Who Put the Chaff in My Coffee?

Periodically we get phone calls from customers asking us about the brown
Chaff in Ground Coffee
flakes in our light and medium roasted coffees. We tell them it is coffee chaff and it is natural in all ground coffees. We think they believe us but we wonder.
Nature goes to great extremes to protect coffee beans. There are five protective layers between the bean and the air: skin, fruit, mucilage, parchment, and silverskin.
We remove the skin, fruit and parchment mechanically. We remove the mucilage by hydrolyzing it with natural yeast and enzymes. We don’t try to remove the silverskin because most of it comes off in the roaster and because some of the silverskin is folded inside of the bean. It is the folded-in silverskin that shows up when you grind your coffee.

Here is a cross section of a coffee fruit showing the skin, the fruit, the mucilage and the bean. The parchment and the

silverskin are hidden by the mucilage.
Cross Section of Ripe Coffee Bean
Here is a cross section showing the folded in silverskin that is going to show up as chaff when the roasted coffee is ground.
Chaff on Green Coffee Bean
Chaff may actually be a sign of high quality coffee. More chaff shows up in hard coffee beans that have been light or medium roasted. The theory is that the hard beans hold onto the folded-in chaff more than soft beans.
Dark roasted coffee appears to have less chaff because more of it is burnt up in the roaster and the remaining chaff is darker.
Chaff has no real flavor other than from the oils it absorbs from the coffee beans. Therefore it doesn’t add or detract from your coffee flavor.
Chaff is trapped by the filter in your brewer so it doesn’t show up in your cup. Commercial coffee usually doesn’t have chaff because large roasters remove it after the roasting process.
So when you grind our coffee and see some light brown flakes we hope that you take it as a sign we grow and roast a good hard bean coffee.

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