It is more than production in small quantities, although, that is a part of what defines an artisan roaster. Here are Equator's four tenents of artisan roasting:
- Artisan roasters have command of the issues that effect specialty coffee production. They must cultivate roaster-producer relationships with an appreciation of the social, economic and environmental consequences of these relationships.
- Artisan coffees are created when the grower is willing to take the extra steps to ensure quality results, and the roaster is willingly to pay the premium price necessary to support quality.
- Artisan coffees evolve from sustainable farm practices which include a respect for the habitat and good production values at each stage: meticulous selection, milling and drying of the raw hand-picked coffee at origin, and careful crafting of the coffee into a finished form by the roaster.
- Artisan coffee roasting is a marriage of science and sensibility. The science involves controlling the roasting medium via the roasters knowledge of the roasting machine, the raw product (green beans) and the roaster's visual and tasting sensibility.
The Micro-Mill Revolution
Distinguish, differentiate, define: these are the guiding words of a new generation of artisan coffee growers who will influence the future of boutique coffee. Modeling the wine industry, artisan growers are promoting their "terroir" and distinguishing themselves by finding ways to differentiate their harvest. They are exerting more control over their coffee, defining it by micro-region, varietal (coffee plant) and milling method. This approach is a radical departure from the custom of selling one's harvest to middlemen, who then mill and blend it anonymously with other coffee from the region prior to export.
Taking ownership of the milling process is a critical step towards producing a boutique coffee. Artisan growers are investing in state-of-the art micro-mills that allow them to "design" their coffee and separate it into micro-lots with different characteristics. This step improves the quality of the coffee, enhances the attributes of terroir, and, adds a signature flavor that artisan roasters prize.
Kosher and Pareve
Equator coffees are certified Kosher and Pareve by EarthKosher. This means that a Rabbi has inspected our production facility and can vouch for the purity of our coffees including the fact that our storage and production facilities meet with stringent requirements of cleanliness.
97-99% of the caffeine present in coffee is removed by the decaffeination process. A cup of regular coffee might contain 100 mg. or more of caffeine while a comparable cup of decaf usually contains less than 3 mg.
The moisture content of the green (unroasted) beans is increased prior to decaffeination in order to facilitate caffeine removal. A solvent is then used to extract the caffeine. Solvents can be water, ethyl acetate, methylene chloride and carbon dioxide.
Not all decaffeination processes are kind to the environment. Equator selects beans that are primarily decaffeinated by water process with some inclusion of "natural" (ethyl acetate: fruit derived) process. These processes are eco-friendly and produce a good, clean flavor.