Fequently Asked Questions
Where does Artisan's coffee come from?
We source our beans directly from cooperatives and private producers in East Africa. We operate from Rwanda and Ethiopia with the highest transparency. We primarily work with women's groups and woman-owned farms to provide you the highest quality, sustainably sourced coffee.
Click on Current Offerings to read about each coffee!
CLICK REQUEST SAMPLES today and taste it yourself!
How common is Potato Taste Defect, really?
Potato taste defect (sometimes called PTD) might seem frightening and omnipresent, but the truth is that it's much less ubiquitous than we in the coffee industry have come to anticipate. However, it is still one of the trickiest defects in coffee, as it cannot be 100% detected and removed at origin. It is thought to be a bacteria that can grow. Thus, a coffee bean that seems 100% perfect while it's in Rwanda, may travel around the world and sit in a warehouse for 4 - 6 months, and wham! When the sack is opened, you can smell raw potato. The bacteria has grown!
Artisan works hard to remove the financial risk that PTD poses for roasters. We are the only importer offering a "Potato Taste Guarantee" with every contract of Rwandan coffee. We offer an automatic two-bag buy-back guarantee if you find PTD. This does not exactly equal risk-free since it is still a hassle if PTD shows up, but at least it's not a financial loss on the green coffee. If you find PTD in more than 2 bags, we will "make that good" also, but might also ask you to run through some protocols to determine the extent of the problem in the suspected bags. For the first two bags, though, no protocols. We'll reimburse you right away and take 'em back.
Artisan's founder, Ruth Ann Church, had the opportunity to be on the front lines of the struggle to understand the root causes of potato taste defect and eliminate it during the Africa Great Lakes Coffee support program, 2015 - 2018. A coalition including Counter Culture Coffee, Seattle University, Rogers Family Coffee and University of Rwanda worked collaboratively to learn a lot about the antestia pest and the chemistry of beans infected with PTD. Click here for a 2018 report sharing the results of original research by Joseph Bigirimana and Andrew Gerard.
What happens to coffee during roasting?
When coffee beans are roasted, the roaster acts as an essential ‘mini-reactor’ for the chemical reactions that help a dense, hard green bean become a porous, dark brown bean full of flavor. Roasters general work with a roasting profile that is the temperature of the roast over time. It looks a little like a deformed bell-curve. Typically a roast is between 8 and 15 minutes.
Oils, volume, porosity, moisture and mass are a few physical changes that affect the taste. There are many good places to take classes in coffee roasting and lots of resources on the internet to help you learn more about coffee roasting. Click here for one of them! You may also want to consider joining the Coffee Roasters' Guild.
Can I change or cancel my order?
Unfortunately, once an order is placed, it cannot be canceled or changed. For sample requests, there is no cost to you, the roaster, so there shouldn't be a problem.
For green coffee orders, you will first sign a contract with Artisan which legally binds you (your company) to purchase the coffee at the terms agreed in the contract. Artisan is legally bound to provide the coffee of the quality specified. We understand that things change and the coffee business is tricky, however, so we are more than happy to discuss modified terms to help everyone's business survive.
How do I track my order status?
For sample requests: within 1-4 business days of placing your order, you will receive a tracking number via email from our logistics manager or from our courier partner (UPS) with your package’s tracking information. To track your package, simply enter your tracking number on UPS´ official website.
For green coffee: If you asked Artisan to arrange the shipment, email us to request a PRO tracking number for the LTL truck bringing your pallet of coffee to you.
How can I get on your mailing list?
To sign up for our mailing list, simply use our Mailing Address Update email form. Be sure to choose “Mailing Address Add/Update” from the Topic drop down and “Add” as your Request Type. You must provide all relevant information for this to be processed correctly.
What do specialty coffee scores mean and how are they created?
The Specialty Coffee Association developed the 100 point scoring protocol in 1982 to differentiate commercial from specialty (gourmet) coffee. To be "specialty", coffees must score above 80 points.
To evaluate the score, a "cupper" (coffee taster) must "cup" the coffee. In a cupping session 5 cups of the same coffee are prepared with a special protocol. Each session takes roughly an hour from when the water gets poured until the protocol and scoring is complete. During this period, the taster must assess how the attributes of the coffee develop in three temperatures: hot, warm and room temperature.
For the preparation, 11 - 12 grams of coffee is weighed, then ground, and placed in matching cupping glasses or bowls. Aroma and fragrance are evaluated, then nine other attributes, including flavor, acidity and body. Click here for all the details from the SCA!
What’s the optimal coffee-to-water ratio?
Everyone has different taste buds. Artisan recommends a 14:1 ratio by weight (not volume) for stronger coffee, and for lighter coffee, a 16:1 ratio by weight. In order to do this, you will need a small and accurate scale. Many coffee shops sell these now. People are often not used to weighing their water and coffee and prefer not to buy a scale, so other methods have been developed. Click here for a James Hoffmann video suggesting the use of grams (weight) of coffee per liter (volume) of water, which can be slightly easier than fully relying on weight to weight ratios. Coffee is around 95% water, so make sure it’s filtered H20!
What are the optimal brewing methods for coffee?
Grinding your coffee with a burr grinder just before brewing is highly recommended. After that, you pick your brew-method of choice. There are so many! Try experimenting and switching it up once in a while with new equipment. There is pour-over, espresso, aeropress, Mr. Coffee type drip-brew, french-press, Nespresso/Keurig machines, and many more. It all comes down to preference and usually a trade-off between convenience and quality. Check out resources from the Specialty Coffee Association and the National Coffee Association to learn more about the various methods of brewing!