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10 Steps From Seed to Cup

It has been a long journey for the coffee you enjoy every day to reach your cup.

Between the time coffee beans are planted, harvested, and purchased, they typically go through a series of steps to bring out their best.

1. Planting

The coffee bean is actually a seed. It is used to brew coffee when dried, roasted and ground. If the seed is not processed, it can be planted and turned into a coffee tree.

Coffee seeds are often sown in large beds in shady nurseries. The seedlings will be watered frequently and shaded from bright sunlight until they are hearty enough to be permanently planted. Planting is usually done during the rainy season so the soil stays moist while the roots are firmly established.

2. Harvesting the Cherries

It will take about 3 to 4 years for newly planted coffee trees to bear fruit, depending on the variety. The fruit, called the coffee cherry, turns a bright, deep red when ripe and ready to be harvested.

Usually there is one big harvest per year. In countries with biannual blooms, such as Colombia, there is a main and a secondary crop.

In most countries the crop is harvested by hand in a labor-intensive and difficult process, but where the landscape is relatively flat and coffee plantations are dense, such as Brazil, the process is mechanized. All coffees, whether by hand or machine, are harvested in one of two ways:

Peeling: All of the cherries are plucked from the branch at once or by machine.

Selective Picking: Only ripe cherries are harvested and hand picked individually. Pickers rotate through the trees every eight to 10 days, selecting only cherries that are at the peak of maturity. Because this type of harvest is labor intensive and more costly, it is primarily used for harvesting finer Arabica beans.

3. Processing of Cherries

After the coffee is harvested, processing should begin as soon as possible to avoid spoilage of the fruit. Depending on location and local sources, coffee is processed in one of two ways:

The Dry Method is a very old method of coffee processing and is still used in many countries where water resources are limited. Freshly picked cherries are laid out on large surfaces to dry in the sun. In order not to spoil the cherries, they are raked and rotated during the day, then they are covered so that they do not get wet at night or in the rain. Depending on the weather, this process may continue for several weeks until the moisture content of the cherries for each batch of coffee drops to 11%.

The Wet Method removes the pulp from the coffee cherry after harvest so that the kernel is dried only with the parchment bark. First, freshly harvested cherries are passed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp from the core.

Then the seeds are separated according to their weights as they pass through the water channels. The lighter kernels float to the top, while the heavier mature kernels sink to the bottom. They are passed through a series of rotating drums that separate them by size.

After separation, the beans are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. Depending on a combination of factors such as the condition of the beans, climate, and altitude, they will stay in these tanks for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to remove the slippery layer of mucilage (called the parenchyma). still attached to the parchment. While resting in the tanks, naturally occurring enzymes will cause this layer to dissolve.

When fermentation is complete, the beans feel hard to the touch. The beans are rinsed by passing through additional water channels and become ready to dry.

4. Drying the Beans

If the beans have been processed by the wet method, pulped and fermented beans must now be dried to about 11% moisture to prepare them suitable for storage.

Still contained in a parchment envelope (endocarp), these beans can be sun-dried or machine-dried in large glasses by spreading them on drying tables or floors, where they are rotated regularly. Dry beans are known as parchment coffee and are stored in jute or sisal bags until ready for export.

5. Grinding Beans

Before the coffee is exported, parchment is processed as follows:

The peelers remove the parchment layer (endocarp) from the wet-processed coffee. Peeling dry-processed coffee means removing all of the dried rind (exocarp, mesocarp, and endocarp) of the dried cherries.

Polishing is an optional process in which the remaining silver shell is machine-removed after the beans have been shelled. While polished cores are considered superior to unpolished ones, in reality there is little difference between the two.

Grading and Sorting is done by size and weight, and beans are also reviewed for color flaws or other defects.

The beans are sized by passing them through a series of sieves. They are also classified as pneumatic, using an air jet to separate the heavy kernels from the light kernels.

Typically, the core size is represented on a scale of 10 to 20. The number is one inch Represents the size of the diameter of a round hole in 1/64th of n. Core 10 would be the approximate size of a 10/64 inch diameter hole and core 15 would be the approximate size of a 15/64 inch diameter hole.

Finally, the defective cores are removed either by hand or by machine. The seeds that are insufficient due to their deficiencies (unacceptable size or color, over-fermented, damaged by pests, without shell) are removed. In many countries this process is done both by machine and by hand, ensuring that only the best quality coffee beans are exported.

6. Tasting of Coffee

The coffee is repeatedly tested for quality and taste. It usually takes place in a specially designed room to facilitate the process.

First, the taster, often called copper, evaluates the beans for their overall visual quality. The beans are then roasted in a small laboratory roaster, immediately ground and steeped in boiling water at carefully controlled temperature. Cupper sticks his nose into the brew to experience its aroma, an important step in assessing the quality of the coffee.

After letting the coffee rest for a few minutes, it breaks the coffee by pushing aside the grounds on the top of the cup. Before the tasting begins, coffee is drunk again.

To taste the coffee, the cup slurps a spoonful with a quick breath. The goal is to spray the coffee evenly over the coffee's taste buds and then weigh it on the tongue before spitting out.

Samples from various batches and different beans are tasted daily. Coffees are analyzed not only to determine their characteristics and flaws, but also to blend different beans or create the appropriate roast. An expert coffee maker can sample hundreds of coffees a day and still taste the subtle differences between them.

7. Roasting the Coffee

Roasting turns green coffee into aromatic brown beans that we buy from our favorite stores or cafes. Most roasters maintain a temperature of about 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans are moved throughout the entire process to prevent them from burning.

When they reach an internal temperature of about 400 degrees Fahrenheit, they begin to brown and caffeol, a fragrant oil locked inside the beans, begins to emerge. This process, called pyrolysis, is at the heart of roasting – it produces the flavor and aroma of the coffee we drink.

After roasting, the beans are immediately cooled with air or water. Roasting is usually done in importing countries because freshly roasted beans need to reach the consumer as soon as possible.

8. Coffee Grinding

The goal of a proper grind is to get the most flavor in a cup of coffee. How coarse or fine the coffee is ground depends on the brewing method.

The time the grounds will come into contact with water determines the ideal grinding degree. In general, the finer the grind, the faster the coffee should be prepared. This is why ground coffee for an espresso machine is much finer than coffee brewed in a drip system.

We recommend taking a moment to examine the beans and smell their aroma – in fact, the smell of coffee alone has been shown to have energizing effects on the brain.

10. Brewing Coffee

You can consume the coffee you grind by brewing it with the brewing technique you want.


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