You probably aren't thinking much about where your coffee beans have been to get to you when you wake up stumbling to your kitchen to caffeinate yourself. You might be surprised to learn just how much goes into creating the beans you're used to seeing everyday. Did you know the beans actually come from a cherry? If not, you should definitely check our our post about the history of coffee to really understand the story behind where it all started and how the world got hooked on the delicious drink!
Coffee Supply Chain
There are generally 7 steps in the coffee supply chain: growing, harvesting, hulling, processing, roasting, packaging, and shipping.
1. Growing Coffee
Step one starts with growing the green bush that coffee cherries grow on. Growing coffee requires a stable climate that is humid which is why the majority of coffee is grown in the South American countries like Columbia, Brazil, Peru, and other countries with similar climates.
2. Harvesting Coffee
The cherries begin to be picked 5 years after the bush is planted and when the cherries ripen from green to red. The cherries are usually hand picked so that only the best cherries are picked and the rest are left to continue ripening but in some places the cherries are all picked in bulk. This process requires a lot of manual labor as bushes will have to be double and triple picked to make sure all ripe cherries are picked from the bush at the right time.
3. Hulling the Coffee Cherry
After the cherries have been picked the next step is hulling them to remove the parchment skin that wraps around the outside of the cherry. There are machines to help with this step.
4. Processing The Cherry
In our blog about our Punta Roca roast, we touched on coffee processing a bit by diving into the honey process. Essentially this is the time the beans are dried. There are a few different ways to do this, namely washed, natural and honey. At the end of each process you are left with a dried bean that is now green and is ready for roasting.
The temperature and length of the roast is what creates the different flavors and textures of the beans. The light, medium and dark roasts bring out different properties in the beans giving each roast a little bit of a different flavor and texture. For example, lighter roasts are often drier beans and the darker the roast the oilier the beans.
Once the beans are roasted the desired amount, they are packaged up. The beans are packaged up in cool, dry and air-tight containers to keep them fresh throughout their travel to their destination.
The last step is shipping the beans to coffee shops and stores to be sold and then enjoyed by everyone!
So many hands are involved in the supply chain of coffee from the farmers who plant and harvest the seeds, to the farmers who pick the seeds, to all the different people who process, roast, package, ship, sell, and finally buy the beans. It's pretty crazy what all goes into creating that delicious cup you enjoy at home!
At Windansea we love being a part of the coffee supply chain and do our best to ensure you get the best quality coffee possible. Check out our roasts and learn more about what makes our coffee so special.