The Ultimate Coffee Glossary


What does Sailor mean?

In the world of coffee cultivation and processing, the term "Sailor" refers to a type of coffee bean that is defective and floats when separated from other beans during processing. These beans are typically lighter in color and lack the waxiness of normal coffee beans, appearing as if deficient in fat. Sailors are usually associated with lower quality coffee and are often sorted out during the grading process.
Sailors can be indicative of a number of defects in coffee beans, including underripe or immature cherries, insect damage, or poor processing. They are also known to be more susceptible to infestation by pests, such as the coffee berry borer.
Despite being considered a defect, sailors are sometimes used in blends to add a distinctive flavor or to increase the yield of a batch. They are also said to pair well with Quakers, which are beans that have not fully developed and have a characteristic pale color.
Overall, sailors are generally viewed as a negative aspect of coffee production, as their presence can indicate poor quality or defects in the beans. Coffee producers and processors typically strive to minimize the number of sailors in their final product in order to maintain high quality standards.
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