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The Coffee Process – 10 Steps From Bean to the Barista Scene

The Coffee Process – 10 Steps From Bean to the Barista Scene

On a beautiful, Brazilian, steep hillside covered with coffee trees, a picker hauls a full
day's work in his bag. The bag contains ripe, red coffee cherries, that are about to
embark on quite a journey. During the coming months, those beans from the Brazilian
hillside, could end up in your local coffee shop – here's how!

Planting & Growing

Coffee seeds are generally planted in large areas
with a lot of shade. As the coffee trees begin to
sprout, the seedlings are moved to their own
individual pot, with specifically formulated soil. The
trees are frequently watered and kept out of bright
and direct sunlight, until they are strong enough to
be permanently planted. Once they are hearty
enough they will be planted, more often than not,
during the wet season, to ensure the tree roots have
the best chance of becoming firmly established.

Picking

It can take as long as 3-4 years for a newly-planted
coffee tree to begin bearing fruit. The fruit in
question, are bright red coffee cherries. Once the
cherries have turned a bright and deep red they are
ready to be harvested. Coffee pickers will spend
many days collecting the cherries, before handing
them over to be weighed and transported to a
processing plant.

Processing

Once the coffee has been picked and transported,
the processing must begin quickly to prevent any
spoilage. The process begins by spreading all the
fresh cherries out across a huge surface in direct
sunlight. To stop the cherries spoiling, they are
raked around during the day and covered at night.
Once the moisture content of the cherry batches
drops to 11%, they are moved onto the next stage.

Milling

Before the beans are exported the entire dried husk
of the cherries are removed. Once that has
happened, the coffee beans are sorted by size &
weight and closely evaluated for imperfections, like
colour flaws. If any beans are deemed defective they
are simply removed, ensuring only the finest quality
of coffee beans are selected.

Packaging & Shipping

Once the milled beans are ready for shipping they
are given the new identity of 'green coffee'. Green
coffee is packaged in jute or sisal bags, which are
loaded into shipping containers, or if it's bulk
shipped, inside plastic-lined containers.

Tasting

Throughout the process the coffee is routinely tested
for taste and quality. The dedicated taster AKA the
'cupper' visually inspects the beans quality. They
then roast, ground and infuse the coffee beans in
boiling water, before 'nosing' the brew to experience
the aroma. The next step is the actual tasting. The
cupper sucks a spoonful and sprays the coffee
evenly around their mouth and over their taste buds.
An expert cupper can immediately identify the
coffees' characteristics, flaws and overall quality.

Roasting

Roasting is the key stage that transforms green
coffee into the aromatic brown beans that are
available to buy. The beans are loaded into a
specialised machine, where they are kept moving
around until they reach an internal temperature of
200 degrees Celsius. Once that core temperature is
reached the beans turn brown and the caffeol
emerges from inside. The beans are then removed
and cooled immediately, by air or water.
Once the coffee beans have been roasted, moving
fast is key, as the freshly roasted beans must reach
the consumer as quickly as possible. One company
that excels at this part of the procedure is Garraways
and their Caffe Prima brand.

Grinding

The whole object of grinding, is to release the most
flavours into a cup of coffee. Coffee is generally
ground in two different ways. It can be either quite
coarse or fine. The finer the grind the faster the
coffee needs to be prepared.

Brewing

Brewing a coffee is one of the most enjoyable parts
of the process. Before you start the preparation,
breathe in the aromatic scent, think about the
journey these beans have been on and brew it with
care and consideration.

Drinking

A piping hot coffee on a cold winter's day is
exactly what the doctor ordered. As you blow on it,
you are hit by a powerful aroma that instantly
relaxes you – enjoy!