05 Nov 2018

What would be the stages of coffee until you get to your table?


Usually the coffee fruit must have a cherry color to be harvested. But it is important to remember that some varieties have ripe fruit when the color is yellow. If harvested ahead of time and with a high percentage of green beans, the drink will lose quality and the final yield will be impaired. This harvest can be manual or mechanical. In addition, it can happen selectively – only ripe fruits are picked – or all at once, collecting them all.


Right after harvesting, the process should be quick to prevent spoilage. Depending on the location and resources, there are two methods for fermentation. The oldest and most traditional is drying in the sun, where the coffee is put in nets and rolled during the day to dry evenly, being covered at night. Known as a dry and natural method, it can take weeks, and enables beneficial fermentation between the husk and the grain.

The other method involves water and machinery, and is based on the separation of pulp and grain. The pulp is washed with water. The beans are separated by weight when placed in water channels. The lighter ones float to the top while the heavier, mature grains sink. They then pass through a series of rotating drums that separate them by size.

Then the beans are transported to fermentation tanks filled with water. Depending on a combination of factors involving grain, climate and altitude, they will remain in these tanks for 12 to 48 hours. The purpose of this process is to remove the smooth mucilage layer that is still attached to the grain. As the beans rest in the tanks, natural enzymes that form in the process will cause this layer to dissolve. When fermentation is complete, the beans will be raw and rough to the touch. At this time they are washed in additional water channels.


If the grains have been processed by the method with water, those that are pulped and fermented should dry to 10% of the initial volume, when they can be prepared for storage. These beans can be dried in the sun on drying tables or floors where they are stirred regularly. They can also be machine dried. Once dried, they are stored in jute or sisal bags until they are ready for sale. This preparation consists of removing the rest of the shell, polishing the grains and separating them by color and size, in a first form of selection.


Many manufacturers purchase coffee in their green state. But how do you know if they are buying good merchandise? Behold, small batch roasters are made for a coffee taste test by professionals who determine characteristics such as acidity, flavor and aroma. This process is called cupping and usually occurs in an environment of its own. The responsible professional – or cupper – performs various tests to ensure product quality. A specialist can taste dozens of coffees a day and still be able to distinguish subtle differences between them.


Once approved, it’s time to roast! This process turns green coffee into the brown beans that are sold. Most roasting machines operate at elevated temperatures while rotating, spreading heat evenly. After roasting, the coffee is immediately cooled with water or air. This step should be performed near the sale of coffee, because once roasted, its consumption should occur soon, so that the qualities of the drink can be enjoyed.


The goal of proper grinding is to get the most flavor in a cup of coffee. The style of grinding, thicker or thinner, depends on the method by which your coffee will be prepared. Generally, the finer the grind, the faster the preparation should be. This is why ground coffee for an espresso machine is much thinner than coffee to be brewed.


This is perhaps the most fun part. There are so many methods that you can try a lot: espresso machine, capsule machine, french press, aeropress, paper or cloth filter, Italian coffee maker…

The important thing is to enjoy the coffee. After all, now you know: he made a long trip to reach his cup!