For a lot of you coffee dorks out there this might seem way too obvious, but it's really not as widely know as you would think. Take one step outside the intensive third-wave coffee community and it becomes very obvious that a lot of people, coffee industry people included, just don't know too much about how coffee grows or why that's important.
Let's take wine for example, it is quite common for people to know that wine is a tedious, extremely detailed process to make an exceptional product. The common public recognizes the sommelier with respect. How strange is it then that we as baristas, shop owners, or common home drinkers have little to no knowledge or even idea of what goes on behind the scenes? I believe it is because what is unknown is often viewed as complicated or difficult to learn; how coffee is grown is quite simple fortunately.
Coffee is a fruit, coffee is seasonal.
At it's core it's really that simple. You start with a shrub, the shrub grows berries, the pit of those berries is what we call "coffee beans" (they're actually seeds), the beans are processed, dried, and shipped to coffee roasters all over the world. But, like any fruit, different countries have different harvest seasons
In the chart above (provided by the wonderful Cafe Imports) you can pretty easily see when coffee is harvested in all the coffee producing countries in the world.
Why is this important to me?
Honestly, it doesn't have to be. If you are completely fine drinking coffee the way you are, by all means. What's important is that you enjoy the coffee in your cup, and if you're game, this could help! Coffees that are considered "in season" will taste noticeably better, hands down. Coffees in season will have more distinct tasting notes, more vibrancy, and finish cleaner. Coffees out of season will over time become muted in taste, increasingly bitter, and unpleasant to drink.
Reputable roasters all over the world usually source seasonally coffees, but it never hurts to check! Most roasters readily offer this information to curious customers or follow baristas.
Need some crazy seasonally fresh coffee in your arsenal? Check out the coffees we offer in our shop and online store, they're about as fresh as it gets.