How is Coffee Made?

Three to four years after a coffee bean has been planted, it will begin to bear fruit called a coffee cherry, which turns a dark red when ripe and ready to be picked. Most of the time there is only one harvest per year, but the coffee trees in countries such as Columbia produce two flowerings. There is a main and secondary crop in this situation. There are two different methods to picking the coffee cherry: Strip picking and selective picking. Strip picking is when all the cherries off of a coffee tree are stripped off and harvested. Selective picking is when only the ripest cherries are picked at a time. Because this process requires more labor than strip picking, it is often only used to harvest finer beans such as Arabica beans.

After the beans have been picked they are processed via the dry or the wet method. The dry method involves laying the beans out in the sun and raking them continuously throughout the day in order to prevent them from spoiling until their moisture is around 11%. The wet method involves removing the skin and pulp from the cherries then letting that sit in fermentation tanks until the bean is rough to touch. If the wet method was used, the beans must be dried to 11%.

The beans are then mulled. This is the process of removing the parchment layer from wet processed coffee and then removing the entire dry rough husk. The beans then get weighed and sorted by size. They are typically labeled from 10-20, which is their diameter in 1/64th's of an inch. These milled beans, now known as green coffee, are exported around the world.

Typically after exportation the beans are tasted by someone known as a cupper. This is to ensure proper roasts and flavors. After going through the tasting process, the beans are roasted at a temperature of 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans are cooled after roasting and are then ready to be ground. These beans can now be ground and made into coffee.

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