The line launched with 15 coffees, available in the 22-pound shipments online or through traditional green trade channels. It also is the latest program in the Royal offshoot The Crown, a tasting room, presentation space, cupping lab, brewing lab, and event space scheduled to open in Oakland early next year.
The Crown Jewel line reflects the “open-source coffee” ethos behind The Crown concept, meaning coffees in the line are supported by information regarding the origin of the coffee and the farmers behind it, its vitals in current green form, and recommended brewing devices and parameters. Perhaps most extraordinary are interactive roast charts.
The Crown General Manager Richard Sandlin recently told Daily Coffee News that the idea is to provide as much dynamic and practical information as possible about each small-package green coffee in the line, to give roasters a head start in developing their own interpretations.
“For people who are new to roasting in this way, it’s a good starting point,” said Sandlin. “And for people who are really experienced, it’s another data point.”
The Crown open-source concept is made possible in part by a partnership with the coffee roasting and inventory software company Cropster, while the Crown team itself — including roasting director Jen Apodaca, lab director Chris Kornman and creative director Evan Gilman — shares a wealth of knowledge in roasting, profiling and cupping.
From a marketing perspective, Sandlin suggested coffees in the Jewel line — many of which are also available in full bag form through Royal — can provide commercial roasters with an opportunity to highlight and promote the specialness of a limited-quantity coffee from a specific farm and of a specific cultivar. The program may prove of interest to home roasters, too, although Sandlin said time will tell.
“By having a smaller size, we can make some of these rarer coffees more approachable for many roasters,” said Sandlin, suggesting coffees in the line such as a Yemen natural make for a good fit by virtue of its exoticism. “If you want to do something really interesting and really brief, 22 pounds is a phenomenal size.”
Royal and The Crown are currently in the midst of revamping their website, and Sandlin said the Crown Jewel section will be seeing continuous updates of openly shared data. There are 15 coffees currently available in the Jewel line, most of which break down to between $6 to $8 per pound.