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Description: Coffee beans are subject to a natural loss in weight and to seepage due to its sensitivity to moisture. Coffee is usually shipped in loosely woven bags to allow free circulation of air. The texture of these bags is of such a nature that it is easily disarranged in handling, resulting in actual leakage of the contents. Some of the bags are so poorly constructed that every time the bag is handled, the texture is disarranged, particularly at the mouths of the bags, and loss of contents occurs. The swelling of coffee beans may be due to the natural absorption of moisture, which may also result in the bursting of the bags. High temperature and humidity will accelerate such conditions. Green coffee in particular absorbs odors very readily, and dampness of this type of bean will cause softening, resulting in loss of flavor. When stowed in the same hold or in close proximity to unrefined sugar, coffee beans are likely to become odorous and ferment. In an incident where coffee was damaged by contact with linseed oil, and believed to be a total loss, the beans were subjected to washing on five separate occasions, using solvents, rinsing, and then drying by forced hot air. As a result of this treatment it was found after roasting that, while having lost some of its aroma, the coffee was nevertheless fit for drinking, and was found to have depreciated 30%. Coffee, particularly washed coffee which has been mistreated during the period of preparation, may ferment. This fermentation spoils the taste and odor of the bean. Fermented coffee will have a very bad smell recalling the odor of dry skins, particularly "goat skins." In fact, in the trade, fermented coffees are sometimes called "Hidey" coffee. When called to survey such coffees, surveyors should try to determine whether it is a fermented coffee or a coffee that has been contaminated by stowage in the same compartment as a cargo of skins. The smell is identical and difficult to differentiate Direct Water Damage - Beans which have been contaminated by water deteriorate to a great extent and may turn black and are often coated with a form of mildew. In cases of very bad damage, the black beans are inclined to stick together in little groups. Beans so damaged take on a musty odor which remains with them even after the roasting and grinding processes. With seawater damage, the sacking may be stained red. In the case of recently damaged coffee it should be immediately spread and dried. If these measures are taken promptly, the coffee may be saved and the depreciation of its quality minimized. Indirect Water Damage - This is brought about by the coffee absorbing moisture from the air. In this case the beans may lose color, swell and take on a musty smell, but it is not likely that they will turn black as in the case of damage by direct water contact. Certain coffees such as Iquitos from Peru are known to be shipped in this condition, but may not necessarily be classified as damaged. Country Damage - A term commonly given to direct water damage which occurs in the country of origin prior to the bagging of the beans. When surveying consignments of coffee which have been damaged by water, the only means of stating whether it is country damaged as against damage sustained on the voyage is by the position of the black beans in the bags. With country damage the damaged beans will be dispersed in patches throughout the bags (as when damage occurs prior to bagging) but damage can also show on the skin of the bag (as when damage occurs after bagging but prior to shipment). Those beans which have been damaged during a journey will generally show in greater volume on the skin of the bag. This is, however, by no means certain as so many coffees are packed in such a manner as to leave plenty of room for movement of the contents during transit. By slitting the bags from top to bottom the position of damaged beans should be readily evident. When coffee is improperly prepared or insufficiently dried, damage frequently shows itself by the beans in the center of the bags being soft, swollen and mildewed and this is the most difficult form of damage to deal with, as there is seldom any sign externally of damage having occurred.
Index: 217
Commodity Name: COFFEE (Beans)

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