Meet all the links of the Coffee Value Chain

It all starts somewhere in the world πŸ—Ί in a Coffee producer country that matches all the requirements to grow premium quality specialty coffee, after this we start directly in all the Coffee value chain step by step, detailed below according to the Specialty Coffee Association in their article about the supply chain:

THE COFFEE FARM πŸŒ±πŸŒΏπŸ’

Great coffee starts with the producer whose family likely has spent generations perfecting their approach to farming the highest quality coffee possible.

Grown in select altitudes and climates and nursed for years before the first harvest, the producer who creates specialty coffee devotes his or her life to refining and perfecting the highest quality coffee on the planet.

For them, it is quality not quantity that is the most important consideration.

Only coffees free of defects and picked at their peak of ripeness will continue on to the next hands that will shape them.

After harvesting the cherries, the farmer has to choose the processing method between: Natural, Washed or Honey.

NATURAL OR DRY PROCESS 🌞

This process consists in harvesting only the ripest cherries and after put them to dry just as they are until they reach an average moisture of 10-12%. A natural process usually give more fruit like flavors, with a medium to high body and increased sweetness. Very commonly used in Brazilian coffees but also in very high end coffees from other origins like Ecuador, Colombia, Ethiopia.

WASHED OR WET PROCESS πŸ’§

In this process, after harvesting only the ripest cherries, our next step is to take out the cascara or skin of the cherry in order to be able to take all the pulp possible of the coffee bean or seed, this is usually done by a machine called “desmucilaginador”.

After taking out the pulp, coffee beans are put in fermentation tanks for about 12-24 hours or until they reach a PH below 5. This process has to be very controlled because we do not want to transform all of the sugars developed during the fermentation process into alcohol.

The purpose of fermentation is to develop complexity but also it is made to make easier the process of taking out all the coffee pulp. The next step is washing all the beans to eliminate the residues of the fermentation. Finally coffee beans go to dry in African beds until they reach an average moisture of 10-12%.

A washed process usually develops more clarity and cleanness in the cup, manifesting a higher acidity, low to medium body and pleasant sweetness. Commonly used in most of the coffees from all over the world because it make the quality control process easier to be done.

HONEY PROCESS 🍯

In the same way as the other processes, only the ripest cherries are collected. The cascara or skin has to be taken out and then it is put to dry with all the mucilage or pulp which means that the beans are going to concentrate more sugars and also develop a new line of fermented and sweet flavors.

There are also different colors like yellow honey, black honey, red honey, etc. This can be achieved by modifying the amount of direct sun the cherries take to dry. With more sun exposure, we will achieve a yellow honey and with less, a black honey for example.

It is important to let the coffee dry until the coffee has achieved an average moisture content of 10 – 12%. It also has to be roasted with extra care in order to develop all the flavors and reactions without getting to burn all the sugars.

For the farmer, being able to connect with quality-minded buyers ensures a higher profit option which supports individuals, families and communities around the world.

THE GREEN COFFEE AND QUALITY CONTROL πŸ‘ƒπŸ‘…

Green coffee is next transferred to the green coffee buyer. They have a palate as distinguished as a sommelier and can keenly identify coffee quality via cupping, or systematic tasting of brewed coffees.

Through cupping, the coffee taster can assess a coffee’s score and determine whether it is specialty grade quality (80 + points out of 100), make decisions on which coffees they will include in their offerings, and often develop tasting notes and descriptions for the coffee on its final packaging. The green coffee buyer has a large role in communicating the information about a coffee to the roaster and cafΓ© staff.

THE COFFEE ROASTER πŸ”₯

High quality coffees are next transferred to a certified coffee roaster who may have completed numerous hours of coursework and hands-on training to skillfully roast the specialty bean.

Coffee roasting is an art that requires a high degree of knowledge and experience to produce specialty level roast profiles. Coffee must be closely monitored during the roasting process and scientific principles of heat transfer, thermodynamics and coffee chemistry must be applied to ensure the highest standard of quality and flavor come through in the final roasted bean.

THE BARISTA πŸ‘©β€πŸ”¬πŸ‘¨β€πŸ”¬

Once the specialty coffee beans reach the retail environment, they have already passed 3 levels of inspection to ensure an extremely high level of quality control, however the process in not yet complete.

The barista, who may be certified by having completed numerous hours of coursework and hands-on training, is the final coffee professional to guarantee the lifecycle of the specialty bean is completed.

Specialty level Baristas are not only highly skilled in brewing equipment operations; they routinely are deeply informed as to the origin of the coffee bean and how it’s flavor profiles will be revealed in brewing. If the specialty bean is not brewed properly it is possible that its true flavor potential could be lost; the Barista ensures each bean reaches its full brewed promise.

THE CONSUMER πŸ˜‹

Not expecting to see yourself in this list? In fact, it is the consumer who completes the lifecycle of the specialty coffee bean by actively seeking out and choosing specialty coffee options.

When you take the time to find a local coffee bar or roastery that is dedicated to quality, or take an extra moment to learn from your barista about the people whose hands and passion produced the cup you’re enjoying so that you can make more informed choices, you demonstrate not only a commitment to a higher standard of quality of taste and flavor but also a commitment to a higher standard of living for every person who contributed along the way.

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