Not only does it stop at the barista as the brewer, the journey of coffee from bean to cup goes through a long process. Starting from cultivation, harvesting, coffee fruit sorting, post-harvesting, roasting, to brewing.
The long process affects the character and flavor of the coffee. Moreover, the process used by each farmer varies, resulting in its own unique flavor. Curious, right? Let’s see how the journey of coffee from this bean goes!
Coffee’s long journey to consumption
Coffee lovers may be familiar with the terms roasting and grinding. However, these two processes are only the final few steps of the coffee bean’s entire journey.
Well, the journey itself starts from the coffee fruit which has similarities with cherries. Here’s the full procedure!
You need to know, coffee beans are originally seeds. After being dried, roasted, and ground into powder, these processes are used to brew the coffee in your cup.
Generally, coffee seeds are planted in large areas and must be in the shade to protect them from excessive sun exposure. After that, the seeds are watered frequently, and fresh seeds germinate about two and a half months after planting.
Although there are more than a hundred species, the majority of coffee consumed worldwide consists of only three species, namely 60-70 percent Arabica coffee, 30-40 percent Robusta coffee, and less than 2 percent from the Liberica species.
Arabica coffee is grown at a higher altitude than Robusta coffee, around 1000 – 2000 meters above sea level, with a temperature of 15 – 25 degrees Celsius. Arabica requires 1500 – 2500 millimeters of annual rainfall.
As for Robusta Coffee, it can generally grow at a low altitude of 200 – 600 meters above sea level and a temperature of 20 – 30 degrees Celsius. Requires 2000 – 3000 millimeters of rainfall.
The harvesting process of coffee fruits will usually take 3 – 4 years, depending on the variety. The fruit itself is called a coffee cherry because it is similar to a regular cherry. The coffee cherry is initially green in color and fruits into red, yellow or orange when ripe and ready for harvest.
Some countries can harvest twice a year as is the case in Colombia, where each year there are two flowering plants, the main and secondary.
Generally, harvesting is done by picking or directly by hand, which is a labor-intensive and complicated process. However, there are also those who use machines like in Brazil.
Be it manually or using a machine, all coffee is harvested using one of the two methods below.
Although picking coffee cherries by hand one by one is quite complicated and requires a long time and a lot of energy. This method will produce good quality coffee.
The farmers who pick them will have a basket hanging from their waist, and the idea is that they only pick the ripest and best coffee cherries.
The harvest that day was then transported to the coffee bean processing factory. Selective picking is usually done for Arabica coffee harvesting.
For this process, all cherries that shed branches at one time are harvested immediately, either by hand or by machine. However, most parts of Indonesia cannot use machines for the harvesting process. This is because many Indonesian coffees are grown in hilly areas that are difficult for machines to pass through.
Coffee cherry processing
After the coffee has been picked, processing must be done immediately to prevent fruit spoilage. Coffee will be processed by one of four methods, namely Dry Process , Wet Process , Semi Wash and Honey Process.
Each of these processing methods has its own advantages and disadvantages. Be it in terms of the quality of the coffee beans produced, or the production cost component.
The processing method chosen will be adjusted according to several factors. These include farmer finances, rainfall, humidity levels, and access to clean running water.
Well, the processing stage with various methods is also very important in producing the taste and aroma of coffee that will be obtained. These processes will produce green beans or coffee beans that have been dried.
The coffee journey continues to the roasting stage.
Below are the stages of roasting that you need to know.
Removing moisture content(drying)
Usually coffee beans that have been dried still have a moisture content of around 7 – 11 percent. As long as the water content is still present, the coffee beans will not turn brownish.
The first roasting stage is called drying, where the coffee beans will absorb the heat from the roasting machine and evaporate the water content.
Light roast is the lowest level of roasting phase. In general, the temperature in this phase is between 180 – 205 degrees Celsius, with seeds that are brownish in color and tend to be dry because the oil has not yet been released.
Meanwhile, the end of this phase is marked by the appearance of the first crack, which is an explosion due to the coffee beans breaking up. When the first crack begins to occur, the coffee enters the light roast level.
If you want to produce a coffee flavor that tends to be mild, strong acid, and high caffeine, you can stop at this phase.
The next stage is entering the medium roast phase, which takes place after the first crack. With a temperature of about 210 – 220 degrees Celsius.
This is when caramelization occurs, which forms the sweetness and aroma character. In this phase, the beans also start to turn dark brown.
The flavors are very balanced, both in terms of body and acidity. When compared to light roast, it has much less caffeine plus a thicker texture. This medium roast phase is completed before the second crack or second burst occurs.
The dark roast phase is around 240 degrees Celsius, where the second crack occurs. The seeds will be dark brown to almost black in color.
Indeed, not all coffee beans can reach this stage, because beans that have a low density will break. In the dark roast stage, the natural oils contained in the beans are released, reducing and eliminating the acidity .
Coffee beans will undergo carbonation which makes the body thick and the taste tends to be bitter.
Now if the coffee beans have finished roasting, don’t grind them immediately. This is because freshly roasted coffee beans still have a high level of carbon dioxide, which can affect the flavor.
Therefore, resting is necessary so that the carbon dioxide gas in the coffee beans can be reduced. Within four hours after roasting, the coffee can actually be processed for brewing.
However, for better results it is better to wait seven days to develop the flavor and aroma of the coffee.
Well, this process is usually done by baristas, which in this stage there are several levels of fineness, includingcoarse,medium,fine, andvery fine.
That is the final process of coffee’s journey until it finally reaches your cup. As a coffee connoisseur, knowing the journey of this fruit to become a cup of delicious drink full of philosophy is certainly a plus, isn’t it?
By knowing the journey of coffee from the bean to the cup you drink, you can share the experience with friends or relatives while “having coffee”. So, not only are you chatting, but you can also share your knowledge. Good luck!
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