Coffee is one of the things we first think about when we wake up. It keeps us alive and active throughout the whole day. It provides us with our needed caffeine intake should we need to stay awake throughout the night.
With that thought, we are left wondering, from the tree, how did it landed in our coffee cup? From the time it has been picked up by the coffee picker, it will undergo 10 steps, before it lands on your cup.
PLANTING – A coffee bean is actually a seed. It usually takes four years for the seed to grow into a shrub which will in turn produce coffee cherries for harvesting. When the coffee bean is not dried, roasted and grind, it can be planted and it will grow into a coffee tree again. Generally, coffee seeds are planted on large beds where they will be taken care of until they are ready to produce coffee cherries.
HARVESTING THE CHERRIES – It usually takes about 3-4 years for a newly coffee trees to begin to bear fruit depending on its variety. The coffee cherry will turn deep red once its ready to be harvested and hand or machine picked depending on the land area. 2 ways of picking: Strip picking is where the coffee lot is harvested all at once while Selective picking is done in which only the ripe cherries are harvested.
PROCESSING THE CHERRIES – Processing of the coffee bean must start quickly right after it has been picked. This is to prevent it from getting spoiled. Coffee is processed in 2 ways depending on its location. Dry Method is the processing of coffee in a location where water is of limited resources. This is an old way of processing coffee beans. The cherries are stretched on a huge surface for drying and then get covered at night to prevent it from getting wet. This process may take a few weeks for each batch of coffee. Process will end when the cherries moisture is at 11 percent.
Wet method is the method where the pulp is removed from the cherry and the bean is dried and left with the parchment only. The cherries are passed on a pulp machine then washed away by water to be dried and use mulch. They are then seperated by weight and size. They will then be moved to a water filled fermentation tank where they are left there for 12 – 48 hours to remove the slick layer of mucilage. Once done, they are now ready for drying.
DRYING THE BEANS – Coffee beans must have approximately 11 percent of moisture so that they can be prepared for storage. If they are processed using the wet method, they need to go on the drying stage to achieve that. They can be sun dried or machine dried.
MILLING THE BEANS – Parchment coffee are processed once again before they are exported. They undergo the following process: Hulling – removing of the entire dried husk of the dried cherries; Polishing is an optional process should there are still some skin that remained during hulling process; and, Grading and sorting is the process where the coffee is sorted by size, weight, color or any flaws.
EXPORTING THE BEANS – Green coffee, as what a milled and processed coffee is called, is now ready to be transported to an importing country. They are either shipped in jute or sisal bags.
TASTING THE COFFEE – Coffee is repeatedly tested for quality and taste. This is referred to as cupping, where the taster carefully evaluates the beans for their quality, noses the brew for its aroma and slurps a spoonful with a quick inhallation then spit it out after weighing it.
ROASTING THE COFFEE - Roasting is the process where the green coffee turns into the brown aromatic beans we purchased. Most roasting machines are about 550 degrees fahrenheit and is on constant movement to prevent the coffee from burning. This process is usually done on the importing country as freshly roasted beans must reach the consumers as soon as possible.
GRINDING THE COFFEE – Proper grinding lets the most flavor of the coffee out. The texture of the coffee(hoarse or fine) depends on the method of brewing you intend to do.
BREWING COFFEE – Before brewing your roasted coffee using your most preferred process take time to smell it and examine it. It has gone thru a long way before it lands on your coffee cup.