Coffee Harvesting to Roasting and Brewing

By Joseph Justus

Date: 4th December 2022
  1. Harvesting

  2. Coffee harvesting is picking the coffee fruit (coffee cherries) from the coffee tree. Depending on the region, coffee is harvested by hand or with mechanized equipment. Typically the coffee tree produces coffee cherries throughout the year. However, the harvesting season varies depending on the coffee variety and the climate of the area where the coffee is grown. In general, coffee trees produce the most fruit from April to October, but some variations may vary depending on the region. Coffee harvesting is typically done by hand, with workers using a "coffee picker" tool to remove the ripe cherries from the tree. As the cherries ripen, they change color, and pickers will select only the ripe cherries for harvest, leaving the unripe ones on the tree. Once the ripe cherries have been picked, the pickers will sort them and place them in containers or bags for transport. Coffee harvesting is a labor-intensive process, so it is essential to hire experienced workers familiar with the area's specific coffee variety and climate. The harvest quality depends on the pickers' skill and care, so it is essential to hire experienced workers who will carefully select only the ripe cherries. Once the cherries have been harvested, they are typically processed and dried before being sent to the roasters. The processing and drying of the cherries can vary depending on the region. Still, the general process involves removing the skin, pulp, and parchment from the beans and then drying the seeds to a consistent moisture content. The beans are sorted by color and size before being sent to the roasters.
  3. Processing

  4. Coffee cherries are processed by removing the outer layers, then pulping and fermenting the beans. Coffee processing begins with harvesting, which can be done either by hand or mechanically. Once the cherries have been harvested, they need to be processed. The two main types of processing are wet and dry. In the wet process, the cherries are first soaked in water to remove the outer layers of skin and pulp. Then, the beans are separated from the pulp and placed in a fermentation tank for 12-48 hours. The fermentation process helps break down the sugars and proteins in the beans, which gives the coffee its unique flavor. After fermentation, the beans are washed and dried in the sun or mechanical dryers. Finally, the beans are hulled and sorted by size and quality. This process removes any defective beans and prepares the coffee for roasting. The dry process involves drying the cherries in the sun for a few weeks before removing the outer layers of skin and pulp. Then, the beans are separated from the pulp and dried further in the sun or with mechanical dryers. Finally, the beans are hulled and sorted by size and quality. Coffee processing is an essential step in the production of high-quality coffee. It can be labor-intensive but essential for producing a consistent flavor and aroma.
  5. Drying

  6. The coffee beans are dried to a specific moisture content. Coffee is usually dried by one of two methods - natural and mechanical drying. Natural drying involves spreading the wet parchment coffee out in the sun and allowing it to dry naturally over several days. Mechanical drying involves using machines to remove moisture from the parchment coffee. The coffee is spread out on large concrete patios and then placed in a hot air machine to remove the moisture. The coffee is then removed from the machine and placed back on the patio, where it is left to dry further. Once the coffee has reached the desired moisture content, it is packaged and shipped to the customer. The drying process is essential for the quality of the coffee. If the drying process is done properly, the flavor of the coffee will be protected. For example, if the drying process is done too quickly, the coffee will be over-dried, and the flavor will be dull and flat. On the other hand, if the drying process is done too slowly, the coffee will be under-dried, and the flavor will be too strong and bitter. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that the drying process is done correctly to get the best flavor out of the coffee.
  7. Hulling

  8. Hulling removes the outermost layer of the bean, called the parchment. Coffee bean hulling is a process that involves removing the outer layer or husk of a coffee bean. This process is necessary to expose the inner seed of the coffee bean, which is then used to make coffee. The hulling process can either be done by hand or with the help of machines. The process involves passing the coffee beans through a hulling machine that uses rollers to separate the husk from the inner bean. The husk is removed, and the inner seed is used to make coffee. The hulling process can also remove defects from the coffee beans. This is done by sorting the beans and removing any that are misshapen, discolored, or otherwise defective. This helps to ensure that only high-quality beans are used in the production of the final coffee product. Coffee bean hulling is an essential part of the coffee production process, as it removes impurities and defects from the beans. This helps to ensure that the end product is of the highest quality and free from any potential contaminants. The process can also help reduce the overall cost of production, as removing defects can help reduce waste and increase the efficiency of the production process. Overall, the coffee bean hulling process is an essential part of the coffee production process. It allows for removing defects and impurities from the beans, helping to ensure that only the highest quality beans are used in the final product. The process can also help reduce the overall production cost, making it more efficient and cost-effective.
  9. Sorting

