Coffee is not something that is manufactured in a plant; it is actually a plant.
There is a revolution and reawakening surrounding specialty coffee, and how you get to buy whole bean coffee
Complex, diverse, and deeply personal are ways you can describe the coffee beans journey. Let's explore the incredible journey the seed takes before it gets into your cup.
Coffee is Indeed a Plant
The coffee bean begins its journey as an unroasted, unprocessed seed in the ground. Its origin is Yemen and Ethiopia, but it now has a global footprint.
You will not only find coffee in California, but also places such as Asia, South America, Central America, and Africa.
The types of coffee that grow in each region are different. Factors such as genetics, climate, bacteria, soil, and a host of other factors play into the final variety. Neighboring farms can actually produce very different types.
Fertilizers, adaptation to different water cycles, crop rotation, and careful monitoring play a significant role in the outcome.
It is all about the application of the right scientific principles and nurturing by the farmers.
Expect to wait 2-5 years before cherries start to come out. Within the cherries are the much-sought-after green coffee beans. Harvesting of the coffee requires the skill of seasonal workers who have the right training.
At the farm stage, the coffee beans get the right flavors, aroma, acids, and sugars.
The target profile is very specific and requires a level of manipulation to achieve the right results.
ProcessingThe first step in the processing is the extraction of beans from the cherries. There are three main ways to do it, with slight variations depending on the farmer.
The Natural Method
The farmer will dry the cherries on dry beds or massive patios for 2-4 weeks, depending on the weather. Dry seeds then go into a machine to remove the outer part.
The resulting coffee typically has a heavy body, floral or wild fruit aroma, and milder acidity. The character is attributable to the fact that the fruit and beans remain attached longer, during the drying duration.
The Washed Method
Pulping of the skin is immediate, after which comes in the fermentation of the sugary beans in water. The process takes anywhere within 12 to 72 hours. Afterward, the former will wash away the mucilage and dry the seeds.
The fruity flavor disappears, because of the early separation of the cherry and the seeds. You, however, get an uninterrupted coffee bean flavor with higher acidity and better clarity.
The Honey Method
The Honey method incorporates the caramelizing of the mucilage. The farmer removes the seeds with mucilage.
He then dries them until the sugar caramelizes and turns into a dark yellow, black color. The resulting coffee is very sweet with medium clarity, acidity, and body.
Global Shipping of Coffee BeansOnce the coffee beans achieve 10 to 12% of drying, they're ready for storage and shipping globally. Initially, coffee dealers lost a lot because of moisture build-up when transiting over the ocean. Moisture in coffee beans leads to loss of, or the introduction of new flavors and microbial.
Nowadays, exporters use special bags such as those you will find from Grainpro. Special seals ensure the maintenance of the right microclimate within the bag for months on end.
It helps maintain the integrity of the coffee while keeping away the growth of microbial.
The Art and Science of Coffee Roasting
There is an actual craft that incorporates the use of senses and measurement tools to develop coffee flavors.
The enviable job belongs to a select group of craftsmen known as specialty roasters. The task is not to create but to unlock available characters.
Humidity, airflow, temperature differential, and roasting time will determine the outcome. The roster has to find the perfect balance to unlock flavors.
Brewing That Perfect Cup of Coffee
Whatever your flavor is, whether espresso, pour-over cones, or French presses, you have to get the process right. Bitter coffee is indicative of very hot water. Weak coffee means your water was too cold.
Muted flavors show there's too much calcium in the water. Knowing how to brew the perfect cup of specialty coffee is critical.
Even as you buy whole bean coffee to enjoy, do not forget the journey and the players who allow you to enjoy such little pleasures of life.