These can be unfamiliar terms to everyday coffee drinker, which is kind of shocking considering that 150 million Americans drink the equivalent of about 3 cups a day!
This billion-dollar industry has created incredible convenience – you can find a coffee shop in just about every city – and the variety of choices abound. Having it so readily available may be the reason why so many people have never stopped to think about how those beans transform into the morning pick-me-up they love to drink!
We find that the biggest surprise to people when it comes to coffee production is how intense and laborious the process is. Because while we are pampered by grabbing a bag of beans or grounds at our local shop, the beans themselves have been painstakingly picked, pulped, fermented, hulled, dried, roasted, and ground before they hit your coffee cup.
Producing that deep rich scent and smooth full-bodied taste steaming from your mug is truly a labor of love!
In coffee producing regions around the world, you’ll find not only farms of coffee trees, but in some areas, they’ll sprout up naturally along roadsides and backyards. The plant produces gorgeous cherries once or twice a season, depending on the climate where they’re growing.
Yep, we said cherries!
The fruit isn’t what we’re after though, it’s the seeds that grow inside. Because each piece of fruit ripens at its own pace, workers must inspect branches and pluck only those cherries that are deep red, leaving the green, yellow, and orange ones on the branch to finish ripening.
Oh how we love those dedicated hand pickers; they give us the best tasting coffee!
Once the fruit is picked, workers have to move quickly because the sugars begin breaking down almost immediately. There is only about a 10 hour window to move the berries into the next stage before they start to spoil.
First comes pulping; separating the bean from the flesh of the cherry. What’s left is a slimy coating on the beans, so they must be soaked in water a day or two in order to break down the film, and even then, there is still a fine, silvery coating called parchment.
From there, the beans are laid out on screens of tarps where they dry for many days; sometimes weeks. They have to be raked and turned quite often to produce even drying and prevent rot. Again, it’s a painstaking process, but once the parchment splits open and reveals the prize inside, they know the work is almost done.
At this point, the beans are hulled to remove that final outer parchment husk. Now looking much closer to the bean you’re used to seeing, the “green” coffee is ready to be roasted.
And that’s the part we love at Fort Findlay! We select beans from all over the world to create flavors, aromas, and body for all types of coffee lovers, and then we roast them in-house to bring you the freshest cup you can imagine!
Of course, there are techniques in roasting, just like there are in growing and harvesting coffee beans to achieve different qualities for each batch, but for now, instead of us going into detail on those topics, just reflect on that little red berry that turns into your daily craving and maybe offer a little moment of silence to thank the coffee growers!
To learn more about the coffee cherry transformation check out this article published online by the National Coffee Association of America.
Have a roast blend you’d like to see? Tell us!
For our current selection of fresh roasted coffee come to Fort Findlay or look at our online shop. We can’t wait to share a cup with you.