Quakers: "Defective coffee beans that fail to roast properly, remaining stubbornly light-colored."
Recently, I was talking to a customer about our beans and the subject of quakers came up. Now, having some experience with Quakers as one of my closest friends was a Quaker School Headmaster, I was at first confused by the question. That's because as much I I'd like you to think I breathe and drink coffee 24/7, my mind often makes associations that have nothing to do with coffee at all...
So as you might infer from the title of this post, one bad quaker can spoil the whole bunch. The particular question this customer was asking is if we have a quaker problems and if so, how do we eliminate them from the bags of beans we deliver to your door. The answer is quite simple.
It starts with the essential premises of our business. First are the beans we buy which are the highest quality available on the world market. This means that non-uniform and defective beans are rarely found in the hundreds of pounds (and millions of beans) of coffee we roast each week and therefor, don't find their way into your coffee.
Second, we are a small batch artisan roasters and in fact, the "we" is somewhat of a misnomer since it is me that roasts, inspects and cups (samples) each batch of coffee going out the door of Mighty Good. Catching quakers is a simple task of paying attention to the beans as they come out of the roaster and spin in the cooling tray. In a batch of 25 pounds, the maximum we can roast at a time, it's actually possible to see the quakers, which are very light in color, go by as the beans fall from the drum into the tray. It's then a simple matter of picking them out before they have the chance of going into the packing process.
The final factor is that a few beans get trapped in the tryer of our roaster during the 15 minutes of so that each roast takes. The tryer is the wooden handled scoop that allows me to pull a few beans out during the roasting and inspect them, or just show them to people who stop by. Invariably, a few beans get stuck in the tryer and when the roast is finished, I simply clean it out after all the roasted beans have be put away so that quakers go into the trash and not your coffee.
The end result? Quakerless and better tasting coffee in your cup.
Have a question about your coffee? E-mail me at:
I'll do my best to answer here on the blog or through a personal e-mail.