Coffee beans begin as a flower
Each coffee bean begins as a beautiful white flower. Then, the flower gives way to a green fruit, and then finally a ripe, red cherry. We harvest the cherries by hand, so only the ripest, highest quality beans are processed. Indeed, since coffee cherries grow in various stages of development, this is the only way to ensure consistency and quality.
Coffee harvesting, drying and processing
After harvesting, the coffee beans (actually the seeds of the cherry) are processed to remove them from the cherries. This is either done by a “dry” method where coffee is dried out on large concrete drying “patios” or by a “wet” method at a factory.
Quality every step of the way
Because we have long-term relationships with our farmers and actually import coffee directly from growers, we also have good control over the quality standards used during the coffee cherry processing and milling. We will not work with poorly run processing mills.
After being separated from the pulp of the coffee cherry, the two halves of coffee seed, called “beans,” are then sorted both by machine and by hand. This sorting process removes imperfections and separates the beans into grades. For example, in Colombia, the top 3 grades are Supremo, Excelso, and Milds.
Green coffee and burlap sacks
Unroasted but processed coffee is called “green coffee,” and it’s in this form that it’s exported from the origin countries in 60 or 70 pound burlap bags. Green coffee beans can be stored in warehouses for about a year before losing the top end flavors.
By Jim Schuett