How do you do?
SO where does coffee come from? Surely there was life before the ground coffee you love to filter through your machines? I mean, you have at least multiple cups of this stuff a day! Aren’t you at least curious where it comes from!?
Let me fill you in…and I promise you the next time you take in that beautiful aroma and take a sip of your beloved beverage, it will taste sweeter just knowing the journey it has taken.
As I mentioned in this post, coffee comes from a fruit (a cherry), farmed from orchards in large plantations around the world. Coffee farmers are very very hard workers and unfortunately many times exploited. This is why fair trade in coffee has been established, and recently, we are seeing more direct trade which is works out better for farmers and their families.
Multiple conditions affect the quality of coffee farming. Things such as the altitude at which the farm is, the pH of the soil, the humidity… There is what is called the “coffee belt“…which is essentially an area, or a band of space on the earth where coffee grows best, bounded by the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. See the image below…
So coffee cherries are hand-picked and many times, the whole family and many workers are involved. After picking, coffee goes through different types of processing. The cherries are either washed (where the skin/flesh is removed), natural/dry processed where the fruit is left on the bean, or honey/pulped processing which is in between the two. These different processes affect the final taste of the coffee (future blog post? lol).
After processing, the farmers will then sell their coffee to a buyer who will purchase it based on its quality. The coffee goes through further selection where individual ‘bad’ beans are removed from the batches.
Coffee shops purchase the coffee either green and then roast the coffee in-house, or already roasted. Roasting is what turns the green seeds you see above into the brown coffee ‘beans’ that we all know as coffee. The roasting process is one of the steps that changes the taste of the green bean to coffee as we know it, with differences based on how light or dark the bean is roasted.
Above: Coffee Roasting Machine
Often times, a coffee shop/buyer goes through a Coffee tasting (called ‘cupping’). Simply put, “Cupping is one of the coffee tasting techniques used by cuppers to evaluate coffee aroma and the flavor profile of a coffee (coffeeresearch.org).” Based on which coffee profiles are best, they will then select what they’d like to be sold in coffee houses.
YESSSSS. The tasting wheel above shows all the different flavor possibilities from the wide varieties of coffee we find (future blog post?!). Amazing huh? With practice, anyone can learn to find the distinct flavors that various coffee origins have. It’s fascinating.
Everything from here on out is ‘simple’ (quotation marks because there is still lots of skill involved.) SooooOOo, you order your coffee, the roasted beans are freshly ground (that loud machine you hear when you ask for a coffee), your barista works his/her magic to create an espresso or manual brew, and walaaaa….your coffee is ready!
AND THAT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, is your coffee’s journey from bean (seed), to cup!! As always I hope you enjoyed the read, and learned something new today! Your coffee will never be the same again 🙂