Have you ever wondered how the coffee in your Starbucks drink is made? It is actually a very long process and requires a lot of attention in order to provide consumers with the best quality of coffee.
A coffee bean, firstly, is a seed, and specifically, a fruit. These coffee beans are planted in large beds and given lots of water and moisture, so they’re usually planted during the wet season. They mostly stay in the shade.
It takes about three to four years for a coffee tree to start bearing fruit. They’re called coffee cherries and turn a bright deep red when they’re ripe. There are two ways that these cherries can be harvested. One method is strip picking which when all the cherries are stripped off of their branch. Another method is selectively picking which is the ripest cherries will be handpicked. This is the most most expensive and requires more hard labor and is used in finer Arabica beans.
After the cherries are picked, they have to be processed. There are two methods that can be done to do this. The first method is the dry method. This is an age-old method that is mostly used in water deprived areas. The beans are laid out to be sun dried and protected from any exposure from moisture. They are raked and turned throughout the day, so that they don’t spoil. The moisture level has to drop down to 11%. The wet method is where the cherries go through a machine where their pulp and skin are removed from the bean. They are separated by weight and put into fermentation tanks where a layer of mucilage is dissolved. The beans that went through this method then have to go through the same drying process as the other method.
From here, They have to be graded and sorted. They are reviewed by size, weight, and color. Now that the milled beans, or green coffee, have been checked, they are put into containers, ready to be shipped. Brazil holds the title for the largest coffee exporting nation.
They are tested for the best quality and taste called cupping. The taster, cupper, first checks the visual quality. Then the coffee is roasted and brewed, so that the cupper can best experience the aroma. To taste the coffee, the person inhales a spoonful and the purpose for this is so that it evenly spreads across the tastebuds, and then spits it out. This testing is important because it also analyzes what kind of blends of coffee go together and what is the proper roasting.
When you roast coffee, it turns from a green bean to a brown one. In a roasting machine, the temperature has to approximately be 550 degrees fahrenheit and the beans have to be constantly turned so that they don’t burn up. Once they have an internal temperature of about 400 degrees, they begin to turn brown and an oil called caffeol is released which is what gives coffee its aroma and flavor. This process is called pyrolysis. The beans can be cooled by air or water.
The coffee can now be grinded into different textures. How fine or how course depends on the kind of method that is used. Now, you can start to brew your coffee and add flavoring to your liking.
As can be seen, it’s an extensive process that a coffee bean goes through in order to help you get through your day. It’s an international drink that people all over the world share.