Why We're the Best Single Origin Specialty Coffee. – Spirit Animal Coffee

What makes Spirit Animal
Coffee Special?

Spirit Animal Blog

We get asked this question a lot: “Is your coffee organic?”
Yes, it is.

“What about fair trade? Is it fair trade?”
Yep, and then some. (We pay our farmers way more than what the fair-trade associations prescribe.)

These are the more common labels, and most of you know what they mean.

But our coffee is also:

Coffee properties

Lots of hyphens and Latin-sounding words, right?
Let’s have a quick look at what they mean. And, most importantly, what benefits they bring you.

The “specialty coffee” label is not some fancy marketing stunt. To be graded as specialty, coffee has to comply with rules that define its origin and its farming practices.

It has to come from Arabica beans, be strictly hand-picked, score 80 points or higher on the cupping scale, and much more.

If you’re just dipping your toes into the specialty coffee world, head over to this article to learn more about it.

Specialty coffee

Climate and land have a big impact on the coffee’s flavor. Beans from one region might be sweet and fruity, while another region might produce nuttier flavors.

To meet the market demand, commercial coffee brands source beans from all over the place. But this blending ruins the flavor complexity.

Single-origin coffee, on the other hand, is sourced from a single region. This way, its main trait—its story, if you will—come through with every sip.

But beware of single-origin tags like “100% Guatemala”. Sure, it comes from the same country, but did it all grow on the shady side of the hill? Was it all farmed at 5,000ft above sea level? Or did some of it come from lower-standing farms, close to the sea breeze?

This is where you’ll find the difference between a “100% [country]” label and the real deaL.

When coffee is grown on a single farm, protected under the shade of the same trees, harvested the same day, and processed together as

one lot, we call it a micro lot.

Naturally, these coffees are very limited. But they bring out the best flavors and qualities. No wonder why our micro-lot beans consistently score 90+ points on the cupping scale.

Which brings us to the next bumper sticker.

Micro-lot

We said that coffee has to score 80 points or higher on the cupping appraisal to get the specialty ribbon.

So 90 points is just a tad better than 80, right?

Not that elementary, Watson.

Going from 80 to 90 is not a linear progression. The higher up the scale, the more exponentially difficult it becomes for coffee to achieve such consistency in flavor, acidity, body, and overall balance. Because even the slightest taint of something not quite can set the sample back by 10 points.

That’s why coffee that scores 80 points is great, but its flavor and quality will be closer to commercial-grade coffee.

And a world apart from the 90-point cup.

High-altitude air contains less oxygen. That’s why coffees farmed at 5,000 feet will struggle to produce the energy they need to grow.

But there’s a silver lining.

The slow formation will allow more nutrients to develop in the coffee cherry, resulting in much more depth and flavor complexity.

High elevation

Coffee plants aren’t big sunbathers. Shade-grown coffee is richer in taste and nutrients than its sun-grown cousin.

It’s also a question of sustainable farming.
Shade-grown coffee farms integrate
more trees instead of cutting them down.
In turn, this helps fight erosion and
loss of soil nutrients

Shade-grown

Acids are naturally present in coffee. However, the degree of acidity will vary a lot depending on the micro-climate and the farming practices.

Commercial coffee brands will treat the coffee to reduce its acidity, making it more appealing to the more sensitive folks. These coffee beans are called treated low-acid.

We took a more sustainable path. Our coffees are low-acidity not because we treat them, but because we grow them at high-altitudes which makes them naturally less acidic. This is also known as inadvertent low-acid coffee.

Industrial coffee farming uses machines to harvest their coffee cherried because it speeds up production and reduces costs.

But no gimmick can recognize the difference between a perfectly ripe and an unripe cherry. So what you get in your bag of supermarket coffee is a mix of cherries and would-bes.

Mycotoxins are harmful byproducts of mold. There are many types of mycotoxins, but the one that seems most relevant to coffee is called Ochratoxin.

This nasty compound has been found as the culprit behind many diseases like cancer, brain damage, and kidney failure.

The fastest way to keep mycotoxins at bay is to use fungicides. But it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that the cure is worse than the disease, in this case.

We keep mycotoxins and mold away naturally: by hand-washing and hand-processing.

Oh, and there’s one more thing.

Our finishing touch

The standard supply chain entails shipping green beans from the producing country and roasting it only once it has reached the destination.

So before coffee reaches the roasting facility, it spends weeks in humid ship containers: a perfect spot for mold growth.

We turned this thing around.

We roast our coffee beans on-premise and bag them immediately. This quick step between careful hand-selection and immediate roasting ensures that all our coffees are mycotoxin- and mold-free, without relying on chemicals. Once it’s packed, we ship it by air freight,
so it reaches the destination in a few hours. Freshly roasted, nicely-sealed, and mycotoxin-free.

Spirit animal coffee

FAQS

I am a bit sensitive when it comes to coffee acidity. Is your coffee low-acid?

It is but not because we treat it. It’s naturally low in acidity because it’s grown in high altitudes and under the shade of taller trees. Have you seen the other labels, too?

Check other labels

What are mycotoxins?

Mycotoxins are harmful byproducts of mold. This nasty compound has been the culprit behind many diseases like cancer, brain damage, and kidney failure. Normally, you’d fight it with fungicides. But there’s a smarter way to deal with it.

How?

You’re the only one who ships their coffee by air to the US. Why?

Because we found the “usual” way to be detrimental, both for your coffee’s quality and your health. We covered this topic in one of our articles, if you care to read more.

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