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dfk41
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I want to tell you a story. I am going to tell it exactly as it is without opinion. A friend bought some beans from a roaster I had never heard of and he was so impressed I decided to give them a go. I ordered 2 x 500 gms of a Colombian and a Ugandan costing £35. I managed to find a free postage voucher online. A few days later they turned up along with a free sample of another bean and a nice tin.
The beans were packaged in a way I had never experienced before. The beans were double wrapped in a cellophane bag with a brown paper label with a rubber stamped name etc on, but all the other information was hand written (and difficult to read). There was no batch number, just a handwritten date saying roasted September 27th. The wrapping did not have a one way valve in. I put them away to rest, 8 or 9 days then vacuum bagged them. 
I did not inspect the beans at all in the interim. First thing I thought was that for beans that had been roasted to order on the 27th, there was absolutely no CO2 in the bag at all.
I opened the sample and was absolutely bowled over with oodles of fruit! It was fantastic. This was Sunday gone. I knew I had a friend coming over today who loves espresso, so I opened the Ugandan beans, and have never been so disappointed.
So, I had a dig around their website then onto their Facebook page where I found a photo of the roastery, showing the three staff going about their business. In the picture are a large number of plastic containers, capable of holding around 15 to 20 kilos. Similar to the sort of lidded storage box we all have. Then I realised! No batch number. Beans acting as if stale. Large storage boxes. No visible method of stock control.
Now, I will not name them at this point. I contacted them yesterday. I did not rant.
I did not ask for a refund. I asked them why I had no batch number and why a picture on the FB site clearly shows their method of roasting, storing and sending out beans.
I just wondered if I am being overly sensitive and should accept this stuff they sent, or am I right to contact them

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am Muhammed Ali February 25, 1964

 

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I think you’re absolutely right to contact them. Anyone who bothers to buy beans to grind and takes it any way seriously need to know when the beans were roasted for rotation and resting as you’ve pointed out. Unless you had some emergency supplies ready to raid you could be out of your planned predictable coffee for DAYS after getting stung like that!!! Goes to show how important it is to be able to trust what and when you buy it. I’m guessing their response was vague?

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Yes, Id agree it was worthwhile contacting them.

I too bought some beans from them ,a kilo of Brazilian Strawb, just about through my first 500g and have really enjoyed them.

It did cross my mind however that there was no valve in the packaging, and the bags were sealed 🤔

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Are you joking? There are some top solid roasteries that have no valve to their bags. You think a Valve will do what? 

Let's figure it out together:

- a valve is put to a bag so the co2 and air leaves the beans, leaves the bag. Why? so it wont explore. But you see, there are many roasteries that have no valve and no bag exploded, so this is... not for that.

- a valve so you can squeeze the air out and smell the beans? okay but what good? other than that.

Gardelli has no valves to his bags, for many years now. No problem in that. As for the rest of your problem, you saw coffee sitting in containers, if the coffee tasted good, then it matters how they keep it? how do you think the coffee sits at the farm, in gold buckets with seals?

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If you think they are being dishonest with the roast date, then I think it’s fair enough to contact them.

As for the valves, the bags I get from django don’t have valves. But it is obvious the beans have let off a fair bit of CO2 since they were packaged as they are usually bulging quite a bit by the time the arrive (usually 3 days pst the roast date). I’d rather not have plastic valves, if the rest of the bag is made of compostable material. Not had one burst yet. :)

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@Denis S Does this help you follow my line of thought! The difference between the obviously 'fresh' sample and the other stuff was night and day

WhatsApp Image 2021-10-12 at 09.05.59.jpeg

Edited by dfk41

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am Muhammed Ali February 25, 1964

 

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Oh, and I have never had beans that were allegedly roasted a few days before, fail to produce a by product. The fact the packaging had no batch code means the roaster cannot trace it if challenged. Yes, I am suggesting that they roast in bulk then put the beans into tubs and dispatch as needed. Nothing wrong with that if they have the turnover.....The beans were double wrapped in clear cellophane bags. If they had of produced a by product, then the packaging would have had no choice but to expand. It did not. It was as packaged on the day, some 10 days later, so what conclusion am I expected to make? I have said the sample they said was fantastic and it was. That left me with high hopes for the two purchases. And there the story starts

Edited by dfk41

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am Muhammed Ali February 25, 1964

 

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29 minutes ago, dfk41 said:

Does this help you follow my line of thought! The difference between the obviously 'fresh' sample and the other stuff was night and day

Hang on. You say that the problem is that the roaster can't tell you the batch, therefore the roast date, yet you seem to know that the disappointing beans were roasted less recently than the sample.

You might be right, but aren't you jumping to conclusions?

If not & it's abundantly obvious the bag is stale (& should be returned for refund/replace), why do you need a roast date (not required by law)?

