Coffee is one of the world's most beloved beverages, enjoyed by millions of people every day.
But have you ever wondered how that fragrant cup of morning brew goes from a coffee bean on a faraway farm to the comforting liquid in your mug?
In this blog post, we'll take you on a journey from the coffee farm to your cup, exploring the fascinating process that transforms humble coffee beans into a delicacy.
Cultivation and Harvesting
Coffee is grown on trees that produce small, red or yellow fruit called coffee cherries. Different than your typical cherries, these cherries contain two coffee beans each, nestled within a layer of pulp and parchment.
The first step in coffee production is the careful cultivation of these trees, which requires the right climate, altitude, and soil conditions.
We choose coffee cherries that are harvested by hand, with the goal of picking only the ripest cherries to ensure the highest quality beans.
Once harvested, coffee cherries go through various processing methods, depending on the region and the desired flavor profile. The two primary methods are:
a. Dry Processing: In this method, cherries are spread out in the sun to dry. This process can take up to several weeks, during which the cherries are regularly turned to ensure even drying. These beans are typically sweeter because the beans absorb the cherry-like flavors during drying.
b. Wet Processing: Here, cherries are pulped to remove the outer skin and then fermented to break down the mucilage. After fermentation, the beans are thoroughly washed and dried.
The beans we source from Tanzania are processed by central facilities run by the Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS), which helps smaller farms obtain access to larger and more effective processing units.
Milling and Sorting
After processing, the coffee beans are still encased in parchment and may contain impurities.
Milling involves removing this parchment and any remaining debris. The beans are then sorted based on size and density to ensure uniformity.
Roasting is where the magic happens, transforming the green coffee beans into aromatic brown beans ready for brewing.
Roasters use precise temperature, air flow, and time settings to develop the desired flavor, aroma, and color.
Light roasts retain more of the bean's original characteristics, while dark roasts develop bold, smoky flavors.
Once roasted, coffee beans must be ground to the appropriate consistency for brewing. The grind size varies depending on the brewing method, from coarse for French press to fine for espresso.
Now comes the moment you've been waiting for—brewing your coffee. There are numerous methods to choose from, including:
a. Drip Brewing: Using machines like drip coffee makers.
b. Espresso: Producing a concentrated shot of coffee using high pressure.
c. French Press: Immersing ground coffee in hot water and pressing it through a mesh filter.
d. Pour-Over: Pouring hot water over ground coffee in a controlled manner.
e. Cold Brew: Steeping coffee grounds in cold water for an extended period.
If you haven't tried each of these, it may be worth doing so! Each method produces a slightly different result, allowing you to personalize your coffee exactly how you like it.
Enjoying Your Coffee
Finally, it's time to savor your coffee. Whether you like it black, with milk and sugar, or as a specialty concoction from a local café, coffee offers a wide range of flavors and experiences to suit every palate.
The journey of coffee, from farm to cup, is a complex and fascinating process involving careful cultivation, harvesting, processing, roasting, and brewing.
Each step contributes to the final flavor and aroma of the coffee you enjoy.
So the next time you take a sip of your favorite brew, take a moment to appreciate the incredible journey that brought it to your cup.
Let us know: is visiting a coffee farm on your bucket list?