From Seed to Cup: The Journey of Coffee from Plant to Brew.
Jun 10, 2019
Coffee emerges into your cup after a journey spanning continents and time. From a small seed germinating on a farm as far away as Kenya to the confines of a steel drum, tumbling as it roasts into recognizable form. Innumerable efforts support the growth, shipment, and roasting of every bean before being transformed into the drink of our daily routines.
Coffee plants are flowering plants. Before harvest season, and spurred on by adequate rainfall, coffee plants blossom into beautiful white flowers. The sight resembles a field of snow across a mountain landscape. The flowers give way to a green cherry, which ripens, to a bright red, orange, or golden color. At this stage, in most of the world, armies of pickers pluck the cherry from the coffee shrub. Each is paid by the pound of cherry collected and some compensated for the quality they carry to the mill.
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The seed within, which we all refer to as the coffee bean, must be removed from the pulp that protects it. In most coffee producing regions, it is soaked in channels of water and left to ferment just enough to allow the producers to strip the bean from within and begin to dry it. Coffee must be dried evenly, which is achieved by mechanical means or by spreading the coffee on large patios; carefully turned and raked to expose each bean to the sun's rays.
The beans are inspected, polished, prepared for bagging and await shipment onto container ships docked in the tropical ports that serve as the last major leap between a producing country and a consuming one. At this stage, the beans are a distinct emerald green and, depending on their origin, fill their burlap bags with the smell of a lush rainforest or freshly picked strawberry.
After a voyage that takes upwards of 90 days by ship, the beans are unloaded and taken by truck or train to the warehouse of an importer. There they are sold, distributed, and shipped to roasters. A roaster must transform these green beans into a product both flavorful and aromatic. They are loaded into a steel drum heated to nearly 400 degrees where they will tumble and collide as the roaster watches, samples, and smells their progress.
The green gives way to yellow, next a tan, and finally a chestnut brown. After about 15 minutes of progressing they are dumped into a tray and cooled with air. A plume of smoke follows and as the beans cool, a new batch is prepared and the old one discharged into containers to settle, allowing the gasses and chemical reactions that roasting sparks to cease.
Two to three days later, the coffee is ready for its journey to you. Ground, sealed, and inspected, each single-serve cup we produce is scrutinized. Samples are pulled to taste to ensure our standards are met before being boxed when you order. The coffee has traveled nearly a year and progressed immensely. It is our duty to our farmers, importers, and customers to ensure it reaches you in a state of perfection.
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