The Ultimate Coffee Glossary


In coffee, what is a Floater?

A floater refers to a defective coffee bean that floats to the surface when placed in water due to its low density. Floaters are often a result of poor processing or poor quality control during sorting.
Floaters can be caused by a variety of factors, such as insect damage, immaturity, or over-ripeness. These beans are usually lighter in weight and have a lower density than normal beans. They can also have a negative impact on the cupping quality of the coffee, as they may have a sour or fermented taste.
To prevent floaters, coffee farmers and processors must ensure that the cherries are harvested at the right time and are of optimal quality. They also need to properly sort the beans during processing to remove any defective or low-quality beans. This can be done through methods such as hand sorting or using mechanical equipment that sorts the beans by size, density, and colour.
In the specialty coffee industry, floaters are generally considered to be of lower quality and are often separated from the rest of the beans. However, in some countries, floaters are accepted as a natural part of the coffee processing and may be sold as a separate product.
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