Let’s grab a Coffee – what does that mean to people, what does this mean to you? It could mean to sit down for 30mins and have a chat catch up with friends or does it mean “you” time. When you sit down and relax drift away with your thoughts. You could love to work in a coffee shop. This is becoming the norm for the digital artisan who works with their laptop. Making your coffee can be done in various ways with various equipment from quick and easy instant coffee, using a bean to cup espresso machine, grinding and using a barista style espresso machine, drip coffee, pour over coffee and various percolator’s like the Unimatic coffee pot as featured on the Netflix documentary Coffee for All.
But what goes into your favorite coffee cup? The process from coffee seed to cup broken down into 8 steps.
Planted & grown – Arabica & Robusta are the two main types of coffee and come from the coffee plants Coffea Arabica & Coffea canephora. Arabica is the most popular with 75% of coffee in the world produced by these plants while the Robusta makes up the rest. Arabica is the most commonly used because of the taste, the Robusta coffee bean is higher in caffeine but this gives the flavour a more bitter taste. The coffee bean produced by these plants is actually a seed and if picked and unprocessed can be planted to grow the coffee tree, which can grow to between 5m-10m in height if not pruned, most coffee farms will keep this at a manageable height for the cherry pickers. The tree will take 3 to 4 years to produce lovely scented flowers which will be followed by a harvestable fruit.
Harvest – The fruit grown is actually known as a coffee cherry or coffee berry which can be either hand or machine picked. You can either strip the whole branch of its cherries (commonly done by a machine) or probably the most popular way is to handpick each ripe cherry individually in a more labour intensive process.
Processing the cherries is the next step and this is done to remove the outer skin from the bean, it can be done in a couple of ways. Either spread the cherries out over large sheets on the ground in the hot sun and rake repeatedly over 2-3 weeks until they are dry enough. The second way would be to use a wet process, separating the outer flesh from the bean, ferment the bean in water for a couple of days and then wash with water to remove the sticky residue. The beans are then dried either by means of conventional spread out on drying tables or dried in large machine tumblers the final product being parchment coffee beans.
Milled – After wet processing the beans can be milled this is the process performed to remove the husk from the parchment, polishing could be performed to remove and tidy the bean. They are then graded from typical sizes 10 to 20 the number represents 1/64th of an inch number 10 = 20/64th of an inch. Typically the beans which have failed inspection will be removed by both machine and by hand to ensure only the top quality beans are sold and exported.
Tasted- this will be performed by a “cupper”. The bean will be inspected for visual quality, roasted, ground, and mixed with boiling water. The aroma will analysed and a quick slurp with a spoon taken by the cupper sampled and spat out. Once they are happy and they purchase the green bean they will be prepared for export.
Exported – After the milling process is completed the now named green coffee will be packaged in either jute or sisal bags and exported.
Roasted- The green bean will arrive at the coffee roaster ready to go through the process which is tailored to the specific bean. It is this process that allows the fragrant oil to release from the bean to give you the consumer the different taste and smell which surrounds the coffee you love to drink. This process is performed in country so these roasted beans can reach the coffee shop as soon as possible.
Ground- The way you decide to make and the coffee you require relates to the grinder. Finely ground coffee will be used in an espresso machine where a more coarse type will be used in a drip/brewing system. 132 lbs per square inch to release the coffee in an espresso machine.
I originally met rob while working in the oil business game, I was out in to learn what I could from a busy little town in Tyler Texas. Rob was the main pipe recovery specialist and very good at it too. I can remember while driving to various locations throughout Texas he would speak about his doggy daycare business (he always did this with a coffee in hand I must add). Many years have passed but I could keep up to speed with many of my international friends via social media news feeds, and have read and followed with various post about robs journey which looked to be very interesting. Rob and his partner are based in Norman Oklahoma on a farm where he has his roasting machine and equipment setup to produce various roasts.