From the Lab

Monday, August 23, 2021

Stay Calibrated to Get the Best Lots

The logistics situation is making it tough to get all the coffees you want. One way to help you select the best coffees for your needs is by maintaining calibration with your trader. Through calibration, you can speed up the buying process, make selecting coffees easier and book the hottest new crop coffees before they’re gone.

The Benefits of Calibration

Calibration is about trust, efficiency, and ultimately customer service,” explains Danner Friedman, Trader & Q Grader for Sucafina Specialty North America. “Our job [as traders] is to make our customers’ jobs easier.  When we’re calibrated, we have trust and can more easily serve our customers.”

Calibration becomes even more important when booking top lots. Pre-shipment samples are typically very limited and the fastest way to book these coveted coffees is to be calibrated with your trader so they know what you’re looking for.

“The reality is that top lots are scarce, even without logistics issues, and if you’re calibrated, you have the ability to act faster than if you have to wait 3 to 5 days to sample and cup,” Danner says.

Staying calibrated with your trader also reduces some of the anxiety of pre-ship approvals. “The decision-making process rests on the approval of one sample, and there’s a lot of weight that goes with their say so. Some of my clients ask what I think, and we can talk about our results,” says Sam Langdon, Green Coffee Merchant for Sucafina Specialty in the UK. “That dialogue is important. It’s a benefit to everyone.”

That calibration also comes in handy when things go awry. “Calibration is about trust, and when things go wrong, trust is vital,” Sam says. ”When there are hitches, it’s important that we understand our customers’ palates and needs. This enables us to fix any errors and ensure everyone is happy.” 

Staying Calibrated

So, it’s great to stay calibrated, but how do you do it, especially at a distance? It’s not that hard, explains Franciska Apro, Quality Control Coordinator for Sucafina Specialty Europe, “If a client is regularly sending us their comments, both the traders and QC can better understand their tastes,” Franciska says. In turn, we can pass that information down the chain to our partners at origin, increasing efficiency (and quality) all along the supply chain.

“Giving us a clear brief that includes cup profile, grade, score and any further information that you think could assist us with finding the right coffee for you, helps us calibrate to your needs,” says Joseph Oosten, Trader with Sucafina Specialty Asia Pacific. “Samples of your existing coffee can also be really helpful. We can then cup these and they can help find you a suitable option.”

As it gets safer to do so, traders like Danner, Joseph and Sam can’t wait to return to cupping with customers again. These in-person cuppings and the discussions that happen during and after are key to building long-term relationships that add value for everyone.

Our team of traders and QC experts is here to help and calibration helps us help you. Being calibrated can help you grab top lots before they sell out and make it easier to make decisions and fix problems when they arise. Don’t hesitate to get in touch to discuss your cupping notes, ask questions or find a time for an in-person cupping.