Ah, the magic of coffee processing! Have you ever wondered how those little beans you love so much end up in your cup? Well, let me take you on a journey through the fascinating process that turns coffee cherries into the delicious brew we deliver each week and we all love.
First things first, the coffee cherries are carefully hand-picked from the trees. Just like how a chef only wants the freshest ingredients for their dish, only the ripest cherries are selected for processing. Once the cherries are harvested, the real magic begins.
Now, here's where things get interesting - there are two main ways to process coffee: washing and natural sun-drying. Washed coffee, also known as "wet process", involves removing the fruit from the seed as soon as possible after picking, before the drying process begins. The cherries are floated in water and sorted to ensure consistent ripeness levels. Then, they are run through special machines called depulpers, which squeeze the fruit and pop out the seeds. The seeds then go through a fermentation process to remove any remaining sugar and fruit remnants. Finally, they are washed again and dried on patios or raised beds. This method is known for producing clean and crisp flavours.
On the other hand, we have the natural sun-dried method, also known as the natural process or dry process. This method involves drying the coffee cherries whole without the intervention of water or machines to remove any of the fruit. The cherries are picked, floated in water, and sorted to remove any under-ripe or overripe fruit. They are then laid out on patios or raised beds to dry in the sun and air, with the fruit still on them. This process can take up to six weeks, but the result is worth it - natural sun-dried coffee is known for its fruity and complex flavours. Our Family Estate Pacamara is a Natural Process and we have it as coffee of the month.
So, whether you prefer your coffee with clean and crisp flavours or fruity and complex ones, both methods are equally important and delicious. But, the journey doesn't end here, once the cherries are dried, they are sent to a mill for hulling (separation of the seed from the rest of the dried fruit) and dry milling (removal of the seed’s skin). Voila! the beans are ready to be roasted, ground, brewed by baristas, and finally enjoyed by caffeine-starved humans.
As you can see, coffee processing is a delicate and intricate process that requires a lot of care and attention to detail. Next time you take a sip of your coffee, remember all the hard work and love that went into every bean.
Cheers to that!