Seb: Hello and welcome to Ask Timely. My name is Seb. I'm one of the co-founders here and this is a video series we use to talk about the questions you send in to me about coffee relating to the really hard questions or the really easy questions. Anything that's on your mind about coffee that you've always wanted to know. You can send it through to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll try and address it in a video coming up very soon. So today the question comes from Aaron. And Aaron asks on the top of the coffee boxes that we receive from Timely, sometimes under variety, it'll say plus. And I really want to know what plus means. And this is a great question because it's something that we included in our packaging, but we probably didn't explain as well as we should have. So it's great to get this feedback from people that use our coffee a lot on what's making sense and what isn't so that we can try and make things better. So in this instance, for anyone who isn't across it already, variety means the type of coffee tree that they're growing at origin. So the best analogy is kind of like wine. So you might have Pinot Noir and you might have Shiraz, and they're both red wines, but there are different varieties of grape that are actually growing at the farm. So with coffee, it's very, very similar. Seb: So you might have one coffee that is a cattura, for example, and then one maybe that's a bourbon. And these will both be coffee Arabica. So this means that they are both Arabica coffee plants, but they are different varieties. They're going to maybe have a different structure in terms of how the leaves and the fruit grows in the tree. They'll have a very different flavour. They might have a different shape of seed or bean as well, but they're both Arabica coffee. So what does this mean for producers and for Timely and for you as well? So a producer can choose in some instances what variety they grow. This is only when the producer has access to not only importing different varieties into the land. Also, the education and the knowledge of how this might impact quality or characteristics. And also the intent and the freedom to do so. Obviously, when you're changing anything at a farm or in any sort of business, there's also always going to be a risk whenever you make a big adjustment like that. So it's not always just that producers don't know or can't do it for any sort of logistical reason. Sometimes there's a real economic reason why producers won't experiment with different varieties. So not only does when a when a producer grows coffee, sometimes that coffee will be what they inherited. It'll be already growing on the land that they inherit from their family, or maybe purchase or or maybe they get it off a neighbour, for example.
Seb: And there's some stories about people receiving the initial seeds from the neighbours to start their coffee farms. But sometimes if a producer can, they'll actually start experimenting with different things and they will replace some of their trees with other varieties. And this means that a coffee farm can grow a multitude of different varieties. Sometimes these varieties will be kept separate and so a producer might grow caterer and bourbon. But then once they're picking the coffee, they'll only pick the caterer and sell that separately to the bone. And sometimes they'll grow couture and bon and they'll mix them together. And so this is where it comes to our packaging, where if we get a lot of coffee from a producer, then if the the varieties that they're growing will always try and list the varieties that have the biggest impact on cup quality first. So if the label says couture bourbon, it's mostly couture. It's got some of the bone in there as well. But sometimes you might find that a producer grows four or five or six different varieties, especially when you have a co-op or an association or some other some other group of farmers that are selling coffee together. And so this means that the the actual amount, the list of varieties can be pretty significant, which means that sometimes actually just isn't enough room on the label.
Seb: So we replace a lot of this with just a plus symbol, which means in this instance, maybe couture, bourbon and some other stuff that doesn't actually impact cup quality that much, but it's definitely in there. So we need to make sure that we're being transparent about the fact that it is not just couture and bare bone in this example, but there's other stuff in there and it doesn't impact cup quality or characteristics that much. When you start to notice the varieties that you're drinking, it's a really good it's a really good way to, as you're drinking new and interesting coffees, to take note of what you're drinking, because that way, next time you're buying coffee, you can look for a similar variety. And this is a really big indicator of quality. So we'll have another video coming out very soon and a turning point, and we'll talk more about how variety actually impacts cup quality. But this is a starting point and this is an answer to your question, Erin, on exactly what the plus symbol means on the top of our packaging. So that's a great question. And if anyone's got any more, please send them through to me at email@example.com and I'll get to it in a video coming out very soon. Thanks very much and see you next week.