What’s in a Name?

In previous posts we’ve talked about coffee names. One was to better clarify the origin of a coffee so that our consumers could know more about where our coffee comes from. The other was a post about what the names of a coffee mean; like the excelso in Colombia Excleso or the AA in Kenya AA or the Mandheling in Sumatra Mandheling.

This post is more akin to the latter, but instead of explaining what the name means, we hope to share how the name comes about, who decides on the name, and the implications of such.

The idea for this post came from a thought we had last week when we realized how much control the roaster has over the name of a coffee. When we choose a coffee, we have information about the bean, it’s origin, variety, region, farm, cooperative, size, shape, processing method, altitude, and more. Some beans have more information and some have less. How do we come about what to call this coffee while doing it justice? We’re going to walk through our coffee offerings and share with you on some of the information we had to work with, what we could have called it, and what we ultimately named it and why.

Brazil Bob-o-Link

The Bob-o-Link coffee is rich with information on all levels. It comes from the Alta Mogiana region of Brazil (Alta Mogiana referring to the altitude the bean is grown). It comes from the Fazenda Ambiental Fortaletza cooperative. It’s made up of Caturra, Catuai, Bourbon, and Mundo Novo varietals. The Bob-o-Link coffee comes from all the farms in the cooperative. It’s a dry processed bean. The Bob-o-Link is a migratory bird that the cooperative has used as a symbol of sustainability on their farms.

So with that information we have things to work with. As a general rule, we have the name of the country listed first (the exception being our Vienna roast which is named for its roast level, but that’s a topic for another conversation). So all of these names could be reasonably used for this coffee: Brazil Alta Mogiana, Brazil DP (for dry process), Brazil Fazenda Ambiental Fortaletza, Brazil FAF cooperative Bob-o-Link, Brazil Bob-o-Link, and others we’re not smart enough to think of.

We stuck with Brazil Bob-o-Link. It’s also what most roasters who sell this coffee call it. Why? The name Bob-o-Link is just so catchy. It’s a great conversation starter. At farmers markets we talk about this coffee to people more than any coffee because people are always saying “what’s a Bob-o-Link?” which is a perfect lead in to talking about all of the other things about the farm and cooperative we mentioned above. It represents the most important information and ideals of the farms and farmers.

Some coffee names have easier pathways. El Salvador Malacara B comes from the name of the farm. Guatemala Oriente Carrizal gives us the farm name and growing region (Carrizal farm, Oriente region).

Both the Colombia Excelso La Nubia and Sao Francisco Peaberry  give us the farm name and information specific to the size or shape of the bean. This is both to differentiate the type of bean from other types of beans sold on the farm and as a selling point of quality and/or uniqueness.

Ethiopia Yirgacheffe Kochere gives us not only the region, but the smaller area within the region. The island of Sumatra has an interesting history when it comes to naming their coffee which is both complicated and fascinating. Suffice is to say the Sumatra Gayo Mountain was grown on and around the  . . . Gayo Mountain. Brazil Water Process Decaf provides the crucial decaf designation as well as the method of decaffeination.

Could we have named some of these beans differently? Sure. We could easily offer Colombia Salcedo Family Farm, Guatemala Sierra del Merendon, or Brazil Alta Mogiana Catuai Peaberry. Why didn’t we? While all the information is valuable and wonderful as it relates to the farm, we feel the current names we have listed is the information most relevant to both the farmers and you the consumers. The other information can be share in a conversation over a delicious cup of El Salvador Roberto Dumont Red Bourbon Santa Ana. Peace.

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2 Responses to What’s in a Name?

  1. Faith Hislop says:

    James…or should I say Cup to Cup Coffee corporation…I enjoyed this post. It was very informative. I think that the next coffee that you should roast, you should give it the longest name possible and then it will be known as “the coffee with the long name”. I think that would be a good conversation starter. Also, out of curiosity, do you get $ when I click on and watch the advertisement? Just wondering.

  2. priyess says:

    Have you considered using glass straws? They’re super classy and toxin free. I’ve seen a few brands out there. my favorite is simply straws, i love the travel case each straw comes with http://bit.ly/simplystraws

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