What are micro lot coffees?

green beans

Each year, farmers in coffee growing regions around the world witness a range of quality variations across the crops they produce. During the harvesting season, farmers begin to notice that certain sections of their crop contain higher quality coffee than the rest. It is these sections that are known as ‘micro-lots’. They are the cream of the crop (quite literally!), and as a result are desired by green bean buying specialists the world over. We asked our green buying specialist Moshe Tawil why he is travelling the world in search of these superior coffees and buys them direct from the farmer.

How do micro-lots develop at farms and what do farmers do to cultivate them?

There are a number of environmental influences and farming practices that can cause a micro-lot to form. Factors such as the quality of the soil, availability of the shade and selectivity of picking can cause certain areas of the overall crop to produce higher quality green beans. Though these areas cannot be predicted from year to year, farmers are continually on the lookout for potential micro-lots within their crop. Once located, these micro-lots are treated with special care and are harvested and processed separately from the remainder of the crop. The superior quality of the resulting coffee can be attributed to these exceptional farming practices.

Why are micro-lots so important for Di Bella Coffee?

For Di Bella Coffee, beans from high quality micro-lots are the main component in a range of our specialty blends. This is why we actively seek direct trade relationships with growers in farming regions that can offer coffee of such a high standard. By being committed to ongoing research and pursuing fruitful trading partnerships with coffee farmers around the world, Di Bella Coffee can ensure that only the highest quality coffee makes it from the crop to your cup.

What is the benefit of Crop to Cup direct trade versus brokers or Fair Trade for a farmer wanting to sell his micro-lot harvest?

The Crop to Cup philosophy is about building direct relationships with coffee-growing communities, and empowering them to work with us, rather than for us. With an ‘educate, not dictate’ approach, Crop to Cup acts locally: working with farmers to identify opportunities and implementing changes that will not only improve the quality of green beans, but the quality of life for those who produce them.

The Crop to Cup program was established in response to an appeal directly from the farmers themselves to move towards a collaborative relationship with roasters and end users. In my opinion it opens the channels of communication and support, while at the same time allowing coffee growers to take ownership of their success and drive their own development. It is also a program the directly rewards excellence in crop cultivation and ultimately leads to a better quality coffee in your cup.

Anil Kapur
Anil Kapur