Micro Lots: A Risky Business
Producing micro lots means a lot of extra work for a producer. Ronald de Hommel is a Co-Founder of The Coffee Quest, a Netherlands-based importer that works directly with Peralta Coffees in Nicaragua, along with other Central American, South American, and African origins. He tells me that a producer needs to manage the processing much more closely. Sometimes, he explains, they will use longer fermentation and drying times, carefully controlling the shade, temperature, and more to achieve this. In turn, this requires extra time and money.
Friso Spoor, another of The Coffee Quest’s Co-Founders, is in charge of quality control and European imports. He adds that it’s not just during processing that the producer’s workload is increased. For example, they need to invest more time in checking ripeness and sugar levels during picking. And, as Octavio tells me, while this investment should pay off in the long term, for now, it means spending more on labour.
Moreover, quality improvements – while expected – are not always guaranteed. “In general, we see at least a two-point rise in the score,” Ronald explains. Yet there’s always a risk.