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FAQs

WHERE'S MY COFFEE?

We send out freshly roasted coffee every day, and we aim to get all of our orders out within 48 hours. Please refer to the estimated shipping date at checkout to see how long your coffee is likely to take to arrive.

We use Royal Mail to send out all orders under 2kg, and DPD for anything above 2kg. You can also use DPD for smaller orders, for an additional charge. If you haven't received any coffee within 2 working days of ordering, then please get in touch, and we will check where it is for you.

WHAT IS SPECIALITY COFFEE?

A specialty grade coffee is one that has scored over 80/100 points on the Specialty Coffee Association scale. 

Specialty coffee doesn’t happen by accident, and there are a lot of things that need to happen to reach this level of quality. The coffee needs to be produced with care and attention, in places where the growing conditions are well-suited for the coffee plant’s needs. 

The people producing the coffee should be suitably rewarded for this. In many parts of the world, coffee producers are paid less than the cost of production, and we want to make sure this never happens with the coffees we buy. We pay a premium for the coffees we source to ensure that everyone involved in the coffee’s journey is treated fairly. It’s also hugely important that the coffee we source is as traceable as possible. 

Finally, we need to do justice to the coffees we buy when we roast them. Our resident Q Grader, Dave Burton, assesses each of our coffees to make sure they meet the strict standards of the SCA specialty scoring. 

IS YOUR COFFEE ARABICA? / WHAT IS ARABICA?

There are two main types of coffee, Arabica and Robusta. Robusta produces a high yield, can grow at low altitudes, and is resistant to many pests and diseases. The downside is that it lacks a lot of complexity and sweetness.

On the other hand, Arabica coffees are harder to grow, and require a lot more attention. Their fragility means they are better suited to high altitudes. Although they contain less caffeine than Robusta, they have almost twice the amount of naturally occurring sugars. These are the coffees we love, and we will always roast exclusively Arabica.

WHERE DOES YOUR COFFEE COME FROM?

Coffee is predominantly grown in sub-tropical climates between the Tropic of Capricorn and the Tropic of Cancer.  We source our coffee from all over the world, but generally have a good selection of African coffees along with some Central and Southern American offerings. We work closely with importers and producers to provide a range of delicious seasonal coffee, year-round.

IS YOUR COFFEE FAIRTRADE?

This is a very common question. Fairtrade pays a premium on top of the commodity market (C Market) price of coffee. Simply put, when coffee is traded as a commodity, farmers are often paid less than the cost of production. By definition, this isn’t sustainable. The Fairtrade premium allows farmers to have a slight safety net against this.

Although it was set up with the best of intentions, we don’t feel that Fairtrade goes far enough. Coffee should be traded with transparency and genuine relationships, not on a stock market. For that reason, we source coffee as directly as we can, and pay even bigger premiums to farmers than Fairtrade allows. 

IS YOUR COFFEE ORGANIC?

Whilst some of our coffees are labelled organic, many are not.  Organic certification is indeed synonymous with more responsible production, however, this can be difficult to attain for smallholder farmers. Trying to get a producer with 3 acres of land to apply, and pay for organic certification is really unlikely to happen.

Many of these farms that we work with actually farm organically by default, but are just unable to get a certificate to demonstrate this. In other scenarios, those farms that are fortunate to farm on a larger scale sometimes have no choice but to use pesticides. The safeguard of carefully considered pesticide use can be the difference between a good crop of coffee, and a decimated harvest.

Where our coffees do have organic certification, you’ll find this in their description.

HOW DO YOU MAINTAIN QUALITY?

Quality coffees need to be treated with care when they reach us in the roastery. The specialty coffees we source come to us either in vacuum sealed 15kg bags, or larger GrainPro or Ecotact bags. This gives the coffee a longer shelf life, as well as protecting it from the elements.

We only roast the coffee we need on any given day, so we can assure freshness in the coffee you buy. Using specialised software, we profile each of our coffees, and make sure they hit specific parameters every time. 

We quality control each batch of coffee that we roast. You can find out more about the cupping process here.

HOW DO YOU RECOMMEND WE STORE OUR COFFEE?

First things first, just buy what you need, little and often. Ideally buy freshly roasted whole beans - investing in a grinder is the single best purchase you can make to get the most out of your coffee.  Grind only what you need each time.  Keep your coffee in a cool and dry place in an airtight container. 

There is no benefit to storing your coffee in the fridge - it will just take on the flavours of whatever else is in there. If you haven't bought little and often, you can store surplus coffee in the freezer. Make sure that you only freeze it once, as the thawing/freezing cycle will produce unwanted condensation.

WHAT SUPPORT AND TRAINING DO YOU PROVIDE?

We want to share as much of our coffee knowledge as we can. For wholesale customers, get in touch to find out how we can help you excel with your staff's barista skills. For the home brewer, we have a series of handy guides on our YouTube page.

IS THE COFFEE A LIGHT OR A DARK ROAST?

Each of our coffees is roasted in a way that we think best suits its origin. Generally speaking, lighter roasts bring out the brightness that suits African coffees; more development can show off the complexity of coffee from the Americas and Asia.

However, either extreme end of the spectrum should be avoided, as far as we're concerned! Really light coffees are often too grassy-tasting; too dark, and there's not much to taste apart from bitterness. We'd say that each of our coffees are somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.

HOW LONG DOES COFFEE STAY FRESH FOR?

If you are talking fresh beans we would recommend using within 3 months of roast date. With ground coffee, you begin to lose quality straight away as it has a much larger surface area! 

WHEN WILL MY SUBSCRIPTION START?

Subscriptions are sent out every other week, so your coffee will be added to the list and then sent out when the next lot of subscriptions are due to go out. If you need it any sooner, then please contact us on orders@rountoncoffee.co.uk and we make arrangements for you.

CAN I ALTER OR PAUSE MY COFFEE SUBSCRIPTION AT ANY TIME?

Yes, of course, just drop us an email at orders@rountoncoffee.co.uk and we'll take care of the rest!

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