SEED TO CUP PROCESS
STEP 1: NURSERY
The coffee the seed will germinate and produce a sprout within 6 weeks of being planted. The young plant will typically stay in the nursery for another 4 months before it is ready to plant into the earth and become a coffee tree.
STEP 2: FARMING
A typical coffee tree will take about 5 years to start producing. Altitude is important when drying coffee, at least 1000 ft above sea level will provide arabica coffee with the hot dry days and cold nights it needs to thrive.
STEP 3: HARVESTING
Some coffee is picked by machine but the majority is hand picked. Each coffee cherry has only 2 seeds (or beans) inside of them, and it takes about 120 beans to brew an 8oz cup. Harvesting coffee is very labour-intensive work.
After picking the cherries from the tree the workers will sort through what they’ve picked and separate the unripe from the ripe ones.
The ripe cherries are then packed and sent to the mill for processing.
STEP 4: PROCESSING - WASHED
When the cherries arrive at the mill, they are weighed and graded. Once they are graded and accounted for they get fed through the pulping and washing station.
The pulping machine removes the skin from the beans preparing them to be fermented or washed. The demucilager washes off the “fruit” around the seed known as mucilage.
PROCESSING - DRYING
Once washed, the coffees get spread out onto concrete patios or raised beds, and turned over frequently to dry in the sun.
PROCESSING - NATURAL
For a natural processed coffee, the fruit and skin is left on the beans, and are dried and fermented on the patios. Understanding and controlling fermentation is key in this process. When the coffee leaves the patio, it still has a layer of dried parchment surrounding the bean. at the dry mill machinery will hull the bean, destone the batch, and grade beans. Ethopia used the Natural method.
STEP 5 - GREEN BEAN EXPORTED
Green bean buyers and commercial roasters have contracts with the farms/mills and these contracts will be fulfilled by exporting in quantities of 60kg of green coffee beans per bag.
STEP 6 - CUPPING
Cupping or coffee tasting is the coffee industry’s practice of observing the tastes and aromas of brewed coffee. The coffee taster attempts to measure aspects of the coffee's taste, such as aroma, body/mouthfeel, sweetness, acidity or brightness, flavour and aftertaste.
This process helps the roaster develop blends and single origins.
STEP 7 - ROASTING, BLENDING AND DRINKING
The roastery is where the green beans are roasted and blended in order to get it ready for cafes and retail stores.
It is a complex process with different levels of roast ie light, medium and dark. La Casa del Caffe is a commercial roaster, where we roast 60kg at a time.
In general, a light roast emphasises the acidity of the coffee, a medium roast develops sweetness, and a dark roast brings up the body, presuming these qualities are present in the bean to begin with.