Microlot coffee has become more popular with the rise of third-wave coffee shops. But what is it and why is it more expensive than regular coffee? Is it worth the extra price? Read on to deepen your understanding of microlot coffee.
What is Microlot Coffee?
The term ‘microlot’ is used in specialty coffee often and as a result, has taken on multiple meanings. Across different people in the coffee industry, microlot can refer to:
- Sustainably farmed coffee
- A lot of coffee that is more carefully sorted and processed
- Coffee from a singular farm and producer
- A coffee lot harvested and processed together
- A coffee lot that has extra preparing, harvesting, effort, and labor into it or high standards of production
Generally, microlot coffee is coffee traceable to a particular region or lot, where the beans undergo the same climate, soil, altitude, and processing. Microlot coffee takes on different meanings at different places, so there is no clear-cut answer.
We suggest clarifying what the coffee place or store you are buying from means when they label beans as microlot.
How does Microlot Coffee Vary?
Microlot coffee gives buyers and/or roasters the opportunity to offer a unique and carefully curated coffee experience at a premium price. Each roaster will have different criteria for microlot coffees they roast and sell, but generally, microlots will be more sustainably grown and produced, have more ethically compensated labor, or higher standards of quality.
For growers, microlot coffee is used to identify and cultivate higher-quality coffees at a premium price. Growing and processing one plot of coffee beans separately requires more time and expense from the farmer, therefore the coffee is higher priced. (Source)
Why Should I Buy Microlot Coffee?
There are several reasons why you should buy microlot coffee. Microlot coffee is often sustainably farmed and harvested. They are also more pure or clean in taste since the beans usually come from one coffee lot or are processed in the same way.
Additionally, microlot coffee is a vehicle for long-term relationships between producers and buyers. According to Union Terra of O’Coffee Brazilian Estates, this is good for both parties and is more sustainable because the feedback from buyers is easier to implement on a small scale.
Not convinced? Watch this video to learn more about how microlot coffee is good for farmers:
Examples of Microlot Coffee
If you’re looking to try some microlot coffee, here are our top recommendations:
- Guatemala Santa Felisa Gesha Honey, a honey-processed coffee that comes from an award-winning coffee microlot in Guatemala and tends to sell out quickly
- Santa Felisa Caturra Orange Honey, from the same farm in Guatemala as the Gesha, this gesha has notes of melon, jasmine, and caramel
- Panama Gesha Lot 290, this record-breaking gesha is naturally-processed on a microlot that uses no pesticides or herbicides
- Costa Rica Honey Duo, the Las Lajas micromill's signature production style produces both black and red honey coffees that are uniquely delicious
The Future of Microlot Coffee
Coffee consumption during the pandemic has increased exponentially, and microlot coffee is here to stay. Currently, microlot coffee has no standard definition and therefore lacks consistency throughout the industry. Microlot coffee should work towards standardization which will help establish a reliable product and definition.
Lastly, microlot coffee is a mutually beneficial coffee for both producers and buyers and is environmentally sustainable, so it’s bound to grow more in the future!