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@MWJB Mark, I am saying, that the sample they sent was delicious in every sense. The sample turned up in a single cellophane bag without having the air squeezed out, or perhaps It was gas released. The beans, and this is after a great deal of thought, were most disappointing. So, you ask yourself why that might be. You then think of how the beans turned up, double wrapped in cellophane bags. The bags were nice and tight and they were exactly the same 10 days later. Admit I am not an expert but I used to home roast and I have bought plenty of coffee. If the bags had a one way valve, then any gases produced would stay in the bag but the bag should not burst due to the valve. But newly roasted beans do produce CO2 and thats a fact. So in the 10 days of resting, no gases were produced, so next logical question is why? I then notice that the packaging has no batch number which is a legal requirement but someone had written in hand, roasted on September 27. I then look at the website and onto their Facebook and find the picture I posted. Hard not to draw conclusions.

The next picture shows the sample bag and as you can see there is not much in it and the beans have not been folded over and the air in the bag could be as a result or could be gas discharge. I have tried to engage with the roaster who so far have not replied. I thought I made it clear that I was more concerned with the process than the fact I did not get on with the beans I bought. It might just be me but when you look at all the 'evidence' it is very hard to imagine that the beans were roasted on the 27th 

WhatsApp Image 2021-10-08 at 18.45.52.jpeg

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am Muhammed Ali February 25, 1964

 

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I’ve never noticed batch numbers on bags of coffee, and always assumed the roast date would effectively be the batch number. Roaster roasts a certain weight of a particular bean on a certain day, to fulfil existing orders or to bag up and put on a shelf with a label with the roast date printed on it, and that’s what batch it is. i.e if there is a problem with a particular batch, it’s traceable by the date.

I think if I was you I’d return them and ask for a refund, I agree that the photos of big tubs of roasted coffee seem a bit suspicious. I had a look on their facebook too and noticed this.

image.thumb.png.8e816b5451dd3805eff1a8d84a20ef66.png

 

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57 minutes ago, dfk41 said:

@MWJB Mark, I am saying, that the sample they sent was delicious in every sense. The sample turned up in a single cellophane bag without having the air squeezed out, or perhaps It was gas released. The beans, and this is after a great deal of thought, were most disappointing.

Hi David, sorry if I am missing something, but in your original post you say the sample you enjoyed is shown in the photo (Columbian), then you opened the Ugandan and were disappointed?

Was the £35 for 2x500g, or for each 500g bag?

Ultimately, receiving disappointing beans for all of us must be so regular of an occurrence (and one man's meat being another's poison, so maybe we should start re-circulating/swapping our cast-offs in the hope someone else might enjoy them), that surely you just make a note to cross that bean off the list & move on?

I can't say that I have ever found a roaster that could always satisfy, so like a restaurant that does a few good dishes & some you can't eat, you try and stay on the path most trodden with them & save experiments for when you're feeling adventurous & are prepared to take a punt?

Either way, I'd expect the roaster to respond out of courtesy, if nothing else, but experience has taught me that I'm unlikely to be engaged in a meaningful discussion that will result in my satisfaction. So the onus is on me to mostly spend my money where experience shows I'll get value, with an origin that I'm more likely to enjoy.

There's no ombudsman to appeal to.

 

Edited by MWJB
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I note from their info page on packaging that they are taking their environmental responsibilities pretty seriously.

https://sabinscoffee.co.uk/coffee-shop/postals-and-packaging/

Their "cellophane" packaging as actually biodegradable plant material, the info label and mailing boxes are compostable, and they supply an air-tight cannister free with the first order.

They also seem to supply coffee for their commercial customers in re-usable tubs. Perhaps it is these tubs which are sitting on the shelves ready to do out to customers. I would think that the blue tubs in the images have their greens stored inside. 

How was the crema when you brewed the espresso? This is usually a reliable indication of the presence of CO2 still in the bean; not fool-proof but probably more reliable than assessing the "puffiness" of the bag.

As a suggestion, you might also want to try the beans again this weekend; if they were roasted on the 27th and then brewed on the 9th then they are only 14 days post-roast. From my experience, flavour develops over time and some beans need more time to rest.

It's shame you found a coffee that was disappointing for you, but I think these guys should be commended on their approach to packaging.

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@RDC8 Thanks for your thoughts. To be perfectly clear, I am not bothered about the packaging, but the contents! I have never seen a coffee not produce CO2 as part of the settling stage. Neither of the 2 packs supplied had released any gas at all. Because of that, then it led me to have a look around at the roaster. The wholesale purchasers might well be buying beans from the tubs, but that is still no way to treat beans! If the beans are left to prove in the big tubs, then they still ought to have a log with the batch numbers on, even if to ensure they do not send out 'older' beans.

I was always surprised that Cafes would tip 3 kilos of Illy beans into the hopper at once, but when you realise that they will last a couple of hours in a busy cafe, then it matters not. Do you know any cafe that orders in say 12 x 1 kilo sealed bags of coffee, then opens the whole lot and stores them in a plastic tub? 

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am Muhammed Ali February 25, 1964

 

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Right, I spoke at length with Emma at Sabins. I accept what she has told me, even if I am still left slightly scratching me head!

Could a mod please close this thread now

 

It is hard to be humble when you are as great as I am Muhammed Ali February 25, 1964

 

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