From Bean To Ground: How Coffee Is Made

There is nothing better that drinking a warm cup of coffee to start the day.  However, have you ever wondered how coffee is made and what steps were taken to create the perfect cup that you are holding?  Certain measures go into the coffee making process.

The Planting And Coffee Cherry

Coffee comes from the coffee plant which grows best in tropical regions.  This is because these plants require significant amounts of rain and a lot of heat to produce.  The best places for the coffee plant are Colombia, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, Costa Rica and Guatemala.

There are two conventional coffee plants which are grown, and they are Robusta and Arabica.  Robusta coffee comes from plants which are easier to produce, cheaper to plant and provide higher caffeine content.  However, these plants also produce coffee that has a neutral taste making them ideal for instant coffee and espresso blends.

The Arabica coffee plant is more delicate than the Robusta making it harder to grow and more expensive to maintain.  However, these sensitive plants offer a better and wider range of taste.  The beans from these plants are often used in single estate coffees and high-quality blends.

When the plant grows, it will produce a red fruit which is known as the coffee cherry.  The coffee cherry is where the coffee beans are found and will be the part of the plant that is harvested.  The beans in the cherry will be side by side and surrounded by pulp.

Harvesting The Beans

Coffee cherries are picked by hand which allows only the best to be used.  Of course, handpicking is only done on smaller farms and plantations because it would be impractical for larger estates to do so.  The larger farms will use a machine to harvest the cherries.  The problem with this is that machine harvesting will produce poorer quality coffee.

The coffee from machine harvesting is more mediocre in quality because some of the cherries which are picked are not yet ripe.  When these cherries are used, the beans will have an acidic taste.  This acidic taste will be transferred to the coffee when it is created.

large coffee bean plantation in guatamala

Processing The Cherries

Once the cherries have been picked, they will need to be treated and turned into the coffee beans that we know.  This will involve some steps with the first being the removal of the outer layers.  When the outer layers are removed, you are left with green coffee.  This is the name given to coffee beans which have not yet been roasted and made into the beans that you can buy in the local store.

There are two ways that beans are processed, and this is through the dry or wet process.  During the wet process, the green coffee beans are run through a machine which separates the pulp from the seed.  The beans are then placed in fermentation tanks which will remove the mucilage.  The skins of the beans will be removed, and then all the beans are graded and sorted on a conveyor belt.  All of the defective beans are removed by hand.

The dry process will have the beans drying in the sun before the different layers are removed.  Once the layers have been removed the beans will be placed on a conveyor belt and graded.  As with the wet process, the defective beans will be removed before the green coffee is packaged and shipped to be roasted.

The Roasting Process

Once the green beans reach their destination, they will need to be roasted.  This is a complicated process which involves the beans being heated to the correct temperature for the right amount of time.  If they are left for too long, they will burn, and this will negatively impact the coffee they produce.  The roasting machines will be programmed to work at the correct temperature for the right time, but expert roasters can tell when the beans are done through their sense of smell.

The last step in making coffee is grinding the beans.  The grind of the beans will vary depending on what type of coffee it will make. The seeds can be ground finely or coarsely. Read more about milling the beans on: or Coffee Grinder Updates – Twitter


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