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11 Stages from Bean to Cup

Ever wondered how coffee ends up in your cup? Follow us on the Cowpresso Coffee painted journey!

1. Seedling

 

How are Coffee trees planted?
Coffee beans are actually the seeds of a coffee cherry and not beans. Coffee seeds are usually grown in large batches called nurseries in their individual bags. They are shaded from harsh conditions such as heavy rainfall and hot sunlight until suited to be planted in fresh moist soil where their roots are able to grow strong. 

 
How long are the Seedlings nurtured before being transplanted?
The Seedlings are humbly grown in the shade for about 8-20 months whereby the farmers gradually increase the amount of sunlight the seedlings receive if possible. At this point, the coffee tree is about 60 cm tall, ready to mature in its freshly transplanted moist plot of soil.
 
How long before the Coffee tree grows fruit?
It will then take 3-5 years of faithful growing before the coffee seedling bears fruit! Coffee trees have a lifespan of up to 100 years, but unfortunately is most productive in the yield of cherries between the ages of 7 to 20.
 
What kind of Coffee seeds can be planted?
Coffee seeds directly pulped from its cherry has the best chances whereas processed coffee seeds are void.
 

2. Picking

 
When is the right time to harvest Coffee Cherries?
The long devoted years of nurturing is finally blossoming and the coffee trees are bearing vibrant coffee cherries from hues of green to light yellow to a rich dark velvety red. After bearing fruit, unripe cherries (Green-coloured) slowly ripen to a loud, dark red cherry where the cherry is the sweetest, which is the best time to pick. 
 
How are Coffee cherries picked?
There are typically 2 methods, Mechanically or Hand Picked. Mechanical machines pillage almost every cherry from the tree, from the unriped, diseased and riped. Hand picked cherries on the other hand, are meticulously collected by pickers whereby generally only the ripe cherries are picked. This method is heavy on labour and commonly practiced on the highest grade Coffee varieties such as the Ethiopian Yirgacheffe and Colombia Geisha.
 
How much Coffee cherries can be picked daily?
The hardworking cherry picker usually collects 45-90 Kilograms of coffee cherries daily, amounting to about 9-18 Kilograms of coffee beans as 20% of the weight of the cherry is actually the seed only. At the end of the day, every picker is waged based on their picking capacity and the cherries are sent immediately to be processed.
 
How often does a Coffee Tree bears fruit?
Once or Twice yearly depending on the environmental conditions, but generally a large-scale single harvest. A harvest will last from 4-7 Months, whereby Coffee Pickers make follow ups through the same plots of land every 1-2 weeks due to the different time variation of cherry ripening on the coffee trees.
 

3. Processing

How many types of Processing methods are there?
There are mainly 3 methods with several other hybrid methods practiced in specialised regions on a smaller scale whereby different variables during processing are controlled such as oxygen, enzymes and moisture levels e.g. Giling Basah (Wet-Hulled method practiced in Indonesia).
 
Depending on environmental conditions, bean sugar content and the farmer's preference, the farmer will pick suit the most suitable processing method for the current harvest.

1. Dry/Natural Method
Freshly picked coffee cherries are immediately combed across a large piece of land usually called a patio or uplifted tables to be dried. The cherries are meticulously raked regularly several times daily to nurture consistent drying and are covered in the event of nightfall and rainfall. Irregular raking and drying would lead to patches of moldy and spoiled cherries due to moisture build up.The Brazil Santos is Chocolatey, Buttery, Nutty Natural Processed Coffee with Hints of fruity nuances.  
 
 
 
 
2. Wet/Washed Method
Freshly picked coffee cherries are sent to the pulper machine whereby the seeds(beans) are separated from its skin and pulp. The coffee beans are then washed in water channels/basins by workers using suited brooms. Coffee beans may be graded in this process too whereby lighter beans are washed to the top of channels and the heavier beans washed to the bottom of the channels.
 
The coffee beans are then transported to water basins where they are agitated frequently and left to ferment for 12-48 hours. After the sticky layer of mucilage surrounding the bean is dissolved by fermentation, the beans are given a thorough rinsed through water.
 
3. Honey/Pulped Natural Method
Freshly picked coffee cherries are pulped by a pulping machine to remove the skin and pulp from the seed(bean) and are sent to the drying grounds be it the concrete floor or
raised beds to be dried under a controlled pace. The sticky mucilage surrounding the beans form a sticky sweet layer similar to honey due to its high sugar and acid content.
 
What happens after processing?
The beans are sent to a rotating drum/sieve with respective perforation holes to grade the green coffee beans by size and are transported to be dried. This process may be done after drying or hulling instead.
 

4. Drying

How are Coffee Beans dried?
An unprocessed coffee bean from the coffee cherry contains a moisture level of 45-60%. After processing, the green coffee beans are dried to a moisture level of 8-12.5%. Methods of drying would be either be through raised drying beds, concrete floors or dryer machines;less commonly practiced due to high costs.
 
The coffee bean at this stage is named parchment coffee as it still contains a layer of papery substance called the parchment (endocarp) of the cherry. 
 

