Frequently Asked Questions about Coffee and the Process

We're far from conventional coffee roasters and that can bring about some questions. Here are the answers to some common questions we receive.

No problem! Just take our brief, five-question quiz and we'll get you started with something we believe you'll love, plus an additional reward for first-time customers!

That's a loaded question. We like to boil it down to three things:

First and absolutely primarily, we aim to live up to the name we chose for ourselves. Loving Labor Coffee Co. isn't just a nice alliteration, it's a way we choose to live. From our dealings with those around us to the care we put into each pound of coffee, we work to make sure that love is our main quality, on and off the clock. From love comes patience, kindness, honesty, and integrity.

Second, we separate ourselves from other "custom" roasters by using a to-order model. We never let coffee sit on shelves for weeks or months all while claiming it's "fresh-roasted" like many other coffee companies. We want to deliver the absolute freshest coffee possible for a one-of-a-kind, luxurious experience. When you order, the coffee beans are raw. They're roasted to your specified level, vacuum-sealed, and either personally delivered or sent via USPS Priority Mail. By using the to-order roasting model, you know precisely what you're getting, rather then generic "Medium Roast, 100% Arabica" types of descriptions.

Third, we keep our costs low. That's it. By factoring shipping into our price and using the to-order model, we cut wasted product and man-hours, which means big savings that we'd rather offset to you.

Our desire is to make a living, not a killing.

That's a great question, and to answer, let's get a little scientific. Coffee as we all know and love it starts out as small, green "beans," as seen in the image below. If you try grinding raw beans, you'll not only end up with a disgusting cup of coffee, but it'll likely destroy your grinder in the process. Roasting the bean allows for natural sugars to caramelize, the chaff surrounding the bean to fall off, and for the bean to soften for grinding. The deeper the roast, the more sugars caramelize and more flavors develop (this is what most people refer to when they describe their coffee as "bold.")

There is a catch, though. At a certain point the caramelization peaks, and further roasting will begin to char the bean. Some people like this flavor, some people don't.

For comparison, think of it like a steak. A steak shouldn't be eaten raw, as it has to have heat added for both flavor and safety reasons. Some people prefer only a sear on the outside, while some people prefer it very well done. The same principle applies with coffee; it's all up to personal preference.

coffee bean roasting levels roast coffee company

Our Light, American, and New England (available upon request) roasts would be considered light roasts, beginning at about the sixth bean from the left in the image above. The Light roast is where coffee becomes technically drinkable, but the grassy, earthen flavor appeal only to a very select few. American is most often used for cupping (tasting the unique flavors of an origin or blend), as there is very little roast flavor. New England is often found in New England, naturally, and begins to have a little more coffee flavor, but still quite earthy. These roasts are where the most flavor of the individual origin or blend is preserved, but we still recommend these roasts only to those who know they enjoy them.

City and Full City would be considered medium roasts. Most if not all people who say they prefer a light roast would enjoy a City roast, and those that say they prefer medium roast would enjoy Full City. There's a nice balance between the flavor of the roast and the flavor of the bean. We recommend most new customers begin here and go up or down in roast as they prefer.

Vienna, French, Italian, and Spanish would be considered dark roasts. Here there will be noticeable oil buildup, with significant amounts beginning at the French roast. For that reason, we recommend cleaning your grinder thouroughly before grinding French, Italian, or Spanish roasts; your grinder may clog with oil if you do not. Most espressos are found at either French and Italian. Here, most of the flavor of the origin or blend is lost, replaced by a more smoky, roasted flavor.

Spanish (sometimes called Neapolitan or Dark French) is quite literally a few degrees away from burnt. Any flavor of the origin or blend is lost, replaced with a smoky, charred taste. We recommend this roast only to those who know they enjoy it.

We promise we won't give you burnt coffee (though Spanish is inching that line pretty close).

There's a long-standing myth that darker coffee has more caffeine than lighter coffee, but it's just that, a myth. Caffeine is very stable; it would have to be roasted well after consumable to change the chemical structure. What does change, however, is density. Darker coffee is less dense than lighter coffee. If you take a scoop of a Full City roast and a scoop of Italian roast, your Full City will weigh more, which technically would give the lighter roast more caffeine. If you weighed the two out 1-1, you'd have more dark beans than light, so a dark roast would have the caffeine edge.

Think of it like this. If you have twenty ripe grapes and twenty raisins, which would weigh more? The grapes. If you had a pound of grapes and a pound of raisins, which would have the higher amount? The raisins. Lighter coffees are like the grapes, darker coffees are like the raisins. Either which way, the caffeine difference is quite negligible, so we recommend ordering whatever roast level you enjoy most. If you need caffeine, your best bet is to drink more coffee, and we want you to enjoy every sip.

We'd be delighted to! Please fill out the Wholesale form with the name and location of your business, your approximate usage per week in pounds, and a time convenient for you and we'll arrange a tasting of any coffees you may be interested in. We offer competitive wholesale discounts and, depending on your volume of your coffee needs, we may also lease equipment to your business to get you serving your customers the best coffee ASAP.

