We have known primary defect 1 and primary defect 2, this time we will discuss secondary defects in coffee. In contrast to primary defects, secondary defects here refer to coffee bean defects that are minor or not as significant as primary defects.

There are many examples of secondary defects such as partial black, partial sour, parchment, floater, immature/unripe, withered, shell, broken/chipped, hull/husk, and slight insect damage. In this article, we will summarize four examples of secondary defects.

What are the secondary defects in coffee? Let’s see the explanation below!


This defect can usually be recognized in the physical characteristics of coffee beans which have an off-white and mottled color.

To find out whether the coffee beans are classified as floaters or not, another way is to put the coffee beans in water. If it floats, then it is most likely a low-density floater .

The first coffee bean defect that can be classified as a secondary defect is floater.

There are various factors that make coffee beans classified as floaters. Lack of nutrients in the coffee plant during the growth process can cause the beans to become deformed and fall into the floater category.

During processing, coffee beans also have the potential to become floaters if the coffee storage and drying process is not done properly. In addition, a parchment storage container that is too moist and the presence of residual parchment in the dryer or terrace are also other reasons why coffee beans can become floaters.

In defect testing, five floater seeds will be rated as equivalent to 1 full defect. The presence of floaters will usually reduce the enjoyment of the coffee flavor without causing off-flavors in the coffee.

To overcome this defect problem, the processor can get around it by drying the parchment evenly and gradually until it reaches the expected moisture content.

Appropriate use of density sorting, color sorting, and hand sorting according to coffee density also needs to be considered to separate coffee beans classified as floaters.

Read also: Peel Through 3 Examples Primary Defect in Coffee Beans [Part 1]


Similar to floaters, the defect score also counts five shells as equivalent to 1 full defect.

The shell as part of the secondary defect has a physical form consisting of an inner and outer part. The outside of the shell is usually shaped like a scallop, while the inside is shaped like a cone or cylinder.

Moving on to the second example of a secondary defect, the shell or commonly referred to as the seed shell.

The inside and outside of the shell are often separate, but in some cases the two parts are still joined. If the two shell halves are separate, then they will be counted as one defective seed.

In terms of cup quality, the shell itself does not significantly impart off-flavor to the coffee. However, a burnt flavor can result from this type of defect given that the shell is quite flammable during the roasting process when the quantity is large enough.

Shell coffee beans are usually caused by natural factors derived from genetics. For this reason, it is very important for farmers or processors to choose the right coffee varieties that have less than seven percent defective beans.

During the drying process , the use of density sorting to separate the shell is also very important. Lastly, it is important to ensure that when roasting, the shell seeds are gone so that the possibility of burning the shell is minimized.


Another example of a secondary defect is a hull or husk. In the defect score test, five hull/husk are scored as equivalent to 1 full defect.

This defect usually occurs because during the dry/natural process, the coffee is not properly cleaned. Another reason for the hull/husk is the miscalibration of the pulping machine which does not fully separate the cherry skin pieces.

secondary defects in coffee
Hull/husk in short is a piece of coffee fruit skin or dried pulp that has a dark red color and sometimes contains remnants of mold.

In large quantities, the presence of hull/husk can impact the dirty, earthy, moldy, and phenolic flavor sensations of coffee.

To prevent hull/husk defects, the processing stage needs to be considered. At the wet mill stage, for example, it is important for the processor to ensure that the calibration of the pulping machine is correct and appropriate.

In addition, processors should also be more careful in observing the winnowing and density sorting process during the dry mill stage so that the hull/husk is not included in the sorted coffee.

Read also: Thoroughly Review 3 Examples of (Other) Primary Defects in Coffee Beans [Part 2]


Secondary defect parchment is a piece of coffee parchment that fails to be separated in the coffee sorting process.

In terms of cupping taste, the presence of parchment in coffee is often considered to have an impact on reducing the intensity of coffee flavor. This defect is also known to be quite flammable during the roasting process, causing a bitter and smoky taste sensation in the coffee.

secondary defects in coffee
Similar to the previous three examples of secondary defects, five parchments are also counted as equivalent to 1 full defect.

To minimize the amount of parchment, processors can ensure that the calibration of the hulling machine is correct during the dry mill process. In addition, the use of density sort ing can also be very useful for sorting and shredding existing parchments .

From the explanation above, we know more about the physical characteristics, causes, and effects of the presence of secondary defects such as floater, shell, hull/husk, and parchment in coffee. Although it does not directly impact the negative taste of coffee, secondary defects still need to be minimized for a high quality coffee to be present in a cup of coffee.

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