Coffee Is Social™


Sometimes a coffee is just a coffee. It’s part of your routine, a jolt in the morning or a post-dinner energizer

But there are those occasions when you can savour a coffee, when you can take the time to brew it right and experience everything that went into growing and roasting the beans.

On those occasions, the tastes and aromas of a coffee tell a story about the place it was grown and the people who cared for it along the way.



The sweeping smell of coffee once it’s prepared or once water is added. A coffee’s aroma can be strong or very subtle; neither are direct indications of a coffee’s quality. Some coffees are intentionally designed to have a soft, subtle aroma. It’s about finding what suits your tastes best.

A coffee’s texture and weight give an impression of its body. We commonly use the following terms to relate the extent of a coffee’s body: light, slight, medium, full, heavy, thick or syrupy. Body is a sensation, which means the experience can and will differ from person to person.

The sharp snap of a coffee. Brightness or acidity is not an indicator of coffee quality. Coffees that have low-level acidity are simply more softer and subtler.

The persistent or lingering quality of a coffee’s end. It can be long and dynamic or disappear quickly.

We commonly use the following terms to relate the flavours found in our coffees: chocolate, citrus, blueberry, fruity, earthy, brown sugar and walnut, among many others. “Roasty” is a flavour term unique to Salt Spring Coffee – it describes the long finish provided by a coffee’s dark roast level.

Ah yes, the lovely and delicious smell of dry coffee grounds before water is added. A sweet scent indicates a certain level of acidity while a strong, pungent scent indicates the coffee will enjoy a sharp taste. The intensity of a coffee’s fragrance indicates how fresh it is.

Of Japanese origin, think of it as the fifth taste: salty, sweet, bitter, sour and umami. Translated to English umami means savoury. Umami is also a sensation (same as body) which means that the umami experience can and will differ from person to person.


A wild coffee plant with origins in southwestern Ethiopia. It produces the highest quality coffee bean currently available on the market. We purchase only varietals of Arabica.

A method of sustainable farming practised by our Fair to Farmer growing partners at Finca Marin in Peru and Finca Los Pinos in Nicaragua.

A chipper is a piece of equipment that chops-up coffee plant trimmings and organic matter like leaves, branches and residue from wet processing. Mix all that with some cow and horse manure and there you have it – a good basic compost.

A large plant genus with more than 90 species, including Arabica.

Direct Trade
A term used by coffee roasters who buy directly from coffee farmers and co-ops. The intent is to develop long-standing, personal relationships with coffee farmers, removing coffee dealers and brokers from the financial transaction.

Direct trade roasters like us travel to origin on a consistent basis. We visit the homes of coffee farmers, meet their families and spend time getting to know the ins and outs of growing coffee in the region.

Harvest Season
The coffee cherry, like any fruit, has a prime harvest season. Harvest seasons vary from region to region and depend upon a range of factors including plant variety, soil type, altitude and the growing methods of each individual farmer.

To draw a comparison – just as apple growers in BC’s Okanagan Valley don’t harvest their crops year-round, the same goes for our partner farmers in Matagalpa, Nicaragua and Pangoa, Peru.

A term used by coffee professionals to describe the unique characteristics geography and climate instill in green coffee beans.

A coffee’s varietal is determined by the species of plant that the coffee bean originates from – just as the species of grape determines a wine’s varietal.


Natural Process
When coffee cherries are set to dry on a raised bed or patio, without washing, in full exposure to the sun.

Pulped Natural Process
A hybrid of natural and washed processing. The fruit of the coffee is removed, or pulped, before the beans are dried on a patio. Unlike washed processing, pulped natural does not include fermentation.

Washed Process
Washed coffee (sometimes referred to as wet pulping) begins by transferring whole, ripe coffee cherries into a large tank of water where the cherries are washed and sorted. Ripe cherries are spotted easily because they sink to the bottom of the tank. The soaked cherries are then transferred to a pulping machine where their skin is gently removed by cycling them through a heatless, dryer-like machine.

From here, the now pulp-free, green coffee beans undergo a 12-hour fermentation process before they are finally set out to dry in the sun on a drying patio.

Salt Spring Coffee | Believe in Being Better™
1-800-332-8858 |

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