How transport can
influence coffee quality:
Building the case.

How can transport influence the quality of the coffee? This question has been looming in the back of our minds for quite some time. Trabocca’s Quality Supervisor, Cerianne Bury, immersed into “the black box of coffee quality” and gave us a Q-graders perspective in April of this year.

She talks about the pleasant surprises and let downs during cuppings. How a pre-shipment can differ from an arrival sample. And, she introduces our coffee transport conditions research project led by our Coffee Quality intern, Tristan Arts.

Tristan shares Cerianne’s curiosity when it comes to the effect that transport can have on coffee. In January, Tristan set out to find answers to the many mysteries that cloak the field of coffee transport.

Why we started the transport
conditions project

The investigation is part of Tristan’s Bachelor of science thesis. Through research, Tristan seeks to give us valuable insights into the unexplored terrains of coffee transport. And with these answers, we could start to eliminate surprises at the cupping table.

We could also start to clarify why coffee quality differs from pre-shipment to spot sample. And, even pose solutions that can preserve quality overseas and in storage. But first, Tristan starts where all good research projects start, with literature.

Building the case for the coffee transport conditions project

Author: Tristan Arts

I have read a lot of different articles relating to green coffee. For instance, aging, shipment, packaging, warehousing, and shelf life research papers. After investigating these, I could develop a more specific research question and method.

But first, I would like to share some insight into my thinking and research set-up by sharing 6 points that influenced me in formulating our method.

The 6 points that developed the research method

  • During shipment, the temperature can affect the moisture content of green coffee beans. Because coffee is hygroscopic and contains water, drastic temperature changes can result in condensation inside the container. The “sweating of the bean”, so to speak.
  • Depending on the type of container, the lining of the container, and type of packaging that is used for storing the coffee, the effect of condensation can lead to the development of moulds and ochratoxin A. Which can have a negative effect on your health.
  • Delay in processing shows growth of moulds and ochratoxin A. in green coffee beans. This delay also results in a lower to poor cup quality. But whether if moulds, that grows during transport, have the same effect on cup quality has not been investigated yet.
  • The type of packaging and the use of modified atmosphere packaging can have positive and/or negative influence on the quality of coffee beans during storage. For instance, the difference between a jute packaging, that has no protection, or a vacuum pack.
  • Climate controlled and ambient (non-climate controlled) storage in the warehouse also have an impact on the quality of the coffee. This is in direct relation to the type of packaging and/or modified atmosphere packaging that is being used.
  • Storing coffee in parchment shows great benefits to the sensorial and chemical quality of green coffee beans over a longer period.

Collecting data,
revealing the results

The 6 points, mentioned above, have formed the research method for this project. The method will supply data on transport conditions and the influence of different types of green coffee packaging.

Download the Transport Conditions Thesis

Want to read all the specific details, materials and methods, results, discussion, and conclusions of the Transport Conditions Project? Then download the whole thesis here. And, keep an eye out on our website because we will continue to discover more about the packaging, transportation, and the storage of green coffee.