In sourcing our Reserve Lots traceability and quality are focused on just as much as when sourcing our seasonal offerings. Seasonality and purpose, on the other hand, are thrown out the window.
Quality is first and foremost when selecting our reserve lots. Most of these coffees are 90+ scoring coffees. Simply put, these are some of the best coffees in the world. This, of course, means that we are paying a premium for these coffees.
Beyond quality, we are selecting these coffees based on a whole separate set of “purpose” criteria. These coffees are selected because they:
- are of a level of quality that simply cannot be ignored,
- are a prime example of Terroir, variety or processing
- are really unique.
We take seasonality out of the equation by adding an incredibly time consuming step in between buying the coffee and roasting the coffee. When the coffee comes into our warehouse we re-package the green (raw, unroasted) coffee into smaller, vacuum sealed units. We then place these smaller units into freezer storage until we are ready to roast it. This process halts the water activity taking place inside the raw coffee as well as retards the low level maillard reactions that would take place in non-frozen raw coffee and completely stalls the aging process. This process was first (and still is) practiced by freshness-pioneer and specialty coffee guru George Howell.
The initial expense of the coffees and the processing steps taken in-house make for a more expensive finished product. To us, however, these Reserve Lots offer a chance to taste remarkable coffees regardless of the time of year. They are almost as much an education tool as they are an amazing taste experience. These coffees will not be purchased to ‘fill out a menu.’ At times we may have many on our offering menu, at other times we may only have one or two, and sometimes we may even have none at all. That is to say, these are not the mainstays of our menu. Rather, they are a way we can present coffees to our customers that were - in our opinion - too wonderful not to taste.