Bringing Objective Information to the Coffee Industry
Small and medium sized roasting companies are constantly faced with the challenge of objectifying the most subjective of their raw materials; green coffee. The greatest question to any business is “am I getting value for the materials that I buy?” Unified Lab Services takes the guess work out of green coffee evaluation with a full complement of analytical coffee testing and years of experience in the industry. Further, Unified can help with product development, government regulations for OTA, and complete evaluations of existing finished products.
You can choose from our a la carte menu of services or take advantage of our comprehensive analytical packages specifically designed to provide the most relevant decision making information when you need it.
Blind evaluation of coffee:
This process will give the customer our evaluation of the quality of the green coffee based on an organoleptic scale from 1 to 100 with a detailed report on the four major aspects of cup quality (Taste, Body, Acidity and Aroma). Further, the report will give an indication of fair market value for the coffee based on current market conditions at the time of evaluation. The origin of the coffee need not be revealed to Unified by the customer as the nature of this test is to objectify the quality of the coffee based on its own merits, and not its providence.
Green bean size evaluation:
Coffee is often sold based on bean size; Unified will test for size using precision screens to determine the exact size range of the green coffee.
Moisture plays an important role in roast repeatability. If the moisture of the green bean is not within spec, then the likelihood of repeating a desired roast under the same temperature profiles will be remote. Unified uses state of the art humidity analyzers to determine the exact moisture content in green coffee.
Coffee Berry Borer and other blights can not only be damaging to the farmers harvest, they can also be disastrous to the roasters production. High calibre optical testing will determine the presence of infestation in any green coffee sample. Further, other blights, such as OTA (Ochratoxine A, a fungal infestation), can be revealed using Unified’s state of the art HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromography) evaluation.
Foreign organic compounds:
Using a Spectrophotometer, Unified can determine the presence of foreign compounds (pesticides, industrial chemicals, etc.) in or on the green beans. These compounds are usually introduced to the green beans by accident or on purpose after the processing period and before shipping to reduce the effect of coffee berry borer. Unfortunately, such practices often result in poor coffee flavour development characterized by a phynelic or metallic off taste.
Blind Evaluation of Coffee:
As with the blind evaluation of green coffees, Unified can conduct the same analysis on roasted coffee. Often, this analysis is more complex as the coffee in question may be a blend of several other coffees. The most common request for this test is to “reverse engineer” an existing blend back to its component parts. As with green coffee, this test will also report on the value of the product based on current market conditions.
The colour development of coffee is a key factor in the taste profile. Consistent roast colour, therefore, is essential in maintaining a consistent taste profile. Unified uses an Agtron E-10 to evaluate the degree of roast within the spectrum of 18 to 90, accurate to within 1/10th of a degree. Further, Unified can calibrate your roaster with various temperature samples of (Unified) selected green beans.
As with green beans, roasted coffee must fall within the parameters of proper hydration. Typically, the maximum is 4% moisture in roasted coffee, depending upon the time of year and the coffee in question. Unified performs humidity testing on any roasted coffee samples submitted for such testing.
Natural organic compound testing:
When proper chemical mapping of coffees are required, Unified offers detailed reports on the natural organic compounds available in submitted samples. These tests will reveal the amount of organic acids (furfulic, quinic, tanic, caffeine, etc.) present in a given coffee sample. While this test can be conducted on green coffees, it is suggested that the samples be in a roasted format as the roast degree will impact the quantity of the compounds in the coffee.
Using a rotap machine, Unified will evaluate samples of roasted and ground coffees with a comprehensive report outlining the results of the test. Due to the varying standards in the industry, Unified is capable of correlating results into all current standards for ease of comprehension.
Not all packaging is created equal. Unified can evaluate packaging construction as well as integrity, providing a full report on the materials used, the bonding agents as well as the efficiency of the packaging in keeping oxygen out of the internal environment. When applicable, head space tests are done on hermetically sealed fraction packed bags.
Green Coffee Evaluation (per sample)
- Blind evaluation of coffee: $180.00
- Green bean size evaluation: $35.00
- Moisture Content: $65.00
- Infestation: $65.00
- Foreign organic compounds: $120.00
- Green Evaluation Package (all of the above) $350.00
Roasted Coffee Evaluation (per sample)
- Blind evaluation of coffee: $180.00
- Roast Colouration: $35.00
- Humidity: $65.00
- Natural organic compound testing: $220.00
- Grind test: $45.00
- Packaging Evaluation: $95.00
- Roasted Coffee Evaluation Package (all of the above)$500.00
Unified Lab Services guarantees a written report no more than three (3) working days after reception of the samples. For expedited service of a written report 1 day following the reception of the samples, a 25% surcharge will apply. Reports are available either through e-mail (PDF format) or via courier (courier time added to the above time guarantees, pre-paid and billed).