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PREMIUM vs. CLASSIC BLENDS – What’s the difference?
Boncafe Thailand’s ‘Premium Blends’ are often priced more than double compared to our ‘Classic Blends’. Consequently, many customers rightfully ask: “What added value does Boncafe’s premium blends offer compared to our classic blends?” and “What, besides the obvious; the price and the beautiful, colorful hard foil bags, is the difference?”
There are many misconceptions about what premium quality coffee really is. Let us explain what ‘premium’ entails – and what it does not.
PREMIUM means that we source the best beans from well managed coffee plantations. Our ‘Premium Blends’ are made from the world’s very finest Arabica beans (Our premium blend ‘Classic’ contains some best sourced Robusta beans as well). At the end of the day coffee is only as good as the farm that plants and harvests it. Great coffee beans doesn’t necessarily come from farms with perfect soil and weather conditions. Be it single farmers or big coffee plantation owners, they have to genuinely love their coffee trees and greatly care for them. It all comes down to enthusiasm and management, throughout the entire course of planting, pruning, harvesting, drying and eventually wet- or dry-processing the coffee cherries.
PREMIUM means that we subject the bean screening and roasting process to the very highest standards at our roasting plant. Over the years, Boncafe Thailand have made significant investments into all facets of green coffee processing. We’ve even invented and developed new methods to upgrade green coffee, by separating the beans with bitter or undesired taste from the good ones. We sort the coffee beans by specific weight and color, and some beans are further subjected to a special cleaning procedure. For the premium blends, our roast masters, with their years and years of experience, rigorously and strictly select only beans with the best promise of top-quality taste in each cup. After roasting these carefully selected beans, each batch is cup-tasted not by just one roast master, but by our whole QC (quality control) team. They are the executive chefs of coffee. It’s not easy for the beans, whether green or roasted, to please them.
PREMIUM means that with all of Boncafe’s assembled passion, know-how and many decades worth of coffee making experience, these blended coffee beans simply taste the best, in the cup, in a mouth-fill and on the tongue. Premium is about taste in the end – and nothing else.
So what does ‘premium’ not mean?
Premium does not mean ‘big’ beans. Big beans do NOT taste better than small or especially medium-sized beans. Taste is not about size. The biggest beans often don’t have much “body” and ends up producing a rather flat taste. Therefore, premium coffee is not about having a bag full of big beans.
Premium does not mean that all beans are of the same size. Like with wines, where most top wines are a blend of two, three or even four grapes, the best coffees in the world are predominantly a blend of different beans. That fact is reflected in the language: we always talk about “this or that coffee blend”. Beans of the same size are roasted for the same duration. That’s essential, because it matters how long their surface and body is exposed to roasting heat. After roasting, they are blended with other beans of different sizes, in an often tedious process of trial and error, and ‘cup-tasting’ by or QC team, in order to create the best tasting coffee blend out of many different bean types and sizes.
Premium does not mean that there are no broken beans in a bag. Green beans often have the same specific weight, size and color as little stones. After roasting, and all the liquids evaporate, the beans become light. We then run them through a so-called ‘de-stoner machine’ to separate out each and every small stone from the coffee beans. Following the roasting process, the dry beans are light and delicate, just like porcelain. If a case of coffee is dropped when unloaded from a truck onto a pallet, if a coffee bag drops from a shelf, or if a pack of coffee is harshly stashed into a shopping bag, some beans can break. It’s a matter of fact that a complete bean, and a bean split in two or more pieces, still tastes the same!
In short, our ‘Premium Blends’ are all about taste. We put a lot of money, hard work and time into them, from sourcing to processing to cup-tasting. We love the taste of our premium blends. But taste is personal and relative – it is on the tongue of the coffee drinker, as beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. We hope that you, too, love our PREMIUM BLENDS.
Urs T. Brunner
CEO – Boncafe Thailand Group