There’s nothing quite like the delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee. For many of us, that first cup is an essential part of our daily routine, fuelling us with the energy we need to kickstart the day. But have you ever stopped to wonder about the fascinating journey your coffee takes before it reaches your cup? Join us on an adventure through the life cycle of your morning brew, from farm to cup, as we unveil the captivating process behind this beloved beverage.
The coffee origins: From seeds to plantations
Our coffee journey begins in far-off lands, where coffee plants thrive in tropical climates. Typically grown in regions known as the “Coffee Belt,” stretching between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn, coffee is cultivated in countries like Ethiopia, Brazil, Colombia, and Vietnam.
It all starts with coffee cherries, small fruits that contain what we commonly call coffee beans. These plants are cared for by local farmers so that they develop healthily and produce the best beans possible.
Harvesting the coffee cherries
Harvesting coffee cherries is a delicate process that requires a lot of skill and precision. Since coffee cherries ripen at different times, each one must be hand-picked to ensure only the ripest ones make it to your morning cup.
Picking unripe coffee cherries can result in coffee with a poor flavour profile, as unripe cherries lack the sugars and aromatic compounds found in ripe ones. It leads to lower yields and can adversely affect farmers’ livelihoods, disrupting the natural growth cycle of coffee plants. Furthermore, discarding unripe cherries may contribute to environmental issues. Selective picking of only ripe cherries is essential to produce high-quality coffee and promote sustainability in the industry.
Processing: From pulp to beans
Once the cherries are harvested, they undergo processing to transform them into the coffee beans we recognise. The method used varies and can be either the “washed” or “natural” process.
The washed process involves removing the outer skin and pulp from the cherry before allowing the beans to ferment, resulting in a cleaner, brighter flavour profile. On the other hand, the natural process involves drying the whole cherries, letting the beans absorb the fruit’s natural sugars and creating a more complex, fruity taste.
Transportation and export
With the coffee beans processed and ready, they embark on a journey around the world. Packed in large sacks, they travel long distances across oceans and continents, making their way from coffee-producing countries to consumers worldwide.
During this journey, the beans pass through various hands, from exporters to importers and distributors, each ensuring the beans remain in excellent condition for the next stage of their journey.
Roasting: Unlocking rich flavours
Upon arrival at local roasteries, the green coffee beans are prepared to undergo the process of roasting. Roasters apply heat to the beans, unlocking the delightful array of flavours and aromas that people love so much.
From light to dark roasts, each cup of coffee is a testament to the skills and expertise of the roasters who masterfully craft unique blends that cater to diverse palates.
Finally, it’s time to make that perfect cup of coffee. From pour-over to espresso, French press to cold brew, coffee enthusiasts have endless brewing methods to choose from, allowing them to customise their coffee experience.
In conclusion, the journey of your morning coffee is much longer and more complex than many people think. From the coffee plantations tended to by passionate farmers to the expert roasters who add their magic touch, coffee brings together an intricate web of human connections. So, the next time you savour a cup of coffee, take a moment to appreciate all the work and dedication that went into each sip. From farm to cup, it’s a story of dedication, craftsmanship, and the shared love for a beverage that brings joy to millions around the world. Cheer!