Our favorite coffee beans always seem to be available at our convenience. Whether you buy coffee beans online or in stores, there is peace of mind that our favorite blends will be present in stock. It is fascinating to wonder how these exotic blends are cultivated and eventually packed and ready to be used. Understanding the challenges and effort that goes into growing coffee blends will lead to a greater appreciation by coffee lovers for their favorite drink.
All untreated coffee beans are seeds for coffee plants. When these seeds are planted in special beds, they germinate under the right conditions. After a sufficient time, successful young seedlings are moved to small pots to grow further. During this time, seedlings are sufficiently watered and kept away from direct sunlight. Soon after this, young plants are transplanted to their respective growing areas, where they will stay until time to harvest. Out of curiosity, the next you buy coffee online, check out where it comes from.
When coffee plants reach maturity, they develop fruits called cherries. Around harvest, these cherries are identified by a color range of green to dark red. Dark red is considered ripe. To make sure only ripe cherries are picked, manual labor is required. This can easily drive-up costs for harvesting as it is labor-intensive work. Cherries are also harvested using machines; however, it usually depends on the area on which the plantation is established. Cherries are either strip picked; stripped off branches together at once, or selectively picked; this process involves hand-picking only ripe cherries at 10-day intervals to ensure only high-quality beans are selected.
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The cherries collected are then timely processed by one of two methods: dry or wet.
The dry processing method is the oldest one used from centuries ago to this day. It is particularly favored in places where water is in limited supply. Cherries are distributed onto large surfaces under direct sunlight for 20 days. The cherries are regularly turned on their sides to prevent fermentation, ensuring uniform drying. At night the cherries are covered to prevent soaking of moisture. The cherries are considered ripe when they are frail and dark of color. The outer skin is removed from the frail berries.
This newer process relies on water to remove beans from the cherries. Cherries are passed from a pulping machine which is responsible for extracting the beans from the skin, which is relatively softer than the beans, allowing easy separations. Before moving further, the beans are rid of mucilage by putting them in big containers containing enzymes. This causes all the mucilage to separate and produces cleaner coffee beans. The beans are then sun-dried for 24 to 48 hours, after which they are categorized according to their quality.
Milking and Tasting
Dried beans are now processed further. Hulling ensures the removal of the husk. Polishing is a step that checks beans for silver skin that might have passed down from the hulling process. The last step in milking involves grading bean, which is usually done based on their mass and sizes. This can be done by hand, which is very time-consuming, or machines that blow air on the beans to separate them based on their relative mass. Now the coffee bean are packed according to their corresponding grades.
Coffee tasting involves taste-testing the freshly packed coffee. Professionals or any general audience can do this. It is used to identify the quality of the beans further before they make their way for roasting.
Roasting and Grinding
Roasting is a simple process that turns the coffee beans brown from green. Coffee bean are placed in special machines which heat the beans to high temperatures, causing this color change and caffeol to be released.
Unless the coffee beans are to be sold whole, usually when you buy coffee bean online, they undergo grinding, breaking whole beans into more coarse forms.
After all this, your favorite blend is ready for consumption. To support local producers in this field, try to buy coffee beans online from local retailers. For the best place to buy coffee beans online UK consider buying from House of Coffee, Divine Coffee, or The Hot Sip; they keep local produce and sell only the finest quality of coffee.