  10. The beans are sorted to remove any defects or foreign objects. Coffee beans can be sorted by size, shape, color, and quality. The size of the beans can be sorted by sifting them through a series of sieves with different size openings. The shape of the beans can be sorted by hand-picking the beans with a particular shape. The color of the beans can be sorted by using a color sorting machine, which uses a camera or sensors to detect the color of the beans and separate them into categories. The quality of the beans can be sorted by using a grading system, which evaluates the bean’s size, shape, color, and overall appearance, and assigns a grade to the beans accordingly. Sorting coffee beans properly is essential for producing a high-quality product. Improper sorting can lead to the wrong blend of beans or flavor profile in the final product. Sorting the beans properly also helps to ensure that the beans are uniform in size and shape, which is essential for achieving a consistent flavor and texture in the final product. Coffee beans can also be sorted by region and country of origin. This helps to create different blends of coffee with unique flavors. Different regions and countries may produce beans with different flavor profiles, so sorting them by origin can help create a distinct flavor for each blend. Finally, coffee beans can be sorted by roast level. Different roasting levels result in different flavor profiles, so sorting the beans by roast level can help ensure that the desired flavor profile is achieved.
  11. Roasting

  12. Roasting coffee beans is the process of taking green, un-roasted coffee beans and turning them into the fragrant, brown beans used to brew coffee. The beans are roasted to the desired color and flavor. Roasting is an art and a science, combining the roaster's skill with the subtle nuances of flavor in each coffee bean. During the roasting process, the beans are heated in a roaster until they reach their desired temperature. As the temperature rises, the beans begin to caramelize, and the flavor, aroma, and color of the beans begin to change. The beans are cooled and packaged for sale depending on the desired roast level. Roasting brings out the flavor and aroma of the beans, much like cooking brings out food flavor. As the beans are heated, the water evaporates, and the sugars, proteins, and oils in the beans begin to break down, creating complex flavors and aromas in the cup. The amount of roasting a bean will determine its final flavor, with darker roasts having a more intense flavor and lighter roasts having a more subtle flavor. Softer, lighter roasts will have more of the bean's original flavor, while darker roasts will have a more intense, smoky flavor. The roasting process also changes the physical properties of the beans, such as their size, shape, and color. Lighter roasts tend to be denser and more compact, while darker roasts will be larger and flatter. Depending on the roast level, the color also changes from green to yellow to light brown to dark brown. Overall, roasting is essential in creating the perfect cup of coffee. It is a process that requires skill and patience, but the results can be truly unique when done correctly.
  13. Cooling

  14. The beans are cooled quickly to stop the roasting process. Coffee beans should be cooled as quickly as possible after roasting. To cool the beans, spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet or in a shallow pan and place them in a cool, dry place. Allow the beans to cool to room temperature before storing them in an airtight container. It is essential to avoid exposing the beans to any sources of heat or moisture, including direct sunlight and moisture-rich environments. Store the beans in a sealed container in a cool, dark place. To maintain freshness, use the beans within two weeks of roasting and grinding them.
  15. Grinding

  16. Grinding coffee beans is breaking down the beans into smaller particles. The beans are then ground to the desired particle size. The ground beans are then used to brew coffee or other beverages. The fineness of the grind can vary based on the desired brewing method, ranging from coarse grinds for French press coffee to a finer grind for espresso. The type of grinder used can also vary, from blade grinders to burr grinders. Grinding the beans helps to release the flavor and aroma of the coffee beans. The grinding action also produces heat which can be detrimental to the flavor and aroma. Some coffee grinders have a slow-speed operation or built-in cooling systems to avoid this. Grinding the beans too finely can lead to over-extraction, resulting in a bitter flavor. Conversely, grinding the beans too coarsely can lead to under-extraction, resulting in a weak flavor. To optimize the flavor of the coffee, it is vital to use the proper grind size for the desired brewing method. Grinding coffee beans is an essential step in the process of making coffee. It is important to grind the beans at the right time and with the right equipment to ensure the best flavor and aroma.
  17. Packaging

  18. The beans are packaged according to the customer's specifications. Coffee is typically packaged in either a foil bag, a plastic bag, or a tin. Foil bags are the most common packaging option as they are lightweight, inexpensive, and keep the coffee fresh. Plastic bags, while slightly more expensive, offer a greater barrier to light and air and are more durable than foil bags. Tins offer the greatest barrier to air and moisture, making them ideal for storing coffee for extended periods. When shipping coffee, it is vital to ensure that the packaging is secure and appropriate for the type of coffee being shipped. Coffee should be stored in airtight containers, such as resalable tins or bags with zip-top closures, and placed in an insulated box or bag to protect it from temperature changes. Additionally, it is essential to include an oxygen absorber or desiccant in the package to help keep the coffee fresh during transit. Finally, it is important to include instructions on the package for proper storage and use of the coffee. This is especially important for freshly roasted coffee, which should be used within two weeks of its roasting date for optimal flavor.
  19. Brewing

  20. Brewing coffee involves four essential ingredients: freshly ground coffee, hot water, time, and technique.
    1. Start by grinding your coffee beans. The grind size should be slightly finer than table salt, as this will help to extract a full flavor from the beans
    2. Fill your coffee maker with fresh, cold water and measure the desired coffee grounds into the filter or basket
    3. Place the filter inside the coffee maker and turn on the machine
    4. Wait for the brewing process to finish. This usually takes between 4-6 minutes but can vary depending on the type of coffee maker you are using
    5. Once the coffee is finished brewing, pour it into a mug or carafe and enjoy!
    If you're feeling adventurous, you can also experiment with different coffees and brewing techniques to tailor your coffee to your tastes.