[Homeroast] identifying green beans

Colin Wen colinwen at gmail.com
Thu Jan 5 00:16:18 CST 2012

Sorry I dont want to ruin the interesting discussion of this topic.
However, from what I understand the DNA is not almighty.

DNA is just a genetic information of every organism.
Different taxonomy level have different DNA sequence, different
individual have different similarity of DNA sequence too.
However, it does not mean we can tell the individual from another
group in reality.
First, we have to assume the bean from different region have different
DNA sequence.
Because we do want to see the fact that Hawaiian Kona is the same as
PNG one (which is probably the truth).
Before we do the analysis, we still need to build up a database of all
(or most) the bean from all the region.
Then we can indicate where the "mysterious one" from.

Second, the fact we care about where these bean come from is not
really what the DNA they are.
We care about the coffee we drink and which make our cup special is
the microclimate the bean from.

That means you can dig a coffee tree from Hawaii and plan it in PNG,
then these bean from the two tree have exactly the same DNA but the
flavour is far different.

Therefore, what we should do is to find out what the factor make the
flavor different between Hawaii and PNG(or other region).

I will suggest the HPLC (High-performance liquid chromatography) and
protein expression (RNA analysis).
These two method might analyze the real different in chemical complex
of the bean from each region.
But the same, you have to build up the database and know which
chemical or RNA/protein to look at.
I believe the different year/date of harvest of bean will show
different result of HPLC/RNA.

In conclusion, so far even we have the best technology nowadays, I
dont think there is one 100% (or 90%) accuracy way to tell where the
bean from WITHOUT asking the seller.

The bottom line is buying the bean from trustworthy dealer/seller may
be the best way.

ps. I hope I did not ruin this subject (and maybe no one read through
my whole typing)

On 5 January 2012 13:44, Joseph Robertson <theotherjo at gmail.com> wrote:
> I work with beans from many regions but I want to hear what Tom has to say
> to this question. I might be able to tell by taste if I roasted them but
> the only other sure way I know is DNA.
> Joe
> On Wed, Jan 4, 2012 at 3:07 PM, j3r <j at j3r.org> wrote:
>> I bought some sketchy Hawaii beans, wondering if there is any way to
>> verify them. I guess I could buy some from a reputable seller and compare
>> but even then they could be from different regions, years, etc.
>> If I posted a photo would an expert be able to say anything about the bean?
>> Jeremy
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> Joseph Robertson
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