5. Hulling

 
How are Coffee Beans hulled?
The coffee beans run through the hulling machine to remove it's dried husk and parchment layer found on the dried coffee bean depending on the processing method. Note that the Silverskin layer is another thin papery layerfound below the parchment layer and not to be confused as the same layer.
 
Polishing is an exceptional process performed after hulling to remove the silverskin layer though little distinction is noticed. Specialty Grade green coffee is then gingerly graded via machinery and by hand based on size, weight and density and defective beans are removed to be sold in Commercial grade coffees or disposed of.
 
6. Export
How Green Coffee is exported
The fresh graded green coffee is then packed into jute, vacuum sealed or Grainpro bags to be shipped on pallets or containers to green coffee traders around the world or directly to your favourite coffee roaster to be profiled and roasted.
 

7. Cupping

What is Cupping?
Cupping, a term used for determining the quality of coffee, will be done by green coffee traders, cooperatives and roasters at the farm itself or in their residing countries. Qualities to be taken into account would be the appearance, aroma, flavor, body, acidity, overall balance and aftertaste.
 
Small batches of green coffee are sample-roasted, following several carefully crafted roast profiles to best suit the coffee. The range of roasted coffees are then ground to a coarse grind and steeped in hot water (controlled consistently) for a controlled period of time in their respective cups. The cupper then breaks the crust of grounds on top of the cup and gives a loud sharp slurp to taste the coffee. All at the same time carefully judging the quality of the coffee via smell and taste. You"ll be surprised, some cuppers slurp louder and sharper than birds!
 
What happens during slurping?
Coffee when slurped at such acceleration aerates the coffee and spreads it evenly on your tongue and soft palate. This aeration prevents your taste receptors from being saturated by flavour molecules, allowing you to taste more and differ subtle differences in coffees well.  This also grants the contact of the coffee aromas to your nasal receptors, allowing your brain to analyse more flavour and taste nuances easily.  
 
How many coffee does a cupper taste daily?
Don't be alarmed to hear that a cupper can taste up to 600 cups a day! Of course, it's not rude to spit out coffee if you're a cupper!
 

8. Roasting

 
Roasting Process
Numerous sample-roasts and cuppings will be performed and several crafted roast profiles will be concluded to best roast a specific Single Origin coffee or Blend to best bring out the flavour and OOMPH of the bean before commercialising a roast. 
 
How does the roast intensity matter?
Light roasts bring out most of the Origin's and Processing's flavour nuances, Medium roasts bring out the perfect balance of the clarity of the bean's flavour and complexity of the roast and Dark roasts bring out the sweetness, complexity of the bean's caramelised profile and rich deep flavours.
 

9. Packaging

Packaging Process
The comprehensive cupping, roast profiling and roast procedure has been completed and the freshly crafted roasted coffee beans are packaged in theirone-way valve bags and vacuum-heat sealed. (For extended freshness and prevents bags from bursting due to carbon dioxide release from freshly roasted coffee beans). The Roast date is signed off and a Mootivational note is personally written by the roaster himself for your enjoyment. 
 
Why buy coffee that has it's roast date? 
Why hide the roast date when your coffee is freshly roasted? Boast of it! Well, apparently somehow, somewhere marketing has made coffee unstale-able on the shelves and has possession of a best before or expiry date. Coffee bean bags found in supermarket shelves or lack a labelled roast date usually have been roasted months ago. Well.. really depends whether you'd prefer to have a sweet, rich balanced cup of Specialty coffee or a bitter, dull one. What awaste of your hard-hustled brewing skills and money if you brew it all down with oxidised stale coffee.
 

10. Grinding

Grinding Process
Your freshly roasted parcel has arrived and you are stoked to brew your new Single Origin and Roaster's Choice Blend! Whole beans are obviously recommended because they stay fresh longer. Nonetheless, a vacuum sealed Cowpresso Drip Bag on busier mornings and hustle afternoons would do the trick as well. 
 
What grind size should I use?
A high quality coffee hand grinder is always a handy tool to-go. Adjust your grind size based on your brewing device and adjust accordingly on each new brew until you are satisfied with the extraction of sweet and balanced flavours and you're well on your way to liquid gold. 
 

11. Brewing

Brew your Liquid Gold 
A balanced extraction is key for your liquid gold brew! Tamper around with Water temperature, Coffee to water ratio and Steeping time variables once you've nailed your grind size and explore different brewing devices with your new freshly roasted parcel of coffee!
 
At Cowpresso, this is where a coffee roaster becomes part of your family. We know you love coffee and we know every palate is designed unique. As a mark of pride in our roasts and mission to provide you the best coffee experience, we'll provide you 24/7 personal contact with one of our roasters. Don't be shy! Recommendations, coffee geek talk, customization requests and all your questions are welcomed.

With the collective passion to bring about the best in the name of coffee, we professed to using only high quality greens and freshly roasting beans that will be delivered within 1 - 7 working days of the roast date, not to mention FREE Singapore Delivery. Cowpresso roasts are infused with quality and passion. Bantering around a roast with a good cup of joe is a joy for us and hopefully for your hustle too. After all, brew a cup and feel MOOTIVATED. Let us know how we may kick-start and extend your coffee journey, we love our communityand we'll be glad to have you onboard!
 

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