Coffee Beans: How Are They Made?
If you are a coffee lover, a cup of coffee is what you need in the morning and in the evening, helping you stay put throughout the day.
It just takes minutes to make and helps you stay awake for hours, ensuring that you never fail on the deadlines.
However, did you ever wonder as to how coffee beans are actually made?
Let us take a look at what happens before you buy the coffee beans from your neighbourhood store. Hint – it’s a lot more than you think!
Planting and Harvesting the Coffee Beans
Coffee beans, actually seeds, are planted to grow coffee trees. Generally planted in large beds, they take 3 to 4 years to produce more fruits, called the Coffee cherry.
Around 100 pounds of coffee cherries produce 20 pounds of coffee beans.
Processing the Coffee Beans
After picking the coffee cherries, the processing begins almost immediately in one of the two ways.
1. The Dry Method
It’s ideal when water resources are limited, and have the cherries spread out in the sun to dry. They are turned and raked at regular intervals to stop they from getting spoint, and covered at night to protect from rain. The process is continued for few weeks till the moisture level drops below 11%
2. The Wet Method
This method involves removing the pulp from the coffee cherry, and then drying the bean with only the parchment skin on it. The beans are then separated by weight and size through water channels and rotating drums, before being transported to water filled fermentation tanks.
By around 24-48 hours, the mucilage layer is removed naturally, and soon the fermentation is complete – leaving rough coffee beans, the way we know it.
However, the beans are rinsed through water channels one final time before they are dried totally.
Getting Coffee Beans Market Ready
The next step after drying the coffee beans is to make them ready for export. Often, the coffee beans are sun-dried or machine dried, and stored in warehouses in sisal bags.
- The endocarp or parchment layer is removed totally, using a hulling machinery if needed.
- Sometimes, polishing is done to remove any silver skin left over even after hulling.
- The beans are categorized now again according to size – heavy or light, weight and color flaws.
- Any defective beans are removed – which include unacceptable sizes, colors, being over fermented or at times, insect damaged.
Getting the Coffee Tasted
Now, the coffee is export ready but there are a few things to take care of before the sisal or jute bags are loaded onto the ships.
For instance, how does the coffee taste? Known as cupping, it takes place in a room, where the cupper, or the taster, evaluates the beans.
They inspect the visual quality, and roast it, after which they immediately ground it and infuse in boiling water – all in laboratory conditions. The cupper then experiences the aroma, to judge the final coffee’s quality.
The process is repeated – so that the cupper can check out the coffee evenly spread across his taste buds.
It’s Finally Ready!
It is only then that the coffee we see makes it to our nearby stores – with all those aromatic tag labels.
All you need to do before having the coffee, is to roast them, or grind and brew them, before enjoying the taste of years of hard work!