCA) which
grades coffee on a 100 point scale. Commercial grade coffees are those that score 60 points or above, while specialty coffees are those that score 80 points or above. Specialty coffee leaves no room for defects.
• Thirty North is about exceptional Coffee- coffee that is the outcome of a specific microclimate, soil, and production process. Nothing about our specialty coffee is left to chance. From the beans all the way to the way with which your favorite Thirty North coffee is served:
• Cherry Picking: Pickers on specialty coffee farms pick only red, ripe cherries. Red cherries produce a smooth, fragrant, high quality coffee. Undeveloped & underdeveloped fruit results in the bitter taste found in some commercial grade coffee. It takes up to five years for red cherries to develop.
The coffee you drink at Thirty North comes from a bean that was planted five years ago. We’ve been expecting you!
• Sorting: Because every bean counts in delivering the exceptional coffee experience we promise at 30 North, the cherries are sorted once again using what is known as a wet process: the cherries are immersed in water, with the ripe ones sinking to the bottom, and the unripe ones floating to the top destined for elimination.
Fermentation: The skin is removed, and a controlled fermentation of sugars takes place. Fermentation is more a process of craftsmanship- an art, more than a science. Fermentation is implemented by mill managers who can tell how fermented a bean is just by touching it. Fermentation takes 24-36 hours.
• Drying: The coffee is then dried to 10-12% moisture content. Drying typically occurs in the sun,
but machinery can be used where weather does not allow for patio drying1
• Hulling: Because specialty coffee is about exceptional coffee, the coffee goes through yet another screening process to weed out imperfect coffee by hand. Can you guess what becomes of the imperfect coffee? Yes.. it is sold to commercial coffee suppliers.
• Hand Selection of Green Coffee: Green coffee is the final pre-roasting stage. As final as it may be, green coffee still goes through quality control. The green beans go through manual (and in some cases automated) selection of sub-par beans.
• To our guests, coffee preparation is where ‘grabbing a coffee’ starts and ends. To us, this is the final stage of perfecting every cup of coffee. It is the stage where we turn green beans into exceptional coffee. It is also the stage where we at 30 North admittedly like to show off our skills! This is the stage where we allow ourselves to pamper our customers.. to make them feel special. This is the stage where we at 30 North take on the role of master story tellers who bring tastes and flavors from around the world to every cup we serve at 30 North. This is the stage where we explain why a coffee is distinctive, why a consumer can taste certain notes, and hopefully our customers can see for themselves why specialty coffee takes so much work.