MICROLOTS IN THE SPECIALTY COFFEE MARKET





In the last years, the term microlot has become more frequent in the specialty coffee market. Its most common definition is a lot of variable size, usually small, with superior sensory characteristics and full traceability. Therefore, the association of this term to high quality is an evident feature of the current market.

However, not all microlots are qualified under the same standards. Moreover, there is no general agreement on what exactly a microlot is. This causes the term to have different meanings throughout the supply chain.


WHAT IS A MICROLOT?


Starting from the producing countries, the criteria to classify and trade a coffee lot as a microlot are very variable.

For a farmer, a microlot can be: a lot harvested in a specific area of his farm, a lot composed by a single coffee variety, a lot made of the harvest of a single day, a lot produced by a specific process (natural, honey, washed), etc.

In some occasions, farmers can break larger lots into smaller lots, in order to sell them to different markets (Europe, North America, Asia) as microlots.

In some producing countries, coffee is always processed in small lots or microlots, which are then sold under this designation, depending on the cup quality or even the agreement with the buyer.




What happens if the farmer is not the one processing his coffee? Wet mills and cooperatives often establish their own standards at the time of classifying coffee lots for the international market.

Therefore, in order to understand these classifications, it’s important to understand the origin, its characteritics of production and internal trading.

Understanding the origin and establishing criteria at the time of choosing a coffee lot is fundamental if we want to have a fair and satisfactory trading environment for all stakeholders.


THE VALUE OF MICROLOTS FOR THE COFFEE FARMER


It’s not unexpected that producing high quality coffee that sells for a higher price results in a higher income for coffee farmers. As a matter of fact, many of them have achieved stability in their projects thanks to this investment in quality.

Paying fair prices will allow us to continue enjoying unique coffees season after season.


QUALITY CONTROL


Quality control is the main tool that will allow us to assess each lot and make an adequate selection according to our standards.




From the origin to our lab, all coffee lots imported by Xorxios are assessed by expert Q Graders who perform strict physical and sensory evaluations, which allow allow us to ensure that these lots comply with the required quality standards.

Moreover, knowing the different realities throughout the global supply chain allows us to perform this selection with more rigour.



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