Coffee is liquid magic, though its strong taste might be off-putting for some, and a delight for others when paired with cream and sweetener. Some can’t begin their day without it and some love to use it as a miracle energizer throughout the day. With many coffees coming from around the world, there are a plethora for us to choose from and love. But have you ever considered the coffee manufacturing process? There’s a lot that our drinks go through before they make it to our cup. Let’s talk about coffee manufacturing!
1. Planting – The Genesis of Coffee Manufacturing
When you buy coffee beans at the store, what you hold in your hand is a processed seed. An unprocessed seed has not yet been roasted and can still be used to grow a coffee plant. In order to get the coffee you’re used to, you would have already roasted and ground the bean and steeped it.
Planting a coffee tree is not as easy as it is for some plants. We aren’t able to simply put it in soil and leave it to its own devices on our window sill. These seeds require much nurturing and tending until they grow a few inches. After they’re determined to be tough enough, they’re placed somewhere with access to a lot of sunlight.
2. Harvesting – Expensive and Labor Intensive
Coffee manufacturing continues on through the harvesting phase, where coffee berries, also called cherries, are picked out. Coffee beans appear white-ish inside these red berries. They may appear unfamiliar until they are roasted. These trees will typically produce around 40,000 berries which is an incredible amount to pick on its own! Because the berries will ripen at different times, not all berries will be able to be picked at once. This means that multiple visits over a series of days to each tree is required. Of the entire manufacturing process, this step is the most expensive, due to the fact that picking and re-picking is necessary. Machines are typically used during this portion of the coffee manufacturing process, unless the beans are finer, the way Arabica beans are.
3. Selection – Only Using the Best
The process of selecting the best beans is simple in theory. They must remove the debris from the berries, including sticks and rocks, by using a sieve. The coffee manufacturing process continues by them using a water technique that allows the density of the fruit to affect where it stays. The unripened fruit will float back to the top of the water, making it easy to remove.
4. Pulping – Separation
Depending on how much water is available to be used, this part of the coffee manufacturing process can go in a few ways. Where water is readily available for use, the coffee will be put through a de-pulping machine. They will have a fine layer of skin left on them at this point. Where water is more scarce, they use a dry method. This method consists of allowing the beans to try out in the sun, while constantly being overturned throughout the day. Their moisture levels need to be decreased to 11% before the next step. Pulping is merely the separation of the bean from the rest of the fruit.
5. Roasting – An Aromatic Experience
The roasting portion is one of the most familiar parts of the coffee manufacturing process. This is where we get the most delicious smell and the dark beans we are used to seeing in our grocery stores. The process of the coffee’s natural oil coming out when roasted at 400 degrees Fahrenheit is called pyrolysis. What a beautiful name!
6. Packaging – A Fluid Process
Stellar Food For Thought
The next step in the coffee manufacturing process needs to be swift. Nothing lasts forever, which means once the coffee beans are roasted, they need to be packaged quickly. Moisture and the sun can cause major harm to these beans. The manufacturing process for them has been tough this far– imagine all that work being reversed! There’s a reason why your coffee comes in opaque bags and are sealed the way they are. It is very important they are not exposed to any such elements. This portion, like all steps of the coffee manufacturing process, is seriously important!
7. Grinding – A Ground-Shaking Experience
You might be most familiar with this part of the coffee manufacturing process. Coffee grounds are what we steep when making our coffee. When you look inside a single use coffee cup that you place into your coffee maker, you’ll see that it’s filled with grounds. Grinding is done based on the way the coffee will be brewed. You can purchase coffee beans and ground them yourself, if you prefer, but it’s not uncommon to purchase your coffee already ground.
8. Brewing – The Final Step
Easily our second personal favorite part of the coffee manufacturing process. This is where you’ll get all the delicious aromas of your favorite coffee. We are most familiar with this part of the process as consumers. You might brew coffee in a single cup or through a percolator, or as a single drip. Regardless, this is the step right before our favorite part of this process: taking a sip and enjoying the delicious flavors of our coffee!
Are you impressed by the coffee bean yet? The coffee manufacturing process is long and time-consuming but we are grateful for what goes into our cup. What surprised you most about the coffee manufacturing process?