Grade 1: Speciality Grade Coffee Beans
This is the highest grade of beans, and to be classified as Grade 1 Coffee, the beans need to have no primary defects and 0-3 full defects, with a maximum of 5% above and below the specified screen size. When cupping, these beans need to have a distinct attribute in one of the areas of taste, acidity, body or aroma, and be free of cup faults. These beans also need to have zero of what is referred to as “Quakers” which are unripe or poorly roasted beans.
Grade 2: Premium Grade Coffee Beans
The second highest grade, and the one you most often would be drinking, these beans are the same as Grade 1 coffee beans, but are allowed a maximum of 3 Quakers and 0-8 defects.
Grade 3: Exchange Grade Coffee Beans
These beans will have 50% above screen 15 and 5% below it, with a maximum of 5 quakers, free from faults, but between 9-23 full defects are permissible. Supermarket brands are using these beans.
Grade 4: Standard Grade Coffee Beans
These will have 24 to 86 full defects per 300g. These are getting into dodgy territory.
Grade 5: Off Grade Coffee Beans
You really don’t want these beans, they have more than 86 full defects per 300g.