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From Cherry to Cappuccino: The Journey of Coffee

Have you ever wondered where your coffee comes from and how the coffee cherry is turned into something as tasty as a beautiful shot of espresso? We assume that all readers of THE SOCIAL COFFEE BLOG are coffee enthusiasts - so, today, we will tell you more about where our coffee comes from and which steps are essential in coffee production. Images from Thomas' recent trip to Brazil will be included to make this journey more vivid.

Cultivation - where the journey of coffee begins

Coffee production begins with the cultivation of coffee plants, primarily in regions with suitable climates and altitudes. However, coffee is also able to adjust to less comfortable surroundings such as the jungle of Vietnam - but this is a story for another day. The most common varieties of coffee are Arabica and Robusta. Typically, it takes coffee cherries several months to ripen.

Yellow coffee cherries on a coffee plant with green leaves
Coffee Cherries

Blue skies above green coffee plants, a view into the distance.
Coffee growing in Brazil

Harvesting - where quality meets handicraft

Harvesting typically takes place once per year (sometimes two times, for example in Colombia) and is carried out when the coffee cherries reach the desired level of ripeness. Coffee cherries are carefully handpicked or mechanically harvested. Ripe cherries are recognized due to their color and texture. High-quality coffee is usually hand-picked. After harvesting, the cherries are checked for quality and deficits and are sorted by color.

Coffee cherries are being harvested by several people
Coffee harvest at Capim Branco

Processing - refinement and flavor development

After harvesting, coffee cherries go through one of two different processing methods: "Washed" or "Natural".

"Washed" means that cherries are pulped by a machine and then fermented in a water tank for eight to sixteen hours. During this time and through the process of fermentation, the coffee develops its flavors.

"Natural", on the other hand, means that the cherries are not pulped or placed in a water tank, but are spread out in the sun to dry and are fermented by the heat and sunlight. This entails a different aroma development and often more fruity flavors. This method of processing is often used in countries with less water - and it is also better for the environment.

Coffee cherries are spread out in the sun to dry.
Coffee cherries drying

A large part of Bean United coffee comes from Brazil, where coffee is processed using the natural way of processing.

Milling - the coffee is almost ready for shipping

Milling involves removing the outer layers of the dried coffee beans to reveal the green coffee beans inside. This process is crucial for consistency and quality control. Now the green coffee is ready for shipping and is packed in coffee bags.

Exporting and Shipping - how coffee travels all the way to Germany

The green coffee is now ready for shipping. Usually, an exporter transports the bags - usually via truck - to ports for shipment. Shipping is carried out by container boats; one container fits approximately 16 tons of green coffee. Our coffee is then shipped to Europe, specifically to Hamburg, and then transported to Garmisch-Partenkirchen where our partner Wildkaffee is located.

Green coffee is held in two hands
Green coffee

Coffee bags filled with green coffee in a storage facility.
Coffee bags and storage

Roasting - the final step towards your cup of coffee

Roasting is the final step that turns green coffee into the aromatic brown coffee beans we are familiar with During roasting, coffee beans are heated to specific temperatures, causing them to undergo chemical changes that develop their flavor, aroma, and color. Roasters carefully monitor time and temperature to achieve desired roast profiles, ranging from light to dark, and each roast level imparts distinct flavor characteristics to the coffee beans.

Close-up image of countless freshly roasted coffee beans.
Roasted coffee beans

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