Growing coffee is a lengthy process, taking an average of 4 years from seed to harvest. For this reason, there has been extensive investigative and experimental input by the buyer, grower or both, to produce a coffee with such unique characteristics. These coffees are harvested from a particular plot of land, band of altitude and processed in a separate way from the rest of the coffee from the farm, to amplify their special qualities. These coffees are not only unique in quality and flavors, but are also unique in availability. Because these microlots are often grown with great purpose and intent, they produce a smaller amount than an ordinary harvest, creating a kind of “limited edition” coffee. This process not only allows us access to exceptional coffees, but also benefits the farmers and producers of these beans. Without a direct connection of exporter, buyer or roasters to the farmers, their carefully grown and picked beans would be added to a co-op, blended out and bought at commercial price. When a farmer grows microlot coffees, they have an opportunity to step outside of the barriers of industry pricing and sell their beans at a higher price, allowing them to reinvest and grown in their own community.
MICROLOT COFFEE IS THE PURPOSEFUL STUDY OF THE INNOVATIVE PROCESS BY A FARMER to use, grow and preserve coffee trees in an environmentally and socially sensitive way. A micro lot coffee is harvested in a similar way to conventional coffee, but grows from an individual tree rather than a group of trees. A microlot tree is smaller than the conventional farm harvest size, however it is not smaller in size than standard coffee. In contrast to a conventional coffee harvest where the same tree is harvested continuously from harvesting until the last cut, the cultivation and processing of a microlot is a continuous process beginning with a seedling, to full harvesting and blending, to dried roasting, to barrelling and finally retail price.
A microlot coffee contains an extra amount of sweetness than a conventional coffee and coffee harvest due to the more limited production area. The flavor profile of a microlot coffee is strongly influenced by the genetic makeup of the farmers or co-op. While conventional coffee typically exhibits a sweet taste, a microlot coffee may develop a mellow, buttery or oily flavor that is distinctive to the unique cultivar(s) from which it was grown. Microlot coffee is not generally processed by roaster to the same degree as a standard farm coffee, due to the fact that the crop is selected from a smaller area and if conditions are adequate, harvests can also be more profitable. The specialty coffee industry has a duty to ensure that the community of farmers are involved with the value they produce. And while some microlot producers are interested in obtaining additional yield by over roasting or barrelling, there are many who simply want to continue producing and enjoying a quality product. The benefit of microlot coffee and the innovative approach by the growers to improve its quality by using such a small plot of land is exemplified in the product. While an advanced tasting sample of our most recent harvest of Microlot Coffee, which contains 22 coffees and 3 tins, may only offer a flavor impression of what the coffee could taste like in a vintage version, the inherent quality and features of the product are likely to be in the taste profile.
For decades coffee has been produced from many different types of coffee seeds. With the switch to coffee of superior quality, new methods of harvesting and processing have developed. Furthermore, the specific kind of land can lead to unique processing qualities, each with their own characteristics that have developed over the years. Some varieties are prolific, growing anywhere from 10-15 acres at a time. Others do not grow much at all. The way a farmer raises his crops (field, orchard) influences the specific kind of bean they produce. Therefore, a microlot is a specific kind of land, with specific cultivar (plant) and climate characteristics. (See definition of a microlot below.) In the United States the word microlot has also been applied to specific climate, soil, climate zone or other characteristics of a specific region or coffee land area. There are even sub-types of microlot coffee. A small corner of a plantation can produce a unique style of coffee when grown from individual coffee seeds. And a particular microlot farm can be full of varieties with distinctive characteristics, that can produce entirely different coffees than other microlot farms around it.