No worries! Just use the Custom Order Request form and let us know exactly what you'd like and we'll be happy to roast it just so.

Coffee is similar to wine in that no two of either are exactly the same, and a sommelier can pinpoint the differences. For example, our Columbia Dulima has undertones of "dark chocolate, red grape, and orange rind," with a flavor profile of "red fruits, apple, and caramel." None of those things are actually in the coffee, but the human brain is desperate to find something it recognizes in just about any situation. When you take a sip of that coffee, you will taste coffee, but your brain will think there are also other subtle flavors as well. Those subtle flavors are called notes, undertones, hints, and so on, and are all part of the overall flavor profile of the coffee.

Simply put, they're all delicious. The only way to find out for sure is to try them!

We are open from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM (MST) Monday through Friday. Any orders placed outside of business hours will be prepared the next business day. Orders requiring shipping may be roasted and shipped the next USPS business day in order to preserve maximum freshness, especially if placed after 1:00 PM, on a weekend, or on a federal holiday. If you have a coffee emergency, please use the Contact Us form and we will be more than happy to do our best to accommodate you.

The short answer: quickly. The long answer: Depending on where you would like to have your coffee delivered, we have two options: local delivery or USPS Priority Mail shipping. If you live in the Tucson, AZ metro area, your coffee will be personally delivered to your specified address the same day it was roasted. If you would like your coffee shipped elsewhere, it will be shipped the day it was roasted.

All over the state of Arizona! Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, Scottsdale, Glendale, Yuma, Gilbert, Peoria, Surprise, Tempe, Sedona, Tombstone; if it's in the Grand Canyon State, we'll ship to you quick, fast, and in a hurry!

We get our beans from distributors and wholesalers that work directly with farms in each region. We've checked and double checked to ensure that each supplier does fair trade, meaning the farmers get appropriate pay for their hard work and precious beans.

Absolutely not! When coffee is roasted, carbon dioxide gas builds up inside the bean and is let out through the coffee bean. That gas is what gives coffee it's signature, delicious aroma. That's also the smell of coffee beginning to go stale. The sooner you get those beans into your grinder and make yourself a cup of coffee, the better flavor you get.

Again, let's use the steak metaphor mentioned in the "What do the different roast levels mean" question. While still safe to eat an hour after being cooked, a steak is much more enjoyable when it's delivered hot off the grill within minutes. The same goes with coffee: the fresher, the better.

That depends on a few factors. Coffee has a serious problem with oxygen and light. As more air and light are introduced to the coffee bean, it begins to oxidize and will soon go stale. If coffee is taken right out of the roaster, cooled to an appropriate temperature, vacuum-sealed (all of which we do for every order), and immediately stored in a dark, dry place, it'll have about a month before the quality significantly diminishes. After that point we'd recommend purchasing a fresh bag. If the bag is opened and placed in those same conditions, it'll be about two weeks before the coffee goes stale. Once the coffee is ground, it has about twenty minutes before most of its freshness is lost, regardless of storage conditions

Please see the above question. We pride ourselves in serving the freshest coffee beans around, therefore we encourage all our customers to grind their coffee immediately before brewing to preserve maximum freshness and flavor.

Store your coffee in a cool, dry place away from any artificial or natural lights and away from anything with a strong odor. Coffee takes on itself the flavor and odor of what surrounds it. We learned the hard way many years ago that absentmindedly storing coffee next to onions is a terrible idea. Avoid freezing or refrigerating your coffee for this same reason.

We use a fluid-bed roaster with a one-to-fifty pound batch capacity. Instead of a traditional drum roaster that churns beans and leaves burnt spots upon contact with hot metal, our state-of-the-art fluid-bed roaster lofts the beans in hot air, roasting the beans without leaving burnt spots. This ensures an even roast throughout the entire bean, reducing bitterness and making for a smoother finish. It's also how we roast to-order, as we don't have to roast in large batches each time.

There are three things you should check first and foremost: your water temperature grind size coffee amount. this chart can help troubleshoot some commonly encountered problems:

Factor Problem #1 Problem #2 Solution
Water Temperature Harsh flavor caused by water too hot Dull flavor caused by water too cool Set your water temperature to between 195°-200°F
Grind Size Harsh, strong flavor caused by too fine a grind Dull, bitter flavor caused by too coarse a grind Adjust the coarseness of your grinder
Coffee Amount Strong, but little flavor caused by too much coffee Weak, but over-developed flavor caused by too little coffee Adjust how much coffee you use per cup/pot

If an issue still persists, contact us and we'll do our best to troubleshoot your problem.

Yes, actually! We have solar panels installed on our building and we deliver in an electric vehicle. All of our equipment, including the vehicle charger, runs on solar power. We’ve also partnered with Planet to offset carbon emissions produced from shipping and manufacturing.

Try as we might, we can't read minds. If you have a question that wasn't answered here, use our Contact Us form and we'll be happy to get back to you!