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Revealed: The Secrets of Coffee and Its Journey From Bean To Cup

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Revealed: The Secrets of Coffee and Its Journey From Bean To Cup

Revealed: The Secrets of Coffee and Its Journey From Bean To Cup
September 27
13:13 2018

With the British Coffee Association (BSA) recently revealing that Brits are drinking around 95m cups of coffee every DAY, we thought it might be interesting to find out where all this coffee comes from.

The journey from plant to cup can differ depending on a range of variables, including whether or not it is fair trade coffee from a small farm, or if it originates from a larger coffee plantation.

For example, in Guatemala, more than 140 honey and coffee farms work with fair trade co-operative, CIPAC. With the ideal climate and landscape for coffee growing, the country is home to thousands of farmers, many of whom have inherited their farms along with the necessary skills through several generations.

Harvesting cherries

Coffee tends to ripen at a slightly different time towards the end of the year, depending on the climate, altitude, type of soil and the variety. Some farmers live in areas with their own micro climate, which can influence the flavours accordingly.

A single coffee plant can sometimes provide two or three harvests within a season.

De-pulping the harvest

The cherries need to be de-pulped within 24 hours, either by an electric de-pulper or a manual machine. The beans are closely inspected as they’re poured into the machine and any that don’t look quite ripe enough or are too ripe are Foinremoved.

In order to shed the last layer, the beans are soaked for 24 hours in special water pools. Those that float are removed and the rest are allowed to dry out naturally in the sunshine.

Transportation to the cooperative

The farmers take the sacks of parchment beans to the nearest road where they’ll be a collected by a van sent by the coffee co-operative. Farmers in the most remote areas must make their way along dangerous winding mountain paths and encounter huge cliff drops.

When the coffee arrives  it is checked, weighed, and stored.

The final process

The journey from coffee plant to bean can differ enormously, as can the finished product

The last part of the process is the most important quality milestone and involves turning the parchment beans into green beans which are then judged by their weight and appearance to ensure optimum quality. Finally, the beans are polished to remove the last layer of skin and samples are taken for tasting before being bagged and sold to a distributor for export.

CIPAC then sells its coffee beans to a fair trade operator in Mexico called Cafesca. From there, some of the beans are sent to another Mexican fair trade operator, Descamex, which provides the only facility in the world to use the mountain water method to produce decaffeinated coffee. Descamex then sends the decaffeinated beans back to Cafesca to be transformed into instant and instant decaf. At last, once the finished product is sealed in jars, it’s loaded onto containers and shipped to the UK.

And so it’s fair to say that coffee beans go on quite a journey before making it into your mug. While the larger coffee plantations use hundreds of workers and modern equipment, the fair trade farmers at CIPAC prefer to keep it simple on family-run farms, using fewer chemicals and creating far more character in the end product.

www.britishcoffeeassociation.org

www.traidcraftshop.co.uk/drink/coffee

 

 

 

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Catering Scotland

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