Eating seasonal foods is a trend that has been gaining popularity in recent years. It stands to reason that food sourced locally and eaten in its harvest season is more flavoursome and higher in nutrients (and certainly cheaper) than imported or out of season food. Seasonal produce has become the buzzword of the moment and inevitably this concept has been applied to the coffee industry, with a plethora of ‘seasonal blends’ now being available.
The fact of the matter is that all coffee, by nature, is seasonal. Coffee is an equatorial crop and the harvest season occurs over a number of months and, depending on the region, it can last from three to six months. Coffee roasters that offer seasonal coffee blends lack the expertise, motivation or direct relationships with farmers to ensure their blends are consistent, using seasonality as a justification for this.
At Di Bella Coffee, we design blends to achieve a particular flavour profile throughout the year, regardless of seasonality. If a blend requires a high level of acidity, then we will search for coffees that can provide that flavour in the cup. This may mean that from November to March we will source coffee from a particular farm in Costa Rica and from April to October we will use coffee from a farm in Colombia because these coffees provide the desired flavour.
Each week we quality test and, if necessary, recalibrate the percentages of each coffee that goes into each blend to ensure that our flavour profile is consistent, despite the seasonal variations of coffee. Quality testing on a weekly basis requires a high level of expertise, dedication and commitment. For coffee roasters who lack the expertise or do not have the time to invest in achieving consistency in blends, offering a range of ‘seasonal’ blends is a shortcut that sounds attractive to the customer who places value in seasonal produce.
It is also our relationship with farmers that is paramount to ensuring that we have access to a variety of coffees to ensure that we are able to create consistent flavour profiles, despite the seasonal nature of all coffee. Our Crop to Cup green bean buying programme allows us to have relationships with 50 different farms at various times of the year from around the globe. This gives us access to sourcing beans to meet the demands of each of our different specialty blends. Coffee roasters who sell seasonal blends will often source coffee that is available that day from large brokers. Without having a direct connection with the farmers who produced this coffee, they are unable to source coffee to meet their specifications consistently and therefore class their blends as being ‘seasonal.’
At Di Bella Coffee, we are proud to design our coffee blends to a profile, rather than blend available origins to produce different results, which is why we don’t sell so-called ‘seasonal blends.’ Thanks to our coffee expertise and our direct relationships with farmers, we can manage seasonality to produce consistency in your cup -now that’s something to drink to!