The Ultimate Coffee Glossary

Past Crop

In coffee, what does the term past crop mean?

Past crop coffee refers to green coffee beans that are no longer considered part of the current or new crop. These beans have been stored for an extended period of time, often resulting in a loss of flavour and quality. Past crop coffee can exhibit a range of negative characteristics, including faded or stale flavours, musty or hay-like aromas, and a loss of organic material. As such, past crop coffee is generally considered to be of lower quality than current or new crop coffee. Coffee cuppers and roasters will often use the term "past-cropish" to describe coffees that exhibit some of these negative qualities, even if they are not technically past crop. The storage conditions of past crop coffee can also have a significant impact on its quality. Improper storage can lead to off-flavours and aromas, as well as mould or other contaminants. While past crop coffee may be less desirable than current or new crop coffee, it can still be used in blends or as a lower-cost option for certain applications. However, coffee professionals will generally prefer to work with current or new crop coffee whenever possible, as these coffees offer the freshest and highest quality flavours.
It is worth noting that the exact definition of past crop can vary depending on the specific region or country. For example, in some areas, past crop coffee may refer to beans that are more than six months old, while in other areas, the term may be used for beans that are more than a year old. Additionally, the quality of past crop coffee can vary widely depending on factors such as the origin, varietal, and processing method of the beans, as well as the storage conditions they have been kept in. Some coffee importers and roasters specialize in sourcing high-quality past crop coffee, often through direct relationships with farmers and careful storage and handling practices. In general, however, past crop coffee is considered to be a lower quality product than current or new crop coffee, and it may be sold at a lower price as a result.
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