The Life and Times of a Coffee Bean

It all begins with a seed in the ground. Actually, it’s an unprocessed, unroasted green coffee bean. Yes. Beans are seeds!

2-5 years after being planted, those coffee plants start producing little cherries. Inside these cherries are two coffee seeds (green coffee beans).

Farms employ trained seasonal workers during harvest season to collect ripe cherries. For millions around the globe, these periods of harvesting put food on the table.

All the flavors, aromas, sugars, acids, and other tasting elements are created at the farm. The next stage, processing, allows farmers to manipulate those flavors to achieve their target result.

Once harvested, coffee beans need to be extracted from the cherries. Coffee bean processing happens 1 of 3 main ways, but every farmer and processing station has their own little spin on the process, depending on resources and goals.

In the natural method, whole cherries are left out to dry on massive patios or raised beds for 2-4 weeks, depending on humidity and rainfall. Once the cherries have dried out, machines rip off the dried cherry and leave only the coffee bean.

The washed method is on the other side of the spectrum in terms of processing and flavor. In this method, the cherry skin and is pulped away immediately. 

A small quantity of beans will be roasted in a mini roaster and prepared by a highly qualified "cupper" whose job it is to ascertain the aromatic and flavor quality of the bean. This is essential when balancing correct mixes and choosing beans fore specialist blends.

Shipping coffee beans isn’t nearly as challenging as it used to be, but there are still hiccups from time to time. The most common issue is moisture buildup while the beans are in transit over the ocean.

If the beans absorb a lot of moisture, the delicate flavors will easily fall apart, strange defect flavors will form, and microbial life may even take hold.

Turning green coffee seeds into roasted coffee beans is an art and a science. Specialty roasters are craftsmen who use their senses and measurement tools to develop the flavors of each coffee.

Keep in mind that roasters do not create flavor. They unlock what’s already available. 

Show me some coffees with their own unique story...

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