FAQ about coffee
Coffee grows from a tree. Two specific families are found: Arabica and Robusta.
The picking of the coffee berry is traditionally done by hand.
The freshly harvested cherries are then passed through a pulping machine to separate the skin and pulp from the bean; after harvesting, the bean is dried with only a thin (parchment) skin left on.
The wet method consists of separating the beans by weight as they pass through water channels. The lighter beans float to the top, while the heavier beans sink to the bottom. They are then passed through a series of rotating drums which separate them by size. After separation, the beans are transported to large, water-filled fermentation tanks. Depending on a combination of factors — such as the condition of the beans, the climate and the altitude — they will remain in these tanks for anywhere from 12 to 48 hours to remove the slick layer of mucilage (called the parenchyma) that is still attached to the parchment. While resting in the tanks, naturally occurring enzymes will cause this layer to dissolve.
When fermentation is complete, the beans feel rough to the touch. The beans are rinsed by going through additional water channels, and are ready for drying.
After the beans have been processed by the wet method, the pulped and fermented beans must now be dried, leaving approximately 11% moisture to properly prepare them for storage.
These beans, still inside the parchment envelope (the endocarp), can be sun-dried by being spread out on drying tables or floors, where they are turned regularly, or they can be machine-dried in large tumblers. The dried beans are known as parchment coffee, and are warehoused in jute or sisal bags until they are readied for export.
Grading and Sorting is done by size and weight, and beans are also reviewed for color flaws or other imperfections.
Beans are sized by being passed through a series of screens. Typically, the bean size is represented on a scale of 10 to 20. The number represents the size the bean’s diameter in terms of 1/64’s of an inch. A number 10 bean would have an approximate diameter of 10/64 of an inch, and a number 15 bean, 15/64 of an inch.
Finally, defective beans are removed either by hand or by machinery. Beans that are unsatisfactory due to deficiencies (unacceptable size or color, over-fermented beans, insect-damaged, unshelled) are removed. This process is done by hand, ensuring that only the finest quality coffee beans are exported.
What is a specialty coffee ?
This is not the result of a barista mix but of a carefully crafted Arabica coffee where every step of the transformation led it to maximize its quality.
Roasting consists of transforming green coffee into the aromatic brown beans that we purchase in our favorite stores or cafés. Most roasting machines maintain a temperature of about 550 degrees Fahrenheit. The beans are kept moving throughout the entire process to keep them from burning. Roasting techniques will enhance natural flavours of the beans and depending on the roast provide a brown or black coffee bean.
To preserve coffee in its ideal state, coffee must be stored in a cool and dry place in a sealed container away from light.
Caffeine contained in coffee beans differs from one tree to another. Robusta coffee trees can contain up to twice as much caffeine in their coffee beans as Arabica beans do.
What is a single origin coffee ?
Single origin coffees are a rare find on the actual market. A coffee (or tea) can only receive single origin certification if grow on a specific land, where each step of the transformation activates the subtle flavours of the product. How does one achieve this feat? The only way to ensure such a high quality standard is to be part of each step of the process; create direct working relationships with the farmers and oversee the transformation, and roast the coffee for immediate order. As such, only a few distinct coffees across the world truly meet this standard.
And the taste